Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Any Way Around the Plastic in This Scenario?

My children will both be packing lunches for the school year, albeit only 2 days a week for Ben.  I've bought this lunchpail pattern after experiencing the dismal construction of the made-in-China variety.  I wonder if I'll be whipping two of these up per school year or if they'll last longer?

My real question for you:  must I pack the kids' food items in plastic?  I am avoiding plastic when feasible for environmental reasons (the world is ending!  oh sorry, didn't mean to break out the doom).  When I pack my own lunch for my job, I can use glass jars and act accordingly with my lunch box, but glass is an iffy idea for kids' lunches.

Last year, we packed Genevieve's food in whatever plastic bags and containers we had around.   I even trained her to bring the bags back home for me to wash instead of throwing them away.


Here's the kicker:  my sister, with a little eye-rolling, just invited me to a Tupperware party.  Should I buy some handy plastic containers?  Seriously, give me some green lunch-packing advice. 

22 comments:

Jennifer Jo said...

What about stainless steel? Or those little glass storage containers with plastic lids? Those are quite sturdy.

kyleann33 said...

We love the LunchBots stainless steel containers. I have a divided one and a small round one that I use for Alex's snacks when we travel. The lids fit tightly and we don't have to worry about breakage.

MJH said...

There are some sweet sandwich bags (washable, cloth) at one of the shops in Building Character. In the door, turn left, go into that room and they're in there!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I haven't given up plastic entirely, but I have given up plastic bags (mostly). My son is taking lunch to school for the first time next year, and I am planning on using mostly re-usable plastic containers for his lunch.

I wouldn't do glass (kids do crazy things with their backpacks), but I'd never thought of stainless steel. That's a good idea.

Eva Girl said...

I use plastic containers - the same ones - for my Babe's lunch every day. I have found just the right sizes for his sandwich, chips, fruit, veggies, nuts, etc. I feel like that's the easiest way to do it and I don't have to use baggies, and I can use the same containers forever, if he doesn't loose them ; )

Meredith said...

Hi Margo,

We have the same dilemma every August. Last year I used a stainless Bento system, but it did not work--sticky everywhere and expensive.

Then we went to a divided container which was BPA free (Easy Lunchboxes) hoping that the all-in-one design would be easier to manage on busy mornings. However, there was also leakage between compartments.

I experimented with glass and old fashioned wax paper during a robotics camp this summer. That came back a peer failure, and round shapes didn't fit well with the freezer pack.

So...this year we bought Rubbermaid Lunch Blocks on sale. There are many lids to keep up with, but everything has remained icy cold. I like the way everything clicks together and so far, no leaks.

Let us know if you find the perfect system. I would love to know what works for your family!

Naptime Seamstress said...

I've cut back on plastics, but they can't be beat for convenience and price.

A word of advice, take it or leave it: I've come to find that the Rubbermaid containers from Walmart or Target or KMart (or wherever) are much more affordable. And, in my opinion, just as nice. (And you won't tar and feather the child when it gets lost, because it was less expensive than Tupperware).

Lisa said...

As for the bags, how about the wax paper ones?

jenny_o said...

I would recommend a good brand of plastic like Rubbermaid as well, provided the lunch will not be microwaved (that option is offered at some schools). Plastic is so much lighter than glass for little ones to carry, and as you said, non-breakable.

Hazel said...

Love the lunch pail! Your sewing skills are way better than mine. When I got fed up of throwing away ripped padded lunch bags(these tend to be more popular in the UK than rigid ones. They drive me mad- they're impossible to clean properly and get really yucky and they always tear.) I made the girls denim lunch bags and my son a lunch bag based on a grocery sack pattern from the leg of my old brown cord trousers!!
It just rolls down and fastens with a toggle and I've been pleasantly surprised that I've only had to replace the toggle once or twice- he's hard on his stuff and I thought I'd be constantly sewing up holes.

I would avoid glass for school (they may even have a no glass policy- some schools here in the UK do). Stainless steel sounds great, but they're not easily obtainable here, so I do use reuseable plastic tubs. I second the cheaper tubs option- when you realise the children have lost half the lids, it's frustrating enough. Two of mine take a box with separate sections for sandwich/fruit/cake/whatever which solves the lid problem. I cut their food to fit in the sections but I imagine if your child took a pot of yogurt, bag of crisps and cereal bar every day it would be harder fitting the foods in.

For sandwiches or frittata (mine often take pasta, salad or soup too) I often use my homemade versions of this lunch wrap http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrap-N-Mat-Reusable-Sandwich-Wrap-Gingham/dp/B001C4POJU

I like that they can use it as a plate too.

Jane said...

I just love the lunch pail pattern.
I did buy my gal a tupperware lunch pail and it is holding up real well. I bought it on ebay, but you should probably buy yours from sister, lol.

I would love to get rid of the plastics from their lunches as well, but glass I'm not so sure about either, the stainless steel sounds good.

Katy said...

Another blogger I follow just did a back-to-school post on avoiding plastic lunch containers. She reviewed a bunch of products and had her 3 girls use them (ages 2-1/2ish to about 8.) http://simplynaturalmom.com/2012/07/29/plastic-lunch-options/

My daughter has been using a laptop lunch system for four years (five this year!) and we like it fine. It is plastic, though.

TessaDiane said...

Have you seen these?

http://www.planetbox.com/shop

Sew Blessed Maw said...

My daughter uses plastic containers with lids for her girls lunches.. She taught them, to put them back in their lunch boxes and return them everyday.. They reuse them each day.. [she even saves the small water bottles to put thier drinks in.. Works fine..
I agree with the others..afraid that glass might break..
Love the lunch box pattern. so cute.

Renae said...

I've seen sandwich/snack baggies on Etsy... I'm sure your crafty enough you could just make your own. :-) I think they used PUL or some sort of water proof material so it's easy to wash.

Deanna Beth said...

Probably the responsible thing is to buy used Tupperware rather than contributing to the landfill by buying new. Tupperware is great, though, as our mothers knew.

Polly said...

Oilcloth sandwich bags? Also, our natural foods store sells brown wax paper bags. Totally wicked awesome old school crinkly sound when you pull your sandwich out of it. It makes me so happy.

I wonder if there are stainless steel containers Out There anywhere?

Anonymous said...

I've packed thousands of lunches. Seriously. My youngest is nearly done with school, & I've graduated two others. Also, my husband takes a packed lunch with him to work. The little Tupperware bowls are great, they don't leak, they come in fun colors, & hold a respectable 1/2 cup serving. Others have mentioned The Rubbermaid brand...also very nice, & I do have some of those. I use thermos jars as well, as I like to pack soup, chili, leftover casserole, etc. during the winter months. A water bottle filled about a third of the way with whatever drink you are giving your child & then put in the freezer overnight functions nicely as a coldpack for the rest of the food. I usually wrap the cloth napkin around it to keep it from getting the other food soggy from condensation (I still can't figure out how that happens, as everything has its own little container/bag/wrap, but it just does...like with sandwiches, or cookies). I have a collection of dedicated plastic forks, spoons & so on that I wash & use again. There've been no issues with those. Save little spice containers for salt & pepper, or salad dressings, dips, etc.

Good luck serving up home lunches for school. Once you have found a system for yourself you'll be so glad you decided to stick with it, I really believe that. Our district's lunches here just went up 10 cents again (now $2.60), & I don't know how a family can afford that for their children. I know I can pack my kids twice the food for half the money!

Linds84 said...

Are you familiar with tiffins? They are very popular here in Canada. It's a stainless steel interlocking lunch system. http://www.citychef.ca/xcart/customer/product.php?productid=18192 They're sturdy and long lasting and they come in different sizes.

Margo said...

You all, THANK YOU so much for the helpful ideas and comments! I am digesting and researching - but quickly, as school starts next week for Ben. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't have to have it all figured out before then, that life goes on and maybe I'll hit on the perfect system for us in a year or two. But in the meantime, thanks again for sharing.

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

Are you familiar with Lunch Skins? Check them out at lunchskins.com. They're a bit of an investments, but long term they might be a good solution.

Margo said...

Christian, I have seen them, thank you, but I waffled about buying new things when I still have ziplocs to wash out and reuse. Still on the fence about it. Have you used them? Are they made out of oilcloth?

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails