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Plastic-Free Lunch Snacks

Our waste-free snack tin.

One of the most wasteful places, in my opinion, is the school lunchroom. Lots, and I do mean LOTS, of single-serve containers, wrappers, and packages.

Take fruit leather, for example. They usually come in a box, each fruit bar individually wrapped. The boxes cost $4 for eight. (Or about $.50 each.) Recently, I came upon the best alternative to individually wrapped snacks: Trader Joe’s Ends and Pieces. Basically, Trader Joe’s packages lots of those individually wrapped bars. The leftovers are now packaged up. It’s especially nice because you get plenty of different options — apricot, raspberry, passion fruit — in one bag. You can also pick the Fiberful Fruit leather ends, a nice option for people trying to add more fiber to their kid’s diet. And the eight ounce bag only costs $2.49. This is a huge bargain.

Okay, so I decided I was going to buy them and phase out the .7 ounce bars that cost $.69. (For those without a calculator: The bags provide about 12 bars worth or $8.28 worth of fruit leather.) But how would I send them in? I didn’t want to use plastic bags, obviously. But they are sticky. They would muck up my reusable bags. And then, this weekend, I found my solution in Whole Foods. Little, cute stainless steel containers called LunchBots. Pricey, yes, but SO perfect for what I needed it for. I bought one, and on our fourth day in I have no idea how I lived without LunchBots until now. (Full disclosure: The LunchBot people have no clue who I am; I paid $14.99 for my LunchBox. I just tend to get excited about things that help me help the environment.)

I love that it’s segmented into two sides, and the fact that it’s welded down all the way across so I can put wet stuff in and it won’t make the dry stuff slimy and gross. I love that it cleans up really quickly, and that it fits into our lunchbox side-by-side with a sandwich. Finally, I love it because it’s helping me cut down on waste and keep my kid BPA-free. The thing is made out of food-grade 18/8 stainless steel, which is what silverware is made of. Oh, and it’s really easy to wash. The manufacturer says it can go right into the dishwasher, but I’m just rinsing by hand every night. Seems to be working for me!

I recently looked around so I could buy one for Little Girl, and one for myself. I found the LunchBot Duo on Amazon.com for $14.99. I also found the sandwich-size LunchBot, too. Saves me a trip to Whole Foods, and I can use my American Express Blue points to pay for everything.

And so now, when the lunchroom trash gets put out, there are a few less pieces of plastic in it. No, it’s not going to make a huge dent in today’s trash heap, but if more moms and dads make the switch to reusable packaging we all have the ability to change the world. One fruit leather wrapper at a time.

This post is how I am participating this week in Real Food Wednesdays and Fight Back Fridays — two awesome campaigns to get people eating real food again.

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