Since our boys started school, we’ve done our best to pack waste-free lunches. They’ve used stainless steel water bottles all along, but for packing food, we’ve experimented with everything from BPA-free plastic to stainless or glass containers. I’m fairly certain that – unless for a field trip – we haven’t sent a plastic baggie to school in years.
Separate containers serve their purpose and are helpful if the child eats his lunch directly from them at school. And they help reduce waste when you buy or make a large jar of applesauce and send it to school in a reusable container, rather than throwing away an individually packaged plastic cup every day.
My only complaint about all these separate containers is that it can be tough to fit them all into one lunchbox. Thankfully, my husband’s skill at packing the car for vacation translates very well into getting us out the door with lunch boxes that aren’t bursting at the zipper.
I share the benefits of Montessori school often, but another thing we love is how is a social occasion that the children help prepare, and everything is served from real plates and dishes. Not on plastic – or worse Styrofoam – trays like sadly many public schools use. It’s reassuring to know that no matter how we pack carrots, the kids will eat them from a plate.
This is where products like Againbags make my life easier.
Their infinitely reusable bags are sturdy, but flexible enough to bend and fit into the extra spaces inside the lunchbox.
Instead of that hard plastic “wonderbread” container (you know you’ve seen it in the bread aisle), the sandwich mat takes up way less space and can fit just about anywhere inside the lunchbox.
Much neater than sliding a sandwich into a plastic bag, where you might end up with peanut butter smeared all over the seal. With the wrapping mat, you just place the sandwich in the center, fold the sides up, and velcro to keep it secure. We have used a version of this product for four years now, and I’m happy to say that the Againbags mat works just as well, and it’s nice to have more than one on hand in case someone forgets to empty the lunch boxes…
The snack bags are another way to keep lunch neat and simple. Carrots, celery sticks, grapes, pretzels… pretty much anything fits in these. And there’s a long strip of velcro to keep the bag closed. We rarely have that many crumbs in the bottom of the lunch box, so our kids must be sealing them well.
What about safety?
I spoke with Againbags owner, Jennifer Scala, to find out all of their bags are free from BPA, lead, and phthalates. Some are made from nylon and the patterned, wipe-off styles are made from 100% cotton laminated fabric. The laminate is also non-toxic. She even has lab results available at a customer’s request.
And in case you’re thinking, “Why on earth would fabric contain BPAs?” Jennifer answered that question personally, ”BPAs do not occur in either the nylon nor the laminate used on the cotton product – there are no components that would result in a bisphenol A by-product. We included the BPA free on our product labels because BPAs are such a big concern for consumers nowadays.”
I think that’s a wise decision on her part, because so many parents have been told to look for BPA-free food containers.
Cleanup is simple too. Because most of our cookware is not dishwasher safe, I have a sink full of soapy water every evening after dinner. I dunk the bags in the water, rinse, and let them dry to use the next day.
Create your own Waste Free Lunch drawer
Againbags is offering 15% off your purchase of their already affordable lunch options. Just use code Launch15 at checkout.
And be sure to let me know which colors and sizes you choose. We can compare notes on how many plastic bags we’re keeping out of the landfill:)