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Reducing Lunch Waste: The Star Incentive Program

Waste-free Lunch Programs

If a waste-free lunch program is implemented at school and supported at home, most children will participate easily and with enthusiastic support.

However, some children may resist the change, which may require parents and teachers to use a bit of creativity to engage their help.

If you're facing this challenge, try using the Star Incentive Program below.

  • First ask your child why he or she doesn't want to participate. Validate the child's feelings, and try to accommodate any requests that are reasonable and acceptable to you.
  • Next, talk with your child about the importance of good health and caring for the environment.
  • Ask your child to help plan a lunch menu program. If your children are old enough, and if they aren't doing so already, find out if they'd like to help prepare their lunches.
  • If your child is worried about being the only kid at school with a waste-free lunch, you may want to talk with other parents about joining you in your endeavor to reduce waste, or consider helping to implement a waste-free lunch program at the school. If reducing waste is a community effort, children will accept it and will likely become enthusiastic supporters.
  • To use the Star Incentive Program, you'll first need to purchase star (or other) stickers. Increase motivation by allowing your child to pick them out.
  • At the beginning of each month, print off the blank Star Incentive calendar provided below. (More than one child can use the same calendar. Print the second month on the back of the first to save paper.)
  • Reward your children with a sticker for each day that they agree to take a waste-free lunch to school.
  • When they have accumulated a certain number of stickers, allow them to pick out a special treat, such as a trip to the movies or to a play, or arrange a play date with a friend who, because of distance, you would not normally make the effort to get together with. An outing to a special place, such as a favorite park, an amusement park, a children's museum, or other place of interest might also motivate them.
  • You can give the stickers to the children in the morning, when they return from school, or put them in their lunchbox as a lunchtime surprise.

The Star Incentive Calendar

Bentology HealthPoint Chart

Download a copy of The Star Incentive Program to use with your family!