Brown (or aqua with cherries) bagging it

Today's lunch

I figured I’d take the momentum of having a new reusable lunch bag, and see what else I could do to reduce the waste involved in lunching away from home.  First thing I did was make myself a set of Lunch Box Napkins like I have for my kids.  Theirs are lemons, but I made mine cherries – to match the bag, natch.

I spent some time flipping through books and searching online to find eco-friendly items I could make to hold my sandwich and a crunchy snack, but after a couple of hours, I came to the conclusion that my best option is to continue using the Ziploc (or is it Glad?) containers I already own.

That’s not what a crafty girl wants to conclude! I had visions of sewing something in a fun red & white stripe. Or, better yet, polka dots!  But, alas, it seems it is not meant to be.  Here’s a sampling of what I found:

The book Sewing Green (fabulous book, btw) has a project for a sandwich wrap using polyurethane laminated fabric, also known as PUL.  I considered that as a possibility, but the comments on this post had people questioning the food-safe-ness of PUL.

So then I read about this nifty snack bag project which uses ripstop nylon as a liner.  Also a promising project, until the safety of nylon came into question in the comments there.

I poked around the internet all afternoon and never found confirmation either way on those two types of fabric.  Nor did I find a miracle fiber that could keep air away from food and be unquestionably safe at the same time.  I’m no scientist, and so it’s hard to know how many of the warning voices are completely paranoid, and how many are legitimately concerned.  So I opted not to splurge on any questionable material, money being tight and all.  These days I have to be absolutely sure about something before I’ll spend my pennies on it.

The cute factor of my Ziploc/Glad containers leaves a lot to be desired, but they are free of BPA and phthalates, and approved by the FDA for use with food.  This means I have no qualms about using them to hold a sandwich and a handful of pretzels for a few hours.  Plus I already own them.  Looks like I’ll be sticking with ugly-but-functional for the time being.  The good news is, aside from the soda can, my lunches are trash-free.  (Not sure I’ll be able to pry that Dr. Pepper out of my soda-lovin’ fingers any time soon, but I probably should try…)

So how about you?  Anything creative and green about the way you pack your lunches? Any ideas for adding more creative touches to my own lunch bag?

P.S. The giveaway is still going on until Sunday.  If you’d like a chance to win Martha’s new sewing book, be sure to leave a comment on that post and put yourself in the running!

P.P.S. I’ve been playing with the sidebar again, and in doing so changed around the advertising layout and choices a bit.  If you would like your business or blog to be featured here for a week or more, and not have to compete with others through the Project Wonderful ad auction, there’s now an option for that.  Take a look.

12 thoughts on “Brown (or aqua with cherries) bagging it

  1. I make sandwich wrappers out of fabric and line them with ripstop COTTON. It is a bit sturdy, washable, etc… Everyone asks my kids at school about them. Won’t work for a salad though….

  2. I wrap my daughters sandwich in a cloth napkin within her lunch bag (which is like yours but commercially made and with a zip) and she has no trouble with it :) I do use little boxes like you for soft fruit though as her bag gets swung around a lot!

    • And the sandwich stays fresh wrapped just in a napkin? I don’t really care for crusty bread – I like it to stay nice and soft.

  3. I have an EcoLunchbox that I ordered from One Small Step (www.reusablelunchware.com ) for $20. It is stainless steel boxes that clamp together (their site is http://www.ecolunchboxes.com). It works great for a sandwich in the bottom box and salad/ cookies/ chips in the top box/s. I also have a reusable sandwich wrap that can be used as a baggie too (www.moocowmamma.com). I work 12 hour shifts and between these 2 items, I have plenty of food.

  4. There are some reasonable uses of plastic, especially when it’s protecting something like food or medications, that might otherwise become harmful or unpalatable. (Food poisoning is no joke; and if you store the food badly and end up just throwing it away instead, it’s just a different kind of waste.) You’re not heating food in the plastic, and you’re not pitching the plastic after a single use. So, to me, it looks like you’re being mindful and using plastic in appropriate ways.
    .-= See Penny’s latest blog post: Mocha Antlers Hat =-.

  5. I just found your blog whilst looking for cherry fabric! Love the lunch bag and napkins. I’ve been planning to make some napkins myself! I was wondering if you happened to remember where you found the fabric for the napkins and the fabric for the lunch bag and/or what brand and pattern they are.
    Thanks so much!!

    • The lunch bag fabric was from an Etsy shop called Country Oilcloth.
      The fabric is from a collection called Elsie’s Kitchen by Anna Griffin, but it’s at least three years old and seems to be out of print. I’ve seen a lot of other cherry patterns on eBay, though.
      Hope this helps!

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