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How To Pack A Lunch Without Using Plastic

Tips to cut down on unnecessary plastic and other waste when you're brown-bagging it.

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Here's how to pack a more sustainable lunchbox for kids and adults. 
Here's how to pack a more sustainable lunchbox for kids and adults. 

Whether you’re trying to keep your kids away from the cafeteria food or need to stop splurging on those pricey cafe salads yourself, packing a homemade lunch is an easy and healthy alternative to eating out for lunch every day. But there can be a lot of waste involved, from the plastic sandwich bags for carrots and celery to the brown bag you pack it all up in. The good news is there are a lot of hacks to pack a more sustainable lunchbox for kids and yourself.

Though making sustainable swaps can sometimes seem intimidating, expensive or impractical, going eco-friendly doesn’t have to be so tough. There are actually a lot of easy ways to be less wasteful and plenty of affordable products out there that can help you get there. Case in point: These sustainable alternatives to plastic bags and alternatives to Ziploc bags cut out the biggest culprits of lunchtime waste: single-use plastic baggies. They also save you a lot of money in the long run.

Living more consciously and sustainably doesn’t have to be hard, and there are plenty of small lifestyle tweaks you can make to turn lunchtime into a low-waste meal. Below, we’ve rounded up some products that’ll get you there, most of which you can snag on Amazon. Consider scheduling them to arrive on your Amazon Day to cut down on separate shipments. It’s just one more way you make your everyday routine a bit better for the environment.

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1
An alternative to Ziploc bags to store sandwiches and snacks.
Amazon
These reusable and resealable bags are incredibly popular because they're freezer-safe, microwave-safe and dishwasher-friendly. Just be sure the kiddos bring them home after school. Find Stasher 100% Silicone Reusable Food Bags for $12 on Amazon.
2
Use a reusable food container instead of plastic bags.
Amazon
This five compartment bento-style food container is leakproof and dishwasher safe. Find the Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box for $28 on Amazon.
3
Skip the plastic food wrap for reusable food wraps.
Amazon
These reusable food wraps are made of beeswax-covered cotton cloth and can be used to store cut veggies, cheeses, bread and more. Just wash them in cool water (not hot because it'll melt the wax!), let them dry, and they're read to reuse again the next day. Find these Bee's Wrap Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps for $18 on Amazon.
4
A travel cutlery set, just for lunchtime.
Amazon
If you don't want to keep losing the spoons and forks from your at-home cutlery set, consider getting this bamboo travel set to live in your lunchbox. The kiddos will enjoy the fun of unpacking their own unique cutlery come lunchtime, and you'll love that they're not grabbing plastic ones from the cafeteria (or taking your silverware from home). Find this bamboo travel cutlery set on Amazon for $15.
5
Stock up on washable cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
HuffPost
Choose from over 40 fun prints and patterns of these cotton cloth napkins for kids. Find these GingerPie Lunchbox Small Kids Napkins for $13 on Amazon.
6
A reusable water bottle that looks more fun than a juice box.
Amazon
Ditch plastic water bottles, juice pouches and milk cartons for a funky reusable water bottle they'll be excited to use every day. Find this CamelBak Eddy 0.4-Liter Kids Water Bottle for $13 on Amazon.
7
Try a pre-portioned reusable food container instead of plastic bags.
Amazon
Keep your lunch fresh and perfectly portioned with this stainless steel bento box. Find the LunchBots Medium Trio Stainless Steel Food Container for $25 on Amazon.
8
Say bye to brown bags with a reusable lunch bag that'll keep foods cool all day.
Amazon
This super simple lunch bag has a zipper and handle, and it folds flat when not in use. Freeze it overnight and it'll keep your lunch cool all day long. It comes in a ton of fun prints and patterns suitable for kids and adults. Find this PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure for $20 on Amazon.
9
A everyday water bottle that's cute and easy to carry
Amazon
For older kids, we recommend this stylish reusable S'well bottle that'll keep water cold until the end of class. Swap out plastic water bottles and aluminum cans of seltzer for this instead. Find the S'well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle for $21 on Amazon.