When it comes to packing an eco-friendly packed school lunch you’ve got three options. Two, we’ve already looked at. You can purchase a ready-made lunch kit – see 12 Reusable Waste-Free Lunch Kit Choices, or you can make your own waste-free lunch kit.
The last option is to purchase an eco-friendly lunch bag or box and then buy extra components to round it out. A downside of this route is that a good eco-friendly lunch bag + components can cost as much and often more than a ready-made kit and takes time to put together. The major pro of this option is that you get exactly the best lunch-time accessories – since you’re making all the choices.
If you want to assemble your own reusable lunch kit, first you’ll need the lunch bag (or box). When looking for a lunch bag or box, look first of all, for bags that will last a long time. A long life is very eco-friendly. After that aim for PVC-free and eco-friendly materials, like recycled content bags or organic cotton. Check out these reusable lunch bag choices below and later I’ll be back with the other accessories you’ll need to fill up your DIY lunch kit.
- Mimi the Sardine Coated Organic Cotton Lunch Bug features water-based acrylic-coated organic cotton fabric; machine wash and dry. Many cute designs to choose from.
- Equinox Organic Cotton Lunch Bag is a nice simple bag made with organic cotton and hemp detail. The only downside with basic bags like this is they don’t insulate well.
- Columbia Cool Creek Lunch Bucket comes in three color choices and has a front slip pocket, interior mesh pocket, padded carry handle, attachable swing clip and other great features.
- Fluf lunch bags are made with 100% certified organic cotton with a removable vinyl lining; BPA-free, also free of phthalates and lead and a strong Velcro closure too. These bags come in cute robot and chirp or ABC and lunch styles for little kids or
- Crocodile Creek’s Solar System Lunchbox has insulated lining to keep food fresh plus extra padding to prevent food from getting crushed.
- BUILT makes many lunch bags, such as the large, picnic-sized BUILT Gourmet Getaway or the Munchler Lunch Bag. BUILT offers lots of designs to choose from, lead-free and food safe.
- Reuseit Recycled Insulated Lunch Bags are coming soon and are feature rich. This recycled, insulated lunch bag has an adjustable strap, a zippered outer pocket and it’s Bluesign-certified, (i.e. there’s a low environmental impact during manufacturing). Rolls up for easy storage when not in use. 100% lifetime guarantee against defects in materials or construction.
- If you go with Citizenpip, it makes more sense to buy an entire reusable lunch kit, but you can just get the Citizenpip Insulated Lunch Bag, if you so choose. These bags are toxin-free and last forever (read my review) and beyond the skull design shown above, come in Polkadot, Sport or Patchwork .
- Ju Ju Be Belicious Eco – Friendly Lunch Tote is an easy to clean bag that’s anti-microbial with a zip out bottom compartment plus insulation inside and a detachable shoulder strap. Many designs to choose from.
- Cute Dabbawalla lunch bags are CPSIA-certified and lead and PVC-free plus made with Oeko-Tex 100 dyes. Way adorable designs for young kids.
- Fleurville Lunch Pack comes with closed-cell insulation throughout the entire body of the bag that works as an insulator and a nice project pocket outside the bag as well. Different designs available.
- The Four Peas Insulated Lunch Bag features an interior mesh pocket, unique square design zips around three sides, and insulation helps retain the right temperature for hot or cold foods. PVC and lead-free, also free of phthalates & BPA (certified CPSIA compliant). Come in designs for girls too.
- Bazura Lunch Bags are made using recycled juice packs by a women’s co-op in the Philippines. Each is 100% unique.
- BlueAvocado Insulated Reusable Collapsible Lunch Tote – Great for teens, this attractive lunch tote holds several sizes of food storage containers and has easy-wipe PVC-free lining that keeps food hot or cold for 3 hours. Different designs available.
- Skip Hop Zoo Lunchies are roomy, insulated bags with a large main compartment big enough for sandwich, apple and juice box plus interior mesh pocket for utensils, lunch money and more. PVC-free and many adorable styles available.
- Rebel Green’s distressed retro prints on their cool lunch bags are perfect for older kids and teens, made of organic cotton and non-toxic inks in the USA.
- GreenSmart’s colorful lunch box is made of NeoGreene, a stretchy, insulating fabric that is free of VOC’s and other toxins and has a more environmentally-friendly manufacturing process than other stretchy materials.
Coming up – the other accessories you’ll need for a DIY reusable lunch kit.