From the October 2009 issue of Entrepreneur
The Greening of Lunch

An effort by her daughter's eco-friendly preschool to encourage trash-free lunches sparked an idea in Chance Claxton.

"When we researched it, we discovered that 67 pounds of lunchtime trash is created by each school-age child each school year," Claxton says. She saw a need for a waste-free lunch and teamed with Lynn Julian to launch Kids Konserve, a self-funded online venture that sells reusable and recycled food kits. The partners expect to bring in $200,000 in their first year, most of which is invested back into the company.

But Kids Konserve's matching stainless-steel containers and reusable cotton napkins are meant to drive more than just eco-friendly revenue--they're also a platform for education and communication. The Phoenix company uses a newsletter and school fundraising events called "Waste-Free Challenges" to teach environmental awareness to kids, teachers and parents. Says Julian, "A lot of parents are waiting to be educated in this arena by their kids."

  1. Reusable drawstring bag. All cotton products are made of 100 percent cotton and vegetable-based nontoxic inks.
  2. Greenwood natural dish soap. The natural and biodegradable product is so safe, Claxton says, "you can wash vegetables with this soap."
  3. Recycled canvas sack. "We were seeking something stronger than a brown paper bag that had more use and wasn't made of synthetics," Claxton says.
  4. Party pack of plastic ware. One of the few plastic items is made from recycled containers and can be reused and re-recycled.
  5. Stainless-steel thermos. To ensure safety, all stainless- steel products are randomly tested for toxins in independent labs.
  6. Beach insulated lunch sack. The outside fabric and inside lining are made from recycled plastic bottles.
  7. Aluminum name tag. Made from recycled aluminum, the tags encourage kids to reuse by preventing loss.