This is the first year that I’m packing a lunch every day (well, three times a week anyway) for my kid, and I’m a bit depressed about how much garbage we’re suddenly producing. I’m paranoid about germs and food safety, and as a result overuse plastic sandwich bags, snack bags, plastic wrap, and assorted other landfill-filling crap.
But enough is enough! The other day, I was perched next to my daughter, Penelope, on a miniature chair, sharing lunch, when I looked around the octagonal table and saw that almost every single kid had some kind of adorable eco-friendly food container in his or her lunchbox.
Now I have the lust for these -- they're washable, long-lasting, and in many cases actually better for the flavor of the food.
Reusable Sandwich Bags. Lunchskins ($8.99 at Drugstore.com) are the cutest, but there are many versions of the leak-resistant, washable lunch- and snack-bag. They’re even on Etsy, which means that you could probably make your own in a pinch. I’d love a set of six of these. I’d wash them on the weekend and forget the zipper bags. (Of course, I could also just use wax bags clipped with black binder clips like my sister does, but are they festooned with little red apples? I rest my case.)
Fabric Bowl Covers. Of course, if you’re lucky, you’ve snagged yourself a set of silicone-topped Pyrex bowls (I swear, sometimes I think I only had kids so mine would find their way back home). But for the bowls that don’t have a matching lid, there are these cute Bowl Overs ($20 for a set of 6 at Alder & Co.). If you can’t snag them from the UK site, google “fabric bowl covers” and you’ll find a bevy of small-fry producers and a how-to or two.
Microwave Cooking Covers. Genius. How many times have I plopped a small plate over a big plate to avoid using plastic wrap in the microwave? Answer: Too many. And that’s about to change. Something like these snazzy little Norpro food covers ($5.09 for a set of 4 at Amazon), made of silicone, slap right on top to cook your food efficiently without producing one of those weird sodden hot jellyfish I always end up with.
Oiled Wraps. I have a pal who gets cloth napkins by the bushel and uses them to wrap her kids’ food. Bonus: They double as, well, a napkin, duh. But what if you have a low tolerance for ooze? Several companies make different-size fabric food wraps, such as the ones from Abeego (assorted prices at Abeego.ca) coated with beeswax. You wash them in the sink (eh! I’d rather deal with ooze) and snap them closed with string closures. So. Stinkin’. Cute.
Straws. To my shame, I found myself balking at buying straws because none of them said BPA-free. I didn’t want to admit that because I thought it made me sound like a crazy person, but guess what? I’m not the only one! Not only did I find a cute Aqua To-Go Tumbler (with a straw) for $8.99 at Target, I also found glass straws with a lifetime guarantee for $7.50 at GlassDharma.com. (Just keep them away from your nose, Charlie Sheen.)
Lunch Boxes. There are scads of bento-style lunchboxes about. Seriously, it’s overwhelming, and there are thousands of images on Flickr of cutely-packed lunches in them. I think my favorite are the raspberry red ones for $16.95 from Brightbin, though if I were going to spend $45, I’d get the Bento Kit from Laptop Lunches. I could drive myself crazy shopping for these, so I’ll stop now.
Which of these greener options would you want in your kitchen?