I can’t believe it’s already time to head back to school! While you are out shopping be sure not to forget about the kid’s lunches. There are so many stylish yet practical eco friendly options. Therefore, there is no excuse for paper bags and plastic baggies! It is slightly more expensive at first to purchase these but it will SAVE you money in the long run and it will keep these items out of our landfills. You will feel great about saving money and the environment. It is crazy to think that every year each family could save THOUSANDS of plastic baggies, drink boxes and more from the landfills. On that note, if you do use drink boxes, Honest Kids has a program where you send in the used drink containers and they are recycled. You can link your school to the return and earn money for your school. WIN WIN. We posted my blog about green back to school items at this same time last year. I am happy to say that there are many more options available this year now that green is the new black! I will give you a few of my old favorites and some new items I have found. Of course, your laptop lunches and bento boxes are still a great option but some of these pieces below are just so smarty with some flair. Like I said, the options are abundant now but just keep in mind to look for BPA free, PVC and phthalate free and of course 100% lead free.
Okay, now onto the lunch bag. I bought Crocodile Creek bags last year and loved them. They were cute, lead free, PVC free and had tons of room. I would recommend Crocodile Creek, Mimi the Sardine and the Munchlers backpacks by Built. The Mimi the Sardine bags are made in the USA and have adorable car or flower designs. They are PVC and lead free. The Munchlers bags have really fun tiger, dog and bunny themes. I also love the kids lunch boxes from the NYC based Dante Beatrix. Check out the shark and the lady bug design. Very cute! They also have backpacks and suitcases.
Kids Konserve sells a green lunch kit with cool designs that include a reusable lunch sack, reusable sandwich bag, stainless steel bottle and cloth napkin. This is one of the more affordable options. They have insulated lunch bags and cloth bags.
You really have to love the Reusable Bags website. It is pretty much a one stop option to purchase your new green items. You can find your lunch boxes, such as Mimi the Sardine and the Munchlers here. You will also find Wrap N Mats, snack bags, drink bottles, reusable bags (of course) and much more here. You will also find The Soft Landing to be very helpful in finding safe AND eco friendly items for meal times.
Okay, I am moving on to the sandwich bags and snack bags. I love the following site for adorable reusable snack and sandwich bags. Plum Creek Mercantile has a variety of options. They also sell lunch kits, storage bags, laundry bags and more.
Wrap N Mats are great for sandwiches! They fold over the sandwich and are secured with a Velcro tab to keep in place. It will fold out and serve as a placemat as well. The site also sells snack bags with a similar concept. My friend Debbie gave me a heads up and said they are available through One Step Ahead if you already need to order something from there. If you can’t wait to order yours then head over to Miss Monkee’s Boutique in the Black Lion off of Park Road Extension. The owner, Ashley, has a stock pile of them in a fabulous array of colors and prints. She has just opened a second location at the Black Lion in Huntersville as well!
Yet, another great option……,3 Green Moms Reusable Sandwich and Snack bags. These bags are manufactured in Germany and sewn in the USA. Definitely a must see.
I don’t know about you all, but I love Estsy. My only issue is that sometimes I get totally overwhelmed and feel like I have ADD because I want to look at EVERYTHING on site but never have any time. But of course, I was able to find reusable snack bags on Etsy! I found a few sellers whose designs I really enjoyed. The names are Sustainable Homestead, Waste Not Saks and Moja Creations. Moja Creations makes a sandwich mat that is like a Wrap N Mat but called a Wrap a Long.
Check out Snack Taxi for some more reusable options. I also found a fun reusable drink bottle that I have my eye on, Eco Usable Water Bottle – These are great stainless steel water bottles that have a wide neck to allow you to dump some ice cubes in to have really cold water! Buy a sports cap accessory so you can send in your child’s lunch box. I still use our Klean Kanteens all the time, as well as our Siggs but if we need new ones soon I will get these or the Crocodile Creek bottles.
Last but not least, don’t forget your reusable cloth napkins. Fabkins is a splendid choice but you can always do your own as well. You can take a large adult sized cloth napkin and cut it down to a kid’s size so that it will not take up too much room in the lunch box.
If you would like to buy locally then here are some places I found that carry the items mentioned above. I was at Earth Fare recently and saw a bunch of reusable lunch accessories. There were Bento boxes, lunch bags and much more. You can find the reusable Crocodile Creek steel drink cups that Jen recently blogged about at Toys and Co. in Cotswold for $10. Bedford Falls Toy store has the Crocodile Creek lunch boxes.
I am sure there are other stores carrying these so if you have seen any then give all Smarties a heads up and leave a comment. Also remember to bring the fundraising idea to the attention of the director of your preschool. Fabkins, Wrap N Mat, 3 Green Moms and Kids Konserve all participate in fundraisers for your school. I have friends out west who have done it and it has been a great success. Thanks for reading!