But with all the paper bags, plastic wraps, and juice and milk containers needed to keep food safe and secure, it can be pretty hard not to. Fortunately, there are some ecofriendly options out there that keep waste to a minimum.
For starters, try packing lunches in stainless steel or sturdy plastic bento boxes similar to the ones you see in Japanese restaurants. Complete with lids, they’re great for compartmentalizing items so foods stay neat and separate. Plus they make just about anything look more appealing while keeping portion sizes to a minimum. Make sure the kids bring them home to fill up with the next day’s goodies.
For keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, look for insulated reusable containers. Instead of packing wasteful plastic water bottles, try stainless steel beverage containers. They make a good vessel for water and other liquids.
To keep plastic bags out of the landfill, pack sandwiches in reusable sandwich sacks. These bag-shaped containers can be found in fun prints and colors. There are also cotton-blend “wraps” that secure a sandwich or other treats for travel. When unfolded, these “wraps” become a handy placemat for sandwiches and other snacks. Wash at the end of the day, and they’re ready for another round.
When it comes time to pack everything up, look for reusable and washable totes and bags. Or go for a bit of nostalgia by securing all in a sturdy oldfashioned metal lunchbox that can be wiped clean.