Kick Takeout To The Curb With These 5 Sustainable Lunch Container Alternatives
By: Casha Doemland
It's 100% easier to eat out for lunch than to take the time to make or prep yours, especially when you find yourself tangling with the snooze button and getting ready for work in the morning. But what about the amount of waste that comes with your takeout? More often than not, it's packaged in plastic or styrofoam, and that means more waste bound for a landfill.
However, attitudes have started to change, as over 60 countries have introduced bans to on single-use plastics. According to National Geographic, "40 percent of plastic produced is packaging used just once and then discarded." Additionally, "nearly half of all plastic ever manufactured has been made since 2000." With less than a fifth of all plastic being recycled globally, it's time to start your own revolution against plastic by being conscious of the waste you produce.
To help you out, we created a list of 5 great reusable and plastic-free options that make packing up your leftovers or taking your lunch to work a great, guilt-free experience.
Reusable Cling Wraps
Plastic cling wrap and aluminum foil are useful when it comes to leftovers at the house because all you have to do is wrap things up or seal the bowl. However, both materials have a negative impact on the environment. Sure, aluminum foil can be rinsed and reused a few times, but to produce the stuff emits 12 tons of greenhouse gases. As for cling wrap, well, it's plastic.
Bee's Wraps are a reusable cotton cloth coated in beeswax that forms or seals with the warmth of your hands. This wrap can be used for up to a year, and composted at the end of its life or used as a firestarter for camping.
Of course, if you prefer to stay vegan-friendly, Wrappa uses candelilla, a shrub native to Mexico used to create wax and non-GMO soy instead of beeswax.
Reusable Ziplock Bags
The easiest way to pack a snack is in a Ziploc bag, and while Ziploc is currently seeking out a solution to upcycle the products, it doesn't change the fact that 1 trillion single-use plastic bags are used each year worldwide.
Do yourself, and the planet a favor by making a switch to Nordic By Nature, a reusable and eco-friendly bag made from cotton and food safe polyester. These bags are dishwasher safe and are sold in 4 varying sizes to help you pack your full lunch sustainably.
Compostable Resealable Bags
If you want the convenience of a Ziplock bag without the hassle of washing it, Reuseit has created a bag that's compostable at home or at an industrial compost facility. A plastic bag takes anywhere from 10-100 years to decompose, and that varies based on the conditions and thickness of the plastic, whereas the Reuseit bag can break down in as little as 24 weeks. Reuseit bags are made with TIPA, a transparent and durable bio-based film, and they’re one of the greenest bags available to consumers.
Stainless Steel Containers
The EcoLunchBox Three-in-One is essentially a bento box made of food grade stainless steel. This box is great for portion control or people who get weird about food touching aka brumotactillophobiacs. Live your life, but also know that it’s all ending up in the same place in a matter of minutes.
If you’re looking for something a little more high end, invest in the Tyffyn, the lunchbox that’s full of innovation. This stainless steel, copper coated container includes partitions and leakproof lids. Additionally, it’s sold with VacuTherm insulation that keeps your food hot or cold for 5-6 hours.
Bamboo Straws and Reusable Cups/Mugs/Tumblers
This last one goes out to all of our Starbucks addicts who NEED their Caramel Macchiato Frappuccino every day. No judgment that this is your favorite beverage (OK, maybe a little), the planet simply asks that you purchase a reusable tumbler equipped with its own straws.
Opt for Ted Baker's Tumbler & Straw in rose gold for your cold beverages, as it's double insulated steel that is sure to keep your drink colder longer. Think iced coffee is weird? Joco Glass Coffee Cup has you covered for the hot stuff.
Can’t live without straws? Invest in bamboo straws as they're reusable and often times biodegradable. Bambuho sells two sizes, short and long, in sets of 6 along with a brush to clean out your straws until you're ready to compost them.
LA-based and Georgia-bred, Casha Doemland spends her days crafting poetry and freelance writing. Over the last two years, she’s been published in a variety of publications and zines around the world. When she’s not nerding out with words, you can catch her watching a classic film, trekking around the globe or hanging out with a four-pound Pomeranian.