When it comes to packing a waste-free school lunch you’ve got three options.
2. Buy a complete waste-free lunch kit. These kits usually cost $40-$70 but tend to be overall easier and a better deal than option two (see below). The downside is usually the storage and water bottle. Some waste-free lunch kits come with excellent food storage and a good water bottle. MANY however, come with terrible plastic water bottles and limited food storage. That said, it’s usually cheaper to add a decent reusable water bottle and a few reusable snack baggies to a complete kit than to buy all the stuff separately.
3. Buy a lunch bag or box + buy extra components. A good eco-friendly lunch bag + components can cost as much and often more than a ready-made kit. Plus these take some time to put together. The upside is you get killer components, like a decent stainless steel water bottle and just the right food storage for you child.
Since I consider a good complete lunch kit an easier green choice for green families, we’re going to look at some waste-free lunch kit choices first. Coming soon, I’ll post JUST lunch boxes and bags, plus gear you’ll need to purchase to go along with it.
NOTE: BTW, I’m not going to repeat myself over and over, by saying, “No BPA, no lead, etc.” But be aware if you see a lunch kit posted below, that means I did look it up and the company claims that the lunch kit is toxic free. You should review the kit carefully before you buy though.
The best reusable, waste-free lunch kit choices IMO have one thing in common – excellent food storage and a good water bottle. I think packaging plastic water bottles with an eco-friendly lunch box is very poor planning on the company’s part. Plastic doesn’t keep stuff as chilly, doesn’t last as long as stainless steel plus adds weird taste to liquids.
That said, the following waste-free lunch kits are, in my opinion, your best options.
This kit comes with a cute reusable, recycled cotton sack, cloth napkin, a 304 food-grade stainless steel beverage bottle, food kozy and two 304 food-grade stainless steel food containers. Three cool designs shown below.
6-piece designer lunch kit for stowing and serving food on the go. Contents store compactly inside bowl and lid
Includes: 1 lid/plate, 1 plate/bowl, 1 SnapBox original, 1 SnapBox oval, 1 Spork original, and 1 Harness. The waterproof SnapBoxes have tight-fitting, snap-lock lids, while the spork is an original all-in-one utensil that won’t scratch cookware. BPA-free; Polypropylene will not soften at higher temperatures; dishwasher and microwave safe. Comes in a slew of beautiful colors. Downside – you’ll need to buy a water bottle.
This lunch kits comes with an insulated fabric carrier, a five-compartment food container and a stainless steel bottle. However, it looks tricky and a little small. I’m not an expert, but in my honest guesstimate, Cedar’s lunch would be a total mess in this lunch kit. I don’t like the idea of zero separated (by lids) containers. Now, if you have a kid that Bento-style works for, this could be a great pick, since it even comes with a stainless steel water bottle.
Two other good things about the Go Green lunch kit is that it has turn ‘n lock technology to ensure that your child’s lunch stays fresh and tons of really cool carry case designs to choose from (shown above).
Comes with insulated bag with a handle, a translucent midnight blue bento lunch box with 5 containers and 3 leak-proof lids and an ice pack with a cute alien design. This lunch bag is fully insulated, has multiple compartments and comes with a handle that makes it easy to carry. Kit also comes with matching ice pack that fits perfectly in the inner mesh pocket. Food Safe – No Lead, BPA, phthalates. Downside – you’ll need to buy a water bottle.
Alas, no water bottle here either, but this lunch kit does have 5 practical compartments portioned for a child’s appetite (Recommended for ages 3-7). Leak-proof technology that keeps meals and snacks fresh and mess-free – includes two kid-friendly latches that are easy to open and close. Microwave and dishwasher-safe removable tray. Made of food-grade safe, FDA-approved, and BPA-free materials – includes an industry-leading 2 Year Warranty.
Bad plastic water bottle aside, Laptop lunch kits reduce waste, have decent storage and even come with a users guide. Plus, kids LOVE these. Every kid I’ve met who has one thinks it’s pretty cool. Each 2.0 kit comes with the food case which contains 5 removable food containers (3 with lids, 2 without lids), stainless steel utensils, plastic water bottle and User’s Guide.
- Laptop Lunch Bento Alien
- Laptop Lunch Flower-Print
- Laptop Lunch Passion Pink
- Laptop Lunch Berry Blue
5. New Wave Enviro Products – Lunchopolis Lunch Box – I like these except for the plastic water bottle. I think the bags are very cute, without being TOO cute for an older kid. Each kit comes with a 15 oz plastic water bottle plus 4 reusable color coordinated food containers.
Blue is available now, but I hear that very soon, Lunchopolis Lunch Boxes in brown or pink will also be available.
In the kit you get the box, one 19 ounce food container with two separate, removable trays that hold about 9 ounces each, two 6 ounce containers, one 1 ounce container, one 8 ounce drink bottle (choose from screw-on top or sippy style) and one ice pack.
Lunch Sense goes beyond most companies by offering excellent consumer help for choosing a lunch box size (small, medium or large) right down to pictures of a lunch (as shown above). Many colors available.
7. Waste Free Lunch Kit – this kit from EverydayJun includes a neoprene messenger style, lunch bag with a removable front panel, an “origami-esque” food container and a coordinating beverage bottle and spork.