Last year, my son began school and I was confronted with the choice of sending his lunch with him or letting him eat school-provided lunches. It was not a difficult decision because, in our county, nutrition is somewhat of a joke. Pop-Tarts are considered a healthy breakfast choice in the schools, and items such as Chicken Fried Steak and Cheese Pizza are often served for lunch. Hopefully, many parents know that those types of foods should be served as an occasional treat and not a frequent meal option.
But today I’m not here to debate school menu options and argue about nutrition. For me, it was an easy decision to send his lunch every day. So my next decision was on the type of lunch box and containers to purchase.
Obviously, I didn’t want to buy plastic, nor did I want him to eat out of plastic containers because of the potentially toxic ingredients in them. Further, I did not want to regularly use single-use disposable items like plastic utensils, zipper bags, or individually wrapped foods like applesauce packets and prepackaged fruit. I also can’t send glass containers to school, which is what we use at home.
So I searched Google for all types of eco-friendly lunch boxes and such, and was delighted to find lots of options! I read up on different companies, read reviews, and looked at my options several times before settling on the ECOLunchbox. They assert that they offer “100% plastic-free, ocean-friendly, non-toxic food containers.” I read their story and read reviews of their products on their site as well as Amazon’s. Here’s a video from the founder, explaining why she founded this company:
“When I launched in 2008, my business plan was to take the tried-and-true tradition of metal lunch boxes and make it new again for modern consumers.” -Sandra Ann Harris, founder of ECOlunchbox and author of Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide For Plastic-Free Living
Review of the products I ordered
I ordered the Blue Water Bento Splash Box and Pods Set, which consists of three stainless steel containers with leak-proof silicone lids. They are dishwasher safe (obviously not microwave safe but we try to avoid the microwave anyway). They have been used and transported and washed 5 days per week for 8 months now and show little signs of wear! I’m really glad I chose these.
The containers are very easy to clean, are very durable, and eco-friendly. I like the sizes as well because they can accommodate a sandwich or salad in the large one, and crackers and fruit in the smaller containers.
These containers are light to carry and easy to use. The company indicated that the “non-slip tabs on the lid are embossed for kid-friendly easy opening,” and I have found that to be true! My son does just fine with them on his own. They are indeed leak-proof, as long as he puts the lids on tight (which he doesn’t every time, but it’s minimal leakage). He really likes his containers.
We also ordered the Blue Water Bento lunch bag. Made of organic cotton, the bag is machine washable which is practically a must with young children! It also features cute designs of ocean animals. My son chose the Dolphin print. I really like the Sea Turtle print too:
The bag is made to hold the Splash Box and Pods. I can also fit a small Kleen Kanteen water bottle inside. The top closes with Velcro and it has a handle to carry it. My son and I both like the bag, however, the velcro wore out within just a few months, albeit from the daily use (abuse?) of a 5-year-old:
It’s always better to repair something than to replace it, if and when possible. I decided that I’d just replace the Velcro. I bought white sewable Velcro strips at the craft store (unfortunately those come in plastic packaging). Then, I simply removed the old Velcro and sewed on the new strips. It took me about 10 minutes to fix and it was very easy.
Problem solved! The new Velcro works great.
Overall, I like the bag and would buy it again. Young children can be really tough on their things, so I don’t know if it was faulty Velcro or just excessive wear and tear. And now I know I can just replace the Velcro easily. I could even try sew-on snap buttons!
I hope this post was helpful, and thanks for reading! Let me know about your eco-friendly and plastic-free lunch solutions in the comments below!