The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
August 15, 2011

Reusable Plastic-Free Lunch Containers and Bags from LunchBots, Graze Organic, & Three Little Birds

[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.

LunchBots Uno Stainless sandwich container

(Note: The green spots on the sandwich are not mold, but yummy pesto!)

LunchBots Uno Stainless sandwich container

Givewaway: LunchBots will give away one LunchBot Uno stainless sandwich container.

Winner:  Sam from TheNailThatSticksUp.com.  Congratulations!

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.)

Graze Organic Lunch Tote

Graze Organic Lunch Tote

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.

Three Little Birds PlanetPack

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.

WINNER #1: Christa.   WINNER #2: Jennifer from Not Easy to Be Green.  Congratulations!

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.

Comparing Reusable Cloth Sandwich Bags

PlanetBox Stainless Steel Lunch Kit

Life Without Plastic’s Insulated Lunch Bag

Back to School Vinyl 1974. LunchBots Stainless Steel in 2010.

Kleen Kanteen’s new Reflect Plastic-Free Stainless Steel Water Bottle

This post is my contribution to the Green Moms Back to School Carnival, which will be hosted on the Mindful Momma blog on August 22.

184 comments
FranklySpeaking
FranklySpeaking

I am searching for a way of transporting fish, meat, or fowl in my organic jute burlap and cotton canvas grocery bags without risking bacteria penetration of the material. Any suggestions? 


We store all of our bulk herbs, spices, amino acids, vitamins, and such, in containers made of lead-free glass, food-grade stainless steel lid-locking harnesses, and real real rubber gaskets.

Be wary of gaskets made of carcinogenic gaskets unmentioned as being made of the ever toxic-smelling off-gassing silicone and the faux rubber criminally-marketed by Goodyear as  "Premium Rubber". [See Bormioli Rocco Fido jars on Amazon.com, from Italy, as a truly safe container.]


[Note: the [non-]free market is suffocated with intentionally-deceitful "safe" products, which freely intoxi[N]cate all Earthly lifeforms as their diseased, weakened, entranced, drugged, dumbed, reward-and-punishment-contured, manufactured, farmed, and enabled slaves. Animals get slaughtered, ignored, de-spiritualized, domesticated, zoo'ed, sliced-an-diced, injected, blamed. We humans get 'authoritarian persona, a 'slow death march' of survivalist enervation, mediative codependency, & eternal dis-ease'. The time- and ideology-tested methods make a vampiric parasitism successful. The global pyramid scheme is rationally-run (for them and their self-perpetuation) -- a Stalino-Nazi-Fascist-Welfarist hybrid -- by the combine of the Pharmaceutical Cartel, the Petrochemical Cartel, the Plastics Cartel, the John D.Rockefeller-founded AMA-ObamaCareless-insurance Complex, the Military-Industrial Complex, the Security-HighTech-Informational Complex, the sociopathic hierarchy-sustaining managing class, the politico-narcissistic ruling class, and the psychopathic owning class -- atop the whole political-economic system -- by the self-anointed 'elite' of the Banking Cartel... time-accumulating all alienated [self-]power, commonwealth, public domain, and social contracts into their fortified, privatized vaults... consolidating all historical (tribal, royalist, family-bloodlinist, clerical, psycho-emotional, specio-genetic, genderist, agist, anthro-sociological) and nation-state hierarchies into one rational (as in rationing and rationalizing) consolidated global virulence. Ugh!]


So, recalling my question as one dot amongst our self-depicting and self-forming presence, I would love to hear of ideas and will give followup 'test' reviews. Thanks much! ;-)

pay day advance
pay day advance

You are just an excellent. I like reading whatever you write. For this post, I just want to say WOW…

Kenny
Kenny

What a great ideas! My favourites are the stainless steel sandwich container and the Three Little Birds baggies! We used tupperwares for storing crafts.

Kenny
Kenny

What a great ideas! My favourites are the stainless steel sandwich container and the Three Little Birds baggies! We used tupperwares for storing crafts.

Jeff
Jeff

I think the lunchbox would leave a good impression to my office mates. The stainless steel makes it suitable for a professional. I like the feeling that my food is safe from being crushed as well.

Dmarie
Dmarie

so happy for all the winners. thanks again for sharing the news about these great products!

cw
cw

I love not using ziplocs!

Cynthia Plummer
Cynthia Plummer

I am interested in the graze cloth organic lunch tote. I want to start sending my 7 year olds lunch to school because the school thinks fried cheese sticks are a healthy meal (they are using the cheese sticks as the meal not as the side dish) I would use the old plastic containers to store small toys and to organize the kids art supplies. And why is that sandwich green it looks moldy which isn't the best way to promote alternate sandwich containers. roseplummer @ gmail . com

ashley laschon
ashley laschon

I'm interested in the Three Little Birdies giveaway. You have a really cool blog! :)

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

I would like to win the LunchBot. For my current plastic items I would repurpose them in the garage to store nails, nuts and bolts my husband inherited from his father. Affectionately known as the "Memorial Nail Collection"

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Rivs. The answers to your questions are in the Plastic-free Guide. http://plasticfreeguide.com (or click the Plastic-Free Guide menu item.) Scroll down to the section on personal care products.

Rivs
Rivs

I'm so intrigued by the idea of going plastic-free, though I don't think I'll be able to do that for myself til I'm out of college at least. I'm curious though, if one is going plastic-free, what does one do for shampoo/conditioner/other hair products? 90% of the ones I've seen have plastic containers, including some made from recycled plastic. I experimented with non-shampoo washes and rinses for my hair, with much disaster, and I'm still trying to get my scalp back on track 4 months later. So how does one avoid all the plastic?

emma
emma

I would love to win the lunch bot.

Becca
Becca

Ooooh, I love all these plastic free products, especially the stainless steel sandwich container. I would love to make little science kits out of old plastic containers for kids. I study soils, so the kit could have a little glass vial for collecting soil, a small magnifying glass, some pH paper, and a tiny field notebook. I've actually been wanting to do this with the old pipet tip containers from my lab, but never got around to it. Obviously, this isn't useful for most people. But, I think there might be a lot of ways to make activities for kids with old plastic containers. I bet art teachers would have a lot of great ideas!

Giveaway Hound
Giveaway Hound

All of these items are great, but I really love the Lunchbots containers. We actually stopped using plastic storage containers several years ago for food, but I love to use them to help organize items all over the house, from the office to the basement to the attic.

Sharon Yee-Garbade
Sharon Yee-Garbade

hi, 1) i would love to have the graze organic lunch kit. 2) since moving out of my parents' house, i have not bought any new lunch containers (like tupperware), but from what i have collected, i try to bring to restaurants to bring my leftovers home in. i also save virtually all my plastic containers from yogurt, cottage cheese, salsa, hummus, etc. and use them again for items in my lunch that do not need microwaving. additionally, i use many of the containers in my kindergarten classroom for painting, collecting items, and most recently, sorting the items in the writing center (markers, pens, glue sticks, scissors, etc).

Organic AP mom Katy
Organic AP mom Katy

I would be honored to win & try any of the three give aways & I am smitten with the graze.

Pat O
Pat O

I would love the Lunchbot . My sandwich container is on its last days and I havent yet found a replacement.

Connie
Connie

Hello In an effort to go green and teach my children to appreciate their environment, we are going green. I personally love the idea of stainless steeland I love the Lunchbots. Our school is very specific about the snacks the children are allowed to take ie. Only cheese, yogurt, fruits and/or veggies. We plan to use our plastic containers in our art area. Especially since we have so many bottoms without matching tops. Thank you for your consideration :)

Christine
Christine

I would love to try the LunchBots sandwich container for my kids lunch. It also looks like it would work for the small batches of ice cream we make together. We have repurposed our plastic containers in a variety of ways: travel pet food portions, taming my daughters' hair accessories, garage storage of nails/screws, art and craft projects...

Loree
Loree

I'd love to try the sandwich sized Lunchbots!! We have some of the other sizes & they are great! I've "reused" plastic lunch containers in my kids' sandbox!! They are great for scooping, molding & digging sand!!

Michelle
Michelle

I've been looking for some great plastic free snack bags and these look great!

Michelle
Michelle

Wow, I love these products. I have been researching some plastic free lunch options for my son who will be starting kindergarden this fall. I am interested mostly in the graze organics give away, because I find that a lot of stainless steel containers are a bit heavy for a 4 year old to carry. I have been switching my family to plastic free food containers (it has taken about a year). We mostly use glass jars and a few stainless steel food containers for storing foods and leftovers. My partner uses glass airtight food containers that we purchased from Life Without Plastics to bring his lunch to work. I use most of my old plastic food containers for storing homemade playdough, fingerpaints, and other craft items that I make for my kids. I find that the old plastic containers work great for our craft area because they are airtight and not breakable.

Alyssa Lee
Alyssa Lee

1) I love love love the look of the Lunchbots but being Korean, I already have lots of beautiful, airtight tempered glass containers I can count on to put my lunch in. So I'm going to go with the Graze Organic lunch set. I love the look of the bag and the snack bags. 2) I still use the plasticware that is in good shape and #5 for dry items, especially when packing my brother's lunch since they're light and unbreakable. However, for the scratched up ones or ones I never use, I use to Organize Organize Organize. Just yesterday, I took all my old plastic "bento" sets with the dividers and used it to organize all my little hardware knicknacks such as nails and screws of different sizes. I also use one of the smaller ones to hold a pack of cards in my backpack since they keep the cards in good shape. And I use some of the thin, longer ones to hold my utensils on the go, that way they don't get dirty in my bag. I used to wrap them in a napkin but my napkin got so dirty that it just became another thing to wash! I also use a bunch of the small ones to organize my brother's play things. Lastly, I cut up old magazines and cereal boxes for crafts and I use the clear ones to sort these pieces by color so when I make a mosaic on a card for a friend, the blue is easy to find! Thanks for this giveaway and all your hard work!!

Sarah
Sarah

I really like the Three Little Birds baggies! We used tupperwares for storing foods..

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Those 3 Little Birds baggies are adorable, and will come in so handy when packing the hubby's lunches! It's easier to deal with the cloth bags than the hard stainless containers (though those are great too). I wish I had a really creative idea for the old plastic containers...right now ours are used to hold rice, beans, grains, etc. I also donated a bunch of the newer-looking ones to the local second-hand store that does a lot of good in our community!

Natalie
Natalie

Since you posted this, I investigated on cloth sandwich/snack bags, and I have to say I am very shocked to see how many are lined with synthetic/plastic/vinyl material. :( Sure, it is convenient to be waterproof and leak proof but how can people claim these are "green" alternatives :( The ones you listed are 100% natural, thank you.

Betsy
Betsy

I love the Lunch Bots! And for our old plastic containers, we have used them to sort out odds and ends in our junk drawers. Also, we use the bigger containers for crafts and paints.

Suzanne T
Suzanne T

I'd love to benefit from one of these awesome giveaways. We're always wanting to try new environmentally conscious products. Thanks! suzgregtayATgmailDOTcom

Monica
Monica

1) These are great alternatives. My oldest DD has claimed my handmade lunch sack and my youngest DD said she'd just use a plastic grocery bag. I don't think so. :) I'm partial to the Lunch Bot and lunch totes. 2) I try to reuse the plastic containers in our junk drawer to contain things from rolling around or getting all jumbled up.

Nicole
Nicole

WOW Lots of responses...I didn't read them all but I didn't see many people suggesting that plastic containers be donated. Our local schools, preschools, day cares, art centers, animal shelters, garden centers, farm stands and co-ops all love receiving plastic containers for various uses. Using them around the house is great but if you have more than you need share with others in your community :) The Lunchbot containers look great! Wouldn't metal snaps or buttons be a plastic free way to seal bags? Why velcro? :(

Heather
Heather

Storing toys, and hair accessories. I have two young girls.

domestic diva
domestic diva

I love all 3! The lunch tote is gorgeous. My little guy, who dislikes crushed food, would flip over the sandwich box. And we can always use a couple more cloth pouches (ours seem to disappear periodically). If I had to choose one, probably the tote/lunch set.

chicknlil
chicknlil

I would love to have the stainless lunch bot container. It wouldn't crush under the reused peanut butter jars that we pack into the lunch box! I currently carry a tote that I made out of reclaimed curtains but my s.o. uses a insulated cooler because he works outside with no access to refrigeration. I would use our old container for a scoop for chicken feed, for our free rangers. I would use the lid to patch a knot hole in the barn siding.

Karen
Karen

I would love to try the birdie bags! My little girl and I use waxed paper bags for sandwiches and snacks, but they don't hold up as well as these guys will - and NO TRASH!! Love it! Thanks Beth!

Stephanie
Stephanie

I would love the sandwich/snack baggies. We haven't been buying any disposable plastic baggies for a while but I need something to pack snacks for my sons school lunch. I gave away all of our lock and locks etc... but kept my Rubbermaids. I would sell them to friends if I didn't need them anymore. Mostly I use Mason jars to store things.

Pam
Pam

I would love the sandwich container. As for the plastic - I use them all for household storage now.

Jennifer Webb
Jennifer Webb

I would love any of these items, but I'm really interested in the sandwich container. For old plastic containers, I use them for organization and arts and crafts projects.

Dmarie
Dmarie

thanks for the giveaway, any of these products would tickle me. as for the plastic ware I no longer use, well, the grandgirls now use it for water playtime! they love pouring the water back and forth into the different sized containers.

Katherine
Katherine

I'm easy - I really like both giveaways & wouldn't mind winning either. I'd craigslist the plastic containers if it were me, though I read a pp comment about donating them to animal shelters & think that would be great too. Or you could see if a homeless shelter or battered women's shelter could use them for something. Thanks for the opportunity!

ikkinlala
ikkinlala

May Canadians enter? I'm interested in any of the items, but especially the Lunchbots container. I use my old plastic containers for storing things like craft supplies that I don't plan to consume - I know that's not an especially creative use, but it's practical. ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

Lisa
Lisa

I have really been thinking about how to pack a "green" lunch for my son as the new school year approaches. I love the ideas and products that you talked about. I would love to try them!

JGarcia
JGarcia

I really like the Graze lunch tote! I just moved to Boston and have not had much luck in finding stores that will let me tare my own glass bulk containers so I am going to use old tupperware as the lighter go-between option :)

Jane
Jane

I am pining after that LunchBot Uno stainless sandwich container!! I don't have any brilliant ideas for what to do with existing plastic tupperwares, and that's really the point, we shouldn't have things that can't fully degrade or be recycled :( I reuse them as non-food containers once they get questionably scratched or worn, and then as kid toys until they are beyond use. Then, those with recycling numbers go in the bin.

Kira
Kira

I love the snack baggies and the metal sandwich container. I pack lunch every day, and those are fantastic ways to rid myself of plastic. For old uses... The thin, Zip-loc types I'd turn into hanging planters for my back porch. Punching holes in the bottom for drainage and suspending them from hooks, or using the lids as a water overflow catcher. The heavier ones would store office supplies, all my copious craft supplies, especially thread and the like, and probably store my beauty stuff so it doesn't take over the bathroom. I could also fill them with water and use them as re-freezable cooling packs for my lunches or for first aid.

Ms. Adventuress
Ms. Adventuress

Update: I would tightly ((weave)) together all of the plastic, to create funky/artsy rain shelters for the homeless (which could be staked, strung or wrapped). This would be a non-toxic assembly method--as non-toxic as you can get, anyway, with plastic. ((And)) this would bring attenton (as people see these beautiful works of art) to two important causes: The need to stop homelessness and the need to stop the plastic. Plus...I don't know what i was thinking...I do not need any new containers. I have a lovely tin already in use and many lovely mason jars that I love. I look forward to seeing who wins these goodies, though!

Ang!
Ang!

1. I have been longing for reusable sandwich and snack baggies for a while now, which is why I would love to have the Three Little Birds set. I'd really like to see how they are made, and eventually make my own to add to the set. We pack four lunches a day and it adds up to a lot of bags. 2. We have biodegradable baggies now, which I wash and reuse. When they are no longer able to hold up they'll go in the compost bin. The other plastic containers get new life in two ways around here. Some are freezer storage for leftovers until the lids crack. Then they repurposed for garden use, either for storing seeds we collect or for depositing transplants until they get to a new home.

Emily
Emily

pack your freezer full of old tupperware filled with water to increase efficency! I'd love the three birds baggies for home made lunches.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Cynthia, that's funny. The sandwich is green from the pesto!

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