*UPDATE: As of 2012, Citizenpip, sadly, appears to have gone out of business.
Review summary: Back in August 2009 Cedar got the Citizenpip Eat Soup to Nuts Waste-free Lunch Kit. $55 may seem like a lot for a lunch box (even an entire kit) so the most important question is… did it hold up for the entire school year? Keep reading to find out.
Product: Eat Soup to Nuts Waste-free Lunch Kit from Citizenpip.
Use: All-in-one reusable lunch kit. Eliminates the massive waste caused by school lunches.
Cost: It depends. The typical price for the Soup to Nuts Kit is $55. However, Citizenpip often sends out special deals if you sign up for their email newsletter at their website.
The Citizenpip Soup to Nuts kit comes with…
- An insulated lunch bag
- Nametag + carabiner
- 18.5 oz stainless steel water bottle
- Stainless steel insulated food jar
- Four BPA-free airtight food containers
- One stainless steel fork + spoon set
- Five 100% cloth cotton napkins
The lunch bag is currently available in three fun designs; Eat (shown at top of post), Tasty and Yum . I LOVE the cute Tasty design, but knowing Cedar, I opted to get him the less flashy Eat design.
Lunch kit perks:
- This lunch kit eliminates disposables entirely. The average school-age child generates 67 pounds of waste per school year if he eats a disposable lunch. That’s 18,760 pounds of lunch waste created each year at just one average-sized elementary school.
- Citizenpip products are toxin free – meaning 100% lead-free, BPA-free, PVC-free and phthalates-free.
- Products are lab tested and exceed FDA and CPSIA standards.
- Both the water bottle and insulated food jar are made of 304 food grade single wall stainless steel with polypropylene
- The fork and spoon are made with 18/0 food grade stainless steel plus high impact polystyrene plastic handles.
- Citizenpip gives money back to your school through their school program.
Are there any eco-problems?
- The insulated lunch bag is made of non-woven polypropylene, a plastic fabric and aluminum. The polyethylene aspect poses a problem as it can be very difficult to find a recycling center that accepts polyethylene. For example, the Earth 911 Local Recycling Directory has four times as many listings that accept plastic #1 than those that take plastic #5. On the upside polyethylene holds up well and is muck free.
- The lunch bag and fork + spoon set are made in Taiwan and all other products are made in China. The company notes, “Our company has personally visited each of our manufacturer’s facilities and can confirm that the products are responsibly made in a safe working environment.” But of course local is better because there’s less chance of problems related to Fair Trade and sweatshops.
- The napkins are not organic cotton, which would be an easy fix. However, in terms of cloth napkins I think the reusable aspect outweighs the organic issue. For example, I’d rather you use conventional cotton cleaning towels than even recycled paper towels. Reuse is massively eco-friendly.
The year-long lunch kit experience:
After having this lunch kit for the entire year we found many things we liked about this lunch kit and very few cons. Following are some of the aspects we loved…
- Cedar liked the design!!! This might not sound like much to you, but this child of mine is soooooo picky. Last August I was sure we’d never find a lunch box design he’d actually carry.
- At first I was worried about two things – limited space and the zipper. Cedar eats a lot during the day and because his diet is highly plant based, we need lots of room for assorted veggies and fruits in his bag. This kit surprised us by having ample room to pack not only a full kid-sized lunch but a couple of snacks too. Note; Cedar carries his water bottle though, it doesn’t go in the bag. Also that old zipper is still working great which honestly surprised me. I did not expect it to still be working after a year of use.
- The bag never looked dirty. I can count on one hand how many times I had to wipe this lunch bag down. I have no idea why, it just seems to slack off dirt and grime.
- The bag is insulated and even with all the food packed in there it still fits a small ice pack if needed. For a normal, not blazing hot day though, you don’t need the ice pack. This lunch kit keeps food nice and cold. The insulated container keeps food warm as well, but we rarely used it.
- All the BPA-free containers are in great shape. The lids are still tight and leak free and in good working order. Additionally neither the insulated container or water bottle leaked. Cedar is a bouncy boy too, so leak-proof is a big deal.
There were a couple of problems…
The worst thing about this lunch kit turned out to be the iffy insulated food jar (see above). There are these little holes in the bottom of the insulated food jar that capture water. I could hear it swishing around in there all the time and there’s no way to get it out. On top of that Cedar said he didn’t like the sound of the spoon scraping on the inside of the jar (I know weird) but he’s never complained about this kind of thing before so… He literally refused to use it as a soup or pasta container, but would use it for crackers.
Because of the water issue, we recycled this container around March. I didn’t like the idea of Cedar carrying around all that standing icky water stuck in the base. IF you get this kit, I’d be very careful about how you wash this container. I wouldn’t put it in the dishwasher, for example, because I’m pretty sure that’s how the base filled with water.
The other problem with this kit is that the water bottle is too small for Cedar’s water intake. Cedar is a water freak, so what he does is carry his bigger 27 oz water bottle with water in it, and uses the Citizenpip bottle if he wants to take an extra drink; say organic juice.
4 out of 5 little trees. In spite of some cons, I highly recommend this Citizenpip reusable lunch kit. Not only did Cedar like this lunch kit, but it lasted all year long, even though Cedar gave this lunch kit more than its fair share of bouncing about. Plus, not only did this lunch kit get us through this school year, but I’m guessing it’ll take us all the way through summer camp this year and quite possibly into the next school year too.
Because this lunch kit eliminates disposables and has a long life span, it’s also an excellent value. With this lunch kit you won’t need to buy plastic baggies, paper lunch sacks, extra food containers, expensive juice boxes or disposable utensils or napkins – all of which is not only hard on the budget but super hard on the planet too. If you consider a year of use, this lunch kit only costs about $5 a month – you’d spend way more on disposables.
All in all, we think the Citizenpip Soup to Nuts Reusable Lunch Kit is outstanding.
- EAT Soup to Nuts Waste-free Lunch Kit
- TASTY Soup to Nuts Waste-free Lunch Kit
- YUM Soup to Nuts Waste-free Lunch Kit