Last month, Fake Plastic Fish reader Alanna sent me a link to a very cool new stainless steel lunch option. PlanetBox, a company created just this year, has designed a lunch box that is airtight and has compartments for all the different foods you might want to pack. And unlike Bentology/Laptop Lunches, which I have never promoted because they are made from plastic, the PlanetBox container is plastic-free.
I asked the owner, Caroline Miros (who happens to also live in the Bay Area) about the materials in the lunch box, and here is what she told me:
- Our PlanetBox lunch box is made out of high quality stainless steel – no plastic.
- Each PlanetBox comes with a set of magnets that are made out of synthetic rubber, but not PVC (the standard for thin flexible magnets). We had to look long and hard for a supplier that did not use PVC and found one in Asia that sold to the European Markets (with their smarter, tougher standards.) So the magnets are still plastic, but at least not PVC. If someone requested to not have the magnets with their PlanetBox, we would gladly comply.
- Our Big and Little Dipper containers have a small silicone rubber seal on top, in order to make it more liquid tight. We tried lots of different options to try to not use silicone for this, but ultimately had to in order to get it to hold liquid.
- Our Carry Bag is made out of 100% recycled material made from plastic bottles, as well as polyurethane. Again, this isn’t a perfect solution, but it is durable and washes well, which we felt was important for a children’s lunch bag. And of course, it’s certified free of toxic materials like lead and BPA/phthalates.
I appreciated Caroline’s candid answers to my questions, so I asked her to tell me a little about her inspiration for designing PlanetBox:
As a mom who has been packing lunches for over 8 years, I’ve been frustrated by the ever-changing news about what plastics are considered “safe.” First PVC was bad, then Polystyrene. Then the bad news of #7 Polycarbonate plastics came. Which plastic was going to go toxic next?
I started to look for good alternatives for packing my kid’s lunch. I found that glass is great for home, but my daughter’s pre-school politely asked me to stop packing glass containers after one dropped on the floor and created quite a hazard — who can blame them? I turned my attention to metal containers – buying up anything I could get my hands on in this country, over the internet, or through my husband’s travels around the world. I amassed quite a collection! But none of these containers really worked well for my kids — they were either too big, too awkward, or weren’t good for little hands to open and close.
That’s why I teamed up with my product designer husband and created PlanetBox. In addition to being safer than plastic, PlanetBox also functions better – the metal latch is easier to open and close than Tupperware lids, and stainless steel even cleans better than plastic. Why not skip the problems with plastic and pack lunch in a PlanetBox?
In addition to the health concerns associated with plastics, the creators of PlanetBox are also concerned about issues of waste and pollution from disposable products. From the Why PlanetBox section of their website:
While many people are used to the “convenience” of using single-use plastic baggies and containers, all that convenience can make 90 pounds of garbage per year, per kid!
All that garbage ends up in our oceans and landfills and contributes to more global warming gases, which threaten our children’s future.
Most plastic food containers claim to be recyclable even though they are made of resins that are not readily recyclable at your curbside. Your PlanetBox is truly 100% recyclable. We’re so committed we’ll even recycle it for you after years of good use!
I feel like this is a company that “gets it.”
What is your favorite tip for making it easier to buy food in bulk (therefore minimizing plastic packaging)?
Here is her personal tip:
A few years ago, I bought organic cotton reusable bags to buy food from the bulk bins, but I had a hard time remembering to use them, until I labeled each with a permanent marker with what foods went in each bag (ie, oatmeal, brown rice, white rice, etc…). Once I did this I found it was much easier for me to make use of them).
Have you purchased food from bulk bins? What is your tip for making bulk purchasing a stress-free experience? And if you haven’t done it yet, please let us know why and what would need to change for you to be able to do it. If you have no bulk food stores in your area, please let us know that too.