Packing a Non-Toxic & Eco-Friendly Lunchbox

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“I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

(You’ve Got Mail, anyone?)

Well, it’s upon us yet again: a new school year. I don’t know about you, but summer totally flew by. I literally had to do a double-take when I saw Thanksgiving decorations for sale at the mall last weekend. (Should we start a bet for when the first Christmas tree goes up?)

I always loved this time of year as a kid, and still get to enjoy it with my husband, an elementary school administrator. Like the kidos, he starts each year with some cool new outfits and fun school swag. This year he got some pretty sweet Star Wars ties (nerd alert), a new laptop bag, and a lunchbox.

He actually hadn’t had a lunchbox since 7th grade, we discovered. There was a brief discussion about whether he should buy a Star Wars one (you know, to match the ties) but I quickly took matters into my own hands, recalling some articles I’d read in the past about chemicals in lunchboxes.

Kids’ school lunches are a source of both chemical exposure and pollution.

Here are a few shocking facts to sum up this yucky situation:

  • A 2007 study found lead in 1/3 of children’s lunchboxes
  • A 2012 report found that 75% of children’s lunchboxes contained high levels of phthalates, chemicals that were banned from use in toys by the federal government in 2008 and are known endocrine disruptors (i.e. imitate and interfere with your hormones)
  • The average child who brings a brown bag lunch to school every day creates 67 pounds of waste per school year
  • The average family spends $85 per year on disposable plastic baggies

But luckily, there are a ton of safer, healthier alternatives to protect your little ones and the planet.

Some of these options will look a bit pricey, but it is a onetime investment that will last for years.

AND, this investment is going to cost a lot less than the average annual cost of plastic baggies. (85 bucks? For real!?)

Packing a Non-Toxic & Eco-Friendly Lunchbox:

Long-lasting, non-toxic lunchboxes

non-toxic lunchbox healthy school lunchPackIt Freezable Lunch Bag (I bought the Gray Stripe bag for my husband for work! )

  • PVC-, BPA-, phthalate- and lead-free
  • Keeps food cold for up to 10 hours

LunchBots Insulated Lunch Bag + LunchBots Bento Trio

  • lunchbots eco friendly lunchbox stainless steel healthy lunchFits 2-3 LunchBots containers, a water bottle, and more
  • Lucnhbox is made with PVC-free material
  • Bento Trio is 100% food-grade stainless steel

ECOlunchbox Three-in-One Stainless Steel Food Container Set

  • eco lunchbox stainless steel healthy lunch100% food-grade stainless steel set of 3 containers
  • Ideal for packing a small sandwich on the bottom and two side dishes in the top containers

Eco-friendly, reusable plastic bag alternatives

eco reusable silicone sandwhich bag healthy school lunchStasher Air-Tight Reusable Silicone Food Bag

  • 100% pure food-grade silicone
  • Dishwasher, microwave, and freezer-safe
  • Pinch-press designed to be air-tight
  • Comes in a few fun designs for kids and plain for adults!

Planet Wise Reusable Clear Zipper Bagsreusable sandwhich bag plastic baggie eco alternative healthy lunch

  • Available in snack, sandwich, quart, and gallon sizes
  • PVC-, BPA-, phthalate-, latex-, and lead-free
  • Top rack dishwasher safe

Small reusable food containers

Kids Konserve 5oz Leak-Proof Stainless Steel Containerskids conserve stainless steel food containers healthy lunch

  • 100% food-grade stainless steel
  • Lids are BPA-, phthalate-, and lead-free
  • Leak-proof!

LunchBots 16oz Insulated Leak-Proof Stainless Steel Thermoslunchbots stainless steel insulated food container healthy lunch

  • Keep food warm for up to 5 hours
  • 100% food-grade stainless steel
  • No plastic comes in contact with your food
  • Plastic parts are BPA-free

Small reusable water and juice bottles

Kid Kanteen 12oz Stainless Steel Bottle With Sport Capkid kanteed stainless steel drink bottle

  • 100% food-grade stainless steel
  • BPA-, lead-, and phthalate-free
  • Dishwasher safe

Squeasy Sport 16oz Silicone Collapsible Bottlesilicone water bottles

  • Wide-mouth makes it easy to fill and clean
  • 100% food-grade
  • Microbial-resistant



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  1. Hey, Hilda! Yes, I also use glass jars and Pyrex containers for my own lunch and they work great. But I think it would be too heavy and breakable 🙂 for kids.

  2. I have been packing lunch in glass jars for two years now. They wash easily and never smell of plastic. Of course this would only work for an adult who could take care with the jars but I cushion mine with coozies I’ve crocheted and that does the trick.