Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lunch the Green Way

A Step Up: Innovative Lunch Boxes
By: Lauren Brostowitz  Earth911

Most of us are familiar with the notorious, resource-gobbling, brown paper lunch bag. But did you know that before metal lunch boxes and paper bags gained popularity, oiled goatskins were used to tote food? With recent advancements in lunch box design and functionality, and a growing emphasis to reduce one’s carbon footprint, it’s silly to pack like it’s the dark ages, be it goatskin or paper.
When used in place of a disposable paper bag, each reusable lunch box or bag has the potential to eliminate thousands of disposable bags over its lifetime, preserving natural resources, protecting the environment and saving you money in the process. So whether it’s back to school, back to work or simply enjoying a relaxing day in the park, the benefits of a high quality reusable far outweigh those outdated lunch packing methods of the past. Take a look below at some of our favorite innovations in lunch box technology and make the switch today.

 Get Insulated!

Research from the journal Pediatrics found that more than 90 percent of food packed by parents wasn't kept at safe temperatures, leaving children at risk for foodborne-illness. Lead-safe, vinyl/PVC-free insulated and thermal lunch boxes and bags help keep heat-sensitive food at safe temperatures for hours. Designs include built-in coolers (no ice pack necessary, just pop it in your freezer and wait) and bags made from a revolutionary material, Neoprene. Completely water and abrasion resistant, (there's a reason why it's the material of choice for  wetsuits), Neoprene’s insulating properties make it extremely lightweight and durable.

Made from Recycled Content

When it comes to sustainability, lunch boxes and bags made from recycled content help promote closed-loop systems in which resources consumed are then recycled and repurposed, helping to reduce the consumption of raw materials. Consider that one ton of paper from recycled pulp saves 17 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 7000 gallons of water, 4200 kilowatt hours (enough to heat your home for half year), 390 gallons of oil, and prevents 60 pounds of air pollutants. From recycled PET (post-consumer recycled plastic) to organic and recycled cotton, you can rest assured that your lunch box or bag fulfills the three R’s - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Stainless Steel Tiffins

The saying, “Why fix what isn’t broken” holds true for stainless steel tiffins. Used widely for centuries in India, tiffin carriers or dabbas are a kind of lunch box that typically come in two to three-tiers. Tiffin carriers are opened by unlocking a small catch on either side of the handle, then removing the individual containers, making packing multiple dishes in one carrier easy and mess-free. Made from high-quality, non-leaching stainless steel, tiffins will not impart taste or odors, or leach toxins into its contents, and it’s recyclable.

 Bento Boxes

Bento boxes, modeled after traditional bento box containers, have been used in Japanese culture for centuries to pack single-portion takeout meals.  Updating this classic design, popular bento boxes today integrate the old with the new, offering removable containers and separators that let you pack different dishes in a single reusable container. No baggies, wraps, or disposable packaging needed. Bento boxes are an excellent way to build and transport tidy nutritious meals for adults or children. Typically made from BPA free polyethylene, polypropylene or copolyester, Bento Box style lunch boxes are guaranteed to be dishwasher safe and are FDA-approved for food use.

Go Reusable!

It has been estimated that a person taking a disposable lunch to school will spend an average of $4.02 per day or $723.60 per school year. A person who packs a waste-free lunch will spend about $2.65 a day or $477.00 per school year. That equates into about $250 in savings per person/year.
Replace paper lunch bags today with a high-quality reusable lunch box or lunch bag from and start saving today!

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