My 1st grader shares his tips for how to make a waste free lunch—one that’s healthy for you and the environment.

The catalyst for this challenge was ignited when my son was in kindergarten. A study of the ocean, and all of its wonders, led the class to a discussion of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. That swirling pile of trash in the middle of the Pacific made a big impact on my then 6-year old. It became his mission to make a change—his way—one small step at a time. This week on The Huffington Post I share how he did it in my article: Kindergartner Takes Down Trash.

It only takes a few small changes to make a difference. Here’s how we learned to build a waste free lunch. Plan to make one change each week. By the end of the month, you’ll be well on your way to waste free lunches!

Step 1: Use reusable containers (like Lunchskins or EasyLunchBoxes or Lunchbots) instead of plastic baggies. Start by committing to make one simple change in your boxes: no plastic baggies.

Step 2: Choose whole, unprocessed foods instead of foods that come in a package. The more you choose whole foods, the less you’ll find trash in your lunchbox that can’t be composted or recycled.

Step 3: When you do choose something in a package, like popcorn or crackers, avoid individually wrapped items.

Step 4: Bring water in a BPA-free bottle (like a Nalgene bottle). No juice boxes or milk containers.

What excites me most about this project was that my son discovered, through his own initiative, that every person can make a difference no matter his or her age or size. He discovered that small steps lead to big changes. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, he felt empowered, and that boost in confidence extends well beyond the lunchbox.

Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of the forthcoming book The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award winning healthy eating games, Crunch a Color®. Her family cooking adventures have been featured at Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray’s Yum-O!, Pottery Barn Kids, and Laurie David’s Family Dinner. She is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post.