Zero Waste Lunch – the account that’s teaching the zero waste life

A new Instagram account has launched encouraging people to reduce their waste at lunch

Written by Grainne Jones


A new Instagram page has launched encouraging people to take part in zero waste living.

Zero Waste Lunch launched on 28 May, with the aim to help people be more aware about the single use packaging that comes with their daily lunch.

The Instagram account shows people where they can use their own zero waste containers when buying their lunch.

Zero waste living

Zero-waste living is a lifestyle that revolves around reducing the amount of waste a person makes.

Jack O’Connor, who is the person behind the Instagram page, said that the reason he got involved with zero waste living was because of a YouTube video called How To Fit Two Years Of Trash In A Mason Jar.  

In the video, Lauren Singer shows how she has managed to only create one jar worth of rubbish in two years, and how it is possible for others to do the same.

The video “really sparked my interest and I began following a few different bloggers who live a zero waste lifestyle. It’s something that I’d love to be able to do but I know it’s a big transition,” Jack said.

Jack gets a salad box from Industry Design in his reusable lunch box

The Blue Planet effect

Another influence on Jack was Sir. David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series.

“After watching Blue Planet II (and in particular this part where David Attenborough talks to you like a disappointed grandda) I knew I needed to make changes to my lifestyle. I found that my daily lunch was one area of massive opportunity for waste reduction,” Jack said.

“Most days I’ll run out to a nearby lunch spot for my daily lunch. Previously this would involve me taking a single use container as well as maybe a paper bag and some single use cutlery.

“I realised that I could easily buy a lunch box and ask the restaurants to use that instead. I opted for a stainless steel lunch box because it should last the longest.”

Zero Waste Lunch

Jack set up the Zero Waste Lunch Instagram account to encourage others to try out the zero waste lifestyle.

He said that if even ten people try it out because him, he will have achieved his goal.

“One of the really surprising parts of the whole project is the conversations it’s started. I’ve had numerous conversations with my colleagues in work about recycling and the environment and I feel like we’ve all learned something new from these chats (learning what is and isn’t recyclable, contamination of recycling bins, etc.).

“If more people have these conversations the world will become a less wasteful place!” he said.

Jack uses his stainless steel lunch box at KC Peaches

Jack’s top tips for reducing your waste

  • Buy a zero waste lunch box

Jack uses a stainless steel one, he got his here.

  • Refuse straws

Next time you get a drink or a smoothie, ask yourself do you really need a straw? If not, ask the server not to give you one. If you do need a straw, think about buying a metal or bamboo straw that you can use again and again.

  • Invest in a reusable coffee cup (Keep Cup, Stojo, etc.) for your daily coffee

You’ll not only cut down on your single use waste, but you might even save yourself some money by getting a reusable cup discount! Coffee shops such as Insomnia, Starbucks, etc., offer a reduced price for people who bring their own cup in with them.

Jack gets waste-free food from Seoul Kitchen at the Merrion Square market in Dublin

  • If you make a lot of food at home and use cling film to keep leftovers, think about buying some Bees Wax Paper

Bees Wax Paper can be used in the same way that cling film is used. The paper lasts for up to a year and when you’re done you can put it in the compost bin. The company who make it, Abeego, said that it keeps food fresher than cling film because it is fully organic.

  • Reusable water bottles are a great way to cut down on plastic waste and helps  you to keep yourself hydrated has a list of places where you can fill your water bottle for free! Jack uses glass bottles because they last longer than plastic bottles.

  • Toothbrushes are a big part of waste so a simple change of which one you choose can make a big difference

We should change our toothbrushes four times a year and a lot of the time they go straight to landfill. To stop your toothbrush ending up in the dump, you can buy a bamboo toothbrush or a toothbrush that lets you change the heads rather than the whole toothbrush.

Our work is supported by