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A Plastic-Free Lunch That’s Kid-Friendly

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 in Food & Recipes, Lifestyle | 0 comments

When I was snowshoeing with two athletic and environmentally-minded friends we got into a conversation about plastic. They had both seen reports that BPA-free plastic may be just as bad as plastic with BPA.

BPS, the chemical that replaced BPA in plastic, was thought to be a good alternative because it was less likely to leech into food or water, according to Scientific American. But it does leech and it’s showing up in our bodies. The article cites studies done on zebra fish and rats as evidence that the chemical is dangerous. At the same time, other articles that say more research needs to be done to determine if BPA and BPS are safe or not.

Regardless of where you stand on the science and the debate, my friends were concerned about the safety of the containers they and their families use for their food and drink. While it’s fairly easy for an adult to give up plastic and use glass containers, you can’t send kids to school with glass, which can be heavy and breakable.

So on our snowshoe hike, we discussed what it would take to pack a lunch without plastic food containers for my friend’s kid. That means:

  • no glass
  • reasonable prices in case the container(s) accidentally get lost
  • a format that supports variety (I was informed that kids like options.)

What a challenge!

We didn’t have all the answers right away, so I went home to do some online research. Here’s what I found:

stainless steel lunchbox


LunchBots has reasonably priced stainless steel bento boxes and ECOlunchbox has containers with stackable layers.


silicone lunchbox


Silicon is considered safe and comes in the form of collapsible lunchboxes – a great space-saving solution!


stainless steel containers


Small stainless steel containers from Kids Konserve can be an alternative to plastic containers.


cloth sandwich bag


 Cloth sandwich bags are a thing.



Sending kids to school (or yourself to work) with a plastic-free lunch can be done. But if you’re not ready to give up your reusable plastic containers right now, there are steps you can take to minimize the potential for plastic to leech into your food. Recommendations from Earth 911 are:

  • Make sure plastic food containers are #2, #4 or #5
  • Don’t use scratched, worn or cloudy containers because they’re more likely to leech
  • Keep the containers away from heat, so don’t put them in the microwave or dishwasher

Do you have any experiences with packing plastic-free lunches? Please share in the comments below.

Kim is an eco enthusiast who tries to make small changes that will add up and make a difference.

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