[January 2014 Update: Unfortunately, both Graze Organic and Three Little Birds have gone out of business in the past year. I will post an updated blog on reusable cloth lunch containers and bags in the near future.]
Are you still relying on plastic baggies, bags, or containers to pack lunches for school or work? Are you concerned about the chemicals that can leach out of plastics into the foods you or your kids eat? A lot of plastic food containers are touted as BPA-free. But BPA-free does not necessarily mean safe because the chemicals used in place of BPA can have the same harmful effects. And plastics like polypropylene may contain antibacterial chemicals like Triclosan, which have been found to leach.
There are many plastic-free alternatives, and this week, three companies are offering giveaways and discounts to My Plastic-free Life readers for back to school. To enter the giveaways, leave a comment at the bottom of this post letting me know 1) which item(s) you are interested in, and 2) an idea for what to do with all the old plastic containers we have lying around after we switch to plastic-free foodware. Dumping them in the landfill is not the right answer. And most plastics can’t truly be recycled. So I’m looking for creative reuse ideas.
09/10/11 Update: The contest is over. Read below each item to find out who won. (Each winner was chosen at random.)
LunchBots Stainless Steel Sandwich Container
I have been looking for the perfect sandwich container for years, and finally LunchBots has created one. The newLunchBots Uno with Stainless lid is more rectangular than their original container and the right size for an adult-sized sandwich. I bring it with me to my corner HellOakland coffee shop when I don’t have time to make my own sandwich for work.
(Note: The green spots on the sandwich are not mold, but yummy pesto!)
Givewaway: LunchBots will give away one LunchBot Uno stainless sandwich container.
Discount: LunchBots is offering a 25% discount on all items at LunchBots.com through the end of August. Use coupon code BTS.
Note and Disclosure: LunchBots.com has a lot of cool stainless steel containers, including the original LunchBots as well as small insulated round leak-proof containers for pudding, yogurt, etc and some round thermal containers for hot food. But the stainless sandwich container shown above is not yet available at LunchBots.com. It is only being sold right now via Reusit.com or Amazon.com. And if you purchase via Reusit, My Plastic-free Life earns a small affiliate bonus!
Graze Organic Cloth Lunch Totes
If the LunchBots container is the perfect size for my sandwich, the Graze Organic tote is the perfect bag to hold my LunchBots container, water bottle, and any other items I bring for lunch. There are three styles to choose from (including robots). Made from 100% organic sturdy canvas, this is honestly the best uninsulated lunch bag I’ve tried so far. The built in handle makes it very easy to carry. And unlike a lot of other lunch bags out there made of synthetic materials, the fabric is completely plastic-free and easily washable. (The only plastic in the bag is a tiny bit of velcro to keep it closed. Yes, velcro is plastic.)
Giveaway: Graze Organic is giving away one complete lunch set, including your choice of lunch tote, two canvas snack/sandwich bags, and one cloth napkin.
WINNER: Alisha Utter. Congratulations!
Discount: Graze Organic is offering free shipping to My Plastic-free Life readers. Use coupon code PLASTICFREE.
Three Little Birds PlanetPack Sandwich/Snack Baggie
If you’d rather use a cloth baggie for your sandwich than a hard stainless steel container, Three Little Birds Design Company has created a very cute and functional U.S.-grown/manufactured organic cotton baggie in several different sizes. The bags are made from two layers of super soft yet densely woven material and contain no waterproof synthetic material. Like the Graze bags, they do contain a plastic Velcro closure.
While both the Graze baggies and Three Little Birds baggies are made from organic cotton, they feel completely different. Why not try both and see which one works better for you? I’d love to hear your opinion.
Giveaway: Three Little Birds is giving away a complete set of bags (Small, Medium, and Large) to two different readers of this blog.
Discount: Use coupon code GREENLUNCHES to get a 15% Discount at Checkout.
Other Reusable Lunch Options
I’ve written about lots of different reusable lunch options in the past. Check out these posts for more ideas.