Plastic-Free Lunch Packing Supplies for School

Written by:

Maia James

08/09/2017

Can you believe it’s already time to start thinking about back-to-school? I think some of you have may have even already started?! Talk about waaaaah!

In my kids’ public school in Brooklyn, teachers collect money at the beginning of the year to pay for supplies, which makes life easier for sure.

All I have to buy in anticipation of school this year (besides clothing) is lunch packing gear. Of course, this category of supplies can be confusing (as well as expensive!), especially if you’re like me and trying to avoid plastic.

Below is a curated list of the best plastic-free (or at least ALMOST plastic-free) lunch packing supplies I’ve found.

Eco-Friendly Lunch Box

Padded and insulated, this Petit Collage lunchbox easily wipes clean (I use these wipes), so it doesn’t get stinky and gross. The interior mesh pocket is perfect for holding utensils and ice packs. And it’s free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates.

Sandwich Wrap

Bee’s Wrap, made of beeswax and organic cotton, has been a revelation for our family–we no longer need plastic wrap! This genius sandwich wrap allows you to build a sandwich, fold in the corners and, and wrap the string around the wooden bee button. Bee’s Wraps can be washed and reused for years.

Bento Box

For kids who don’t want their foods to touch, a stainless steel bento box keeps lunch items separate. 

Stainless Cube

I love not having to worry about squished sandwiches when I use this stainless steel Solo Cube, which is also great for storing leftovers.

Insulated Thermos

When you’ve got picky kids like I do, you have to get creative with lunch-packing. How about oatmeal with chia seeds and a touch of maple syrup? Thermos’s Foogo container keeps foods warm (or cold) for lunchtime.

Silicone Snacker

These have been a go-to in our house for years. I fill them with berries, leftover pasta, or yogurt, and the cup collapses down when empty so it takes up very little room.

Ziplock Alternative

These patented, award-winning silicone bags are eco-friendly, environmentally safe, and long-lasting.

Foldable Spork

This spork features a deep bowl shape to make it easy to eat stews, but also tiny tines that can grab something like a carrot easily. The companion organic cotton pouch makes it easy to stow cleanly when on the go. 

Lunch Pod

My boys love these little pods in their lunch boxes. Usually, they will find shelled edamame or pistachios inside, but sometimes it’s something more exciting, like cookies or chocolates.

Snack Cubes

These cubes are the easiest way I have found to store small amounts of leftovers–they go straight into the fridge and then into a lunch box the next day (think fruit salad, guacamole, or roasted veggies). They also are a great way to store and freeze breastmilk; and for all of you wondering, my kids were weaned before they started kindergarten so no, I am not packing breastmilk into lunch boxes. 😉

All-In One

I haven’t splurged on this PlanetBox kit yet, but I see them around my neighborhood and am tempted! 

Straw & Sports Bottle

These are the only bottles we’ve had–one can take you all the way from infant to adult if you want it to (you simply switch out the top). For school-aged kids, I go for either the straw or the sport top (both of which are made of silicone, not plastic). 

Please feel free to share your own favorite lunch-packing supplies in the comments below!

Stay sane, and have a wonderful rest of your summer!

Maia, Founder & CEO

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Leave a Reply

  1. Roneet Avatar
    Roneet

    Thanks for this helpful list. I hear that Planet box bento boxes are great and safe/clean but their carry lunchbox isn’t. Any insight?

  2. Maia James Avatar
    Maia James

    Hi there! Unfortunately, Lunchskins are great for the environment, but I’m not convinced they are truly nontoxic. I love the Stasher for sandwiches: https://gimmethegoodstuff.org/store/stasher-reusable-silicone-bags/

  3. Grace Avatar
    Grace

    Hi Maia! Any recommendations on reusable sandwich bags? I’ve used Lunchskins in the past and liked them a lot, until they get scungy-looking, but wondered if there are any others you’ve vetted (besides Bee’s Wrap). Thank you!

  4. Meg Avatar
    Meg

    Hi Maia,
    I was wondering if you’ve ever had any issues with the pura straw top? I really love this bottle as does my son but recently I’ve had a lot of problems with the suction not working properly as in even I can’t get anything up the straw, nevermind my toddler. Only after a lot of fiddling with the straw or loostening the top does it work properly. I’m sure it would be great with the sport top but my son isn’t old enough for that yet.

    1. Julie Avatar
      Julie

      This happened to mine too, there was a spot on the rubber top where there was supposed to be a hole but it wasn’t punctured all the way through. I took a needle and poked it through and now the cup works way better!

      1. Meg Avatar
        Meg

        Julie,
        Are you talking about the 3 vent holds on the bottom rim of the top? Or is there another hole? I had already tried doing this on the vent holes but it only helped a little.

  5. Michelle Avatar
    Michelle

    Great list! I just came across U Konserve (http://www.ukonserve.com/) too. It seems like some of their products have potential as well.

  6. Isabella Avatar
    Isabella

    I wanted to love the bees wraps, but after first wash in soapy warm water with mild detergent (dr bronner) they were damaged. The coating started to peel off and they became sticky. I can’t use them. Maya how do you wash your bees wraps?

    1. Maia james Avatar
      Maia james

      Cool water is key!