August 09, 2011 08:18 ET

iPhone App Is Eco Education Strategy for Litterless Lunch Start-up

LAFAYETTE, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 9, 2011) - In an effort to teach about litterless lunches, ECOlunchboxes kicked off a campaign today to raise funds to make a fun smart phone game teaching kids how to green their lunchtime habits.

"Lunchtime waste is a mounting problem," said Sandra Ann Harris, a Lafayette, Calif. mother of two who founded ECOlunchboxes specializing in no-waste and no-plastic lunchware in 2008. "But learning to reduce waste and recycle can be a fun challenge. If kids can play our game and win -- they'll know enough to pack a no waste lunch or recycle in real life."

The San Francisco Bay Area green business has developed a concept for a fun eco game for kids to sort flying lunch trash into recycling, compost and trash bins. Working against the clock with colorful lunchtime waste zipping across the screen, children will be entertained by the playful game and educated at the same time.

A typical American family creates about 4,320 pieces of trash and spends about $400 extra on disposable lunchware each year, according to the Lunchbox Waste Study.

"Kids and adults love to play, and most of us also love to learn, connecting them produces the optimal neurological and emotional pleasure needed to reinforce the right behaviors," explained gamification expert Gabe Zichermann, who called the ECOlunchboxes game "a cool concept."

ECOlunchboxes is reaching out for support from the eco community to help fund development of the free iPhone game, which it's calling Green Trash Ninja.

Zichermann, who is chair of the Gamification Summit slated for New York City in September, pointed out people often learn their "greatest lessons in life on the playground...the extension of this concept to digital games should come as no surprise."

Development of the no waste lunch game will cost $8,700, so ECOlunchboxes has launched a fund-raising campaign on, a website platform specializing in crowd funding. Donors are rewarded with prizes and recognition.

"We want to make the game available to all for free," Harris said.

ECOlunchboxes is a start-up based in Lafayette, Calif. specializing in stainless steel lunchware and artisan cotton handmade lunchbags. Its lunchware is sold nationwide in natural groceries, select Whole Foods Markets, The Container Store, The North Face and other stores nationwide as well as online at

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