‘They say that one child makes 60 pounds of lunch trash per year,” exclaimed pal Bernice as she bagged sandwiches for her kids’ school lunches.
“Imagine the amount of plastic a school throws away yearly,” I added. “And the amount of money we moms spend on that stuff. Time to look into some reusable sandwich bags.”
The next day I went online and found some on MightyNest (mighty
nest.com; 847-905-0567). I called, and a saleslady filled me in on some of their top sellers.
“I would say that our best seller for the sandwich wraps are called SnackTaxi,” she offered. “That’s the brand made in Massachusetts. They come in two different sizes, a snack size [$7.95 each] and a sandwich size [$8.95 each] and are made with cotton on the outside and a food-safe nylon on the inside. They’re like pouches, with a small band of Velcro that holds it together, so you store your sandwiches or snacks inside. I am going on three years with the same one. Very durable.”
SnackTaxi recommends cleaning the bags in the washing machine. “I actually put mine in the dishwasher,” the saleslady said, “or wipe them out. If it’s a particularly gooey sandwich that you pack, we recommend a reusable sandwich container made of stainless steel called a Lunch Bot.” The divided-compartment Duo Stainless Steel Food Container runs $17.95.
Another reusable sandwich bag is handsewn here in San Diego: Semilla Wrap. “Semilla uses an organic cotton on the outside and a food-safe nylon on the inside, and their design opens up to a circular placemat. So, when you undo your sandwich you also have a plate or placemat where you can put your sandwich [$9.95].”
The label in the SnackTaxi package read, “Each reusable bag you use keeps as many as 1000 plastic bags out of the waste stream.”
A third option: “LunchSkins,” said the saleslady, “are a pouch style made out of a material that’s like a pastry bag — the material they use in bakeries — so, it’s a food-grade material.” And dishwasher-safe. The pouch has a fold-over flap with Velcro and a spot on the front flap for names to be written. “Some of the companies keep with similar patterns, but Semilla and SnackTaxi have rotating patterns, anywhere from skateboarders to floral designs to cars.”
Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market (obpeoplesfood.com; 619-224-1387) carries an assortment of machine-washable Semilla snack bags: pink girly robots, blue robots, yellow and green guitars, pink and yellow flowers. The Chiquita Snack Bag, a small bag with Velcro across the inside top, runs $5.75. A matching two-pack — two different sizes — runs $12.95. A larger-sized wrap that opens up to a placemat costs $7.69.
Pottery Barn Kids, in the Westfield UTC mall, is selling the LunchSkins in sandwich and snack sizes. The designs, all dishwasher-safe, range from butterflies to blue camouflage to my personal favorite, a black-and white-snake pattern ($10.00–$12.50) (potterybarnkids.com). For the leaky tuna sandwich, they offer stainless-steel options. One that caught my eye is the Stainless Nesting Trio: a set of three round stainless steel containers with colored recyclable plastic lids ($29).
Chinaberry, in Spring Valley (chinaberry.com; 800-776-2242), offers a two-pack SnackTaxi in marbled green and blue ($15.95). They also offer ReUsies Sandwich and Snack Pack in a pink and brown bird design or solid blue. ReUsies feature the pouch style with Velcro fold-over and can go through the washer and dryer, though they recommend turning them inside out first and securing the Velcro. After a few cleans in the washing machine, they can then be cleaned with the dishwasher ($15.95 for the two-pack).
Chinaberry’s website informs, “The EPA estimates that one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. If that’s not enough to ruin your day, each plastic bag takes over 1000 years to break down. They do not biodegrade, they photodegrade, meaning that over time, they break down into smaller, more toxic petropolymers. Less than 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled, and it costs more to recycle a plastic bag than to produce a new one.”