Why Boomerang Lunches Suck

School is well underway now and some of you may be familiar with Boomerang lunches. For those of you who aren’t, let me tell you.

A Boomerang lunch is a lunch that has every piece of it returned home. In other words, everything in the lunch goes back home at the end of the day. No matter if it is containers, recyclables, utensils or garbage, it all goes back. Yep, even the compost garbage.


The Boomerang lunch was created as a way to increase awareness about waste and to encourage people to use reusable containers. In theory, this sounds like a great program. I’m all about reducing waste and helping the environment; we recycle and compost at home. Does it increase awareness? Maybe. Are people using more reusable containers? Maybe.

Now, here’s why the program sucks:

To start, the awareness about helping the environment has been going on for so long that I don’t think the Boomerang lunch program is adding much in the awareness department. Likewise, I don’t think parents are flocking to buy more reusable containers.


I have three kids, two of which are in school and one which demands a lot of my attention. It’s not in my repertoire to consciously plan every lunch around this program.

I sometimes send my kids with apple sauce, juice boxes etc. Have you ever seen the mess these things make in a lunch box on their way home? Whether it’s the single, disposable containers or a reusable, the mess is the same; my kid never puts the lid back on the container so everything leaks everywhere. Now I’m picking out nasty fruit peels, wet wrappers and dripping containers and having to wash out the lunch bag. Every. damn. day.

I have tried sending a large Ziplock bag for my child’s garbage. Pft, good luck to you; if you’re able to get your Kindergartener to put all their garbage in the bag, I’m amazed. I’m pretty sure my kid thinks I’ve just forgot to fill it every day despite telling her it’s for her garbage.


Furthermore, many parents send things like granola bars, fruit bars (or fruit leathers), or those fruit gummies. It doesn’t make sense to take these things out of wrappers and put them in containers. One way or the other, the garbage is going in someone’s garbage – school or home.

I think it would be more valuable to utilize the recycle bins at school, start a compost program, and teach our children how to properly use them. Why make them bring all that garbage home when this is a valuable lesson to be taught both at school and home.

If you send litterless lunches with your child to school, awesome. For those of us who don’t and are in a Boomerang program, sorry, keep cleaning out those messy lunch bags. The struggle is real.

How do you feel about the Boomerang Lunch program? Share below!

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