In the morning, your child lines up outside of their classroom, with their school gear ready. New shoes, their clothes freshly washed and picked out from the night before, and their backpack is full, carrying homework to anxiously and proudly hand to the teacher. But what about their school lunch box? It carries the food they eat, which means it can leach chemicals into their food if it's not made from the right materials. What about their backpack, that they carry on their back and unload it after their arrival. What about the crayons they use throughout the day, or the school glue they get all over their hands during art? What about the VOC exposure from the permanent markers they use? We cannot control everything in the realm of nontoxic living. However, we can make better choices to decrease our toxic load over time, because its all about accumulation. This article will break down a few of my favorite,eco-friendly options for school supplies, so let's get shopping!
Insulated lunch boxes are often the largest concern of parents, why?
Because they typically have three barriers against temperature change. It consists of an outer layer, constructed from materials like nylon or neoprene. The second layer often contains foam, which acts as the insulator. The most inner layer, is most likely made from foil or plastic.
Why are lunch bags harmful if they aren't made from the right materials?
Because they can be made with harmful chemicals like lead and even PVC, and if they are plastic this exposes your child and their food to phthalates, lead, and even BPA.
What about backpacks?
They are often made from PVC and contain lead. Who thought eco-friendly back to school gear could be so difficult to find? There are so many lunch bags and backpacks out there, it's hard to filter out the good ones. Read below for a few of my favorite brands, which will put you at ease knowing they're constructed from safe materials!
Backpacks & Lunch Gear
PlanetBox has 3 stainless steel lunch containers: Rover Lunchbox, Launch, and Shuttle. They vary in capacity based on how much food they carry. These will last you forever! You can even throw them in the dishwasher. Score!!!! Planetbox has lots of goodies for back to school, they even carry stainless steel water bottles, which have no lining, or plastic. Best of all, they have reusable snack bags.
These lunch bento boxes are 100% steel, and made in India. They are free from PVC, phthalates, lead, vinyl, or BPA. Easily enough, you can throw them in the dishwasher when they need a deep clean. The food can even be reheated in these metal containers over a stove. They also have great tie-string reusable lunch bags.
This company is also one of my favorites. They sell ice packs and even backpacks for toddlers and grade school children. Their eco-friendly lunch bags are adorable, and all their products are made from raw linen and cotton, making them PVC, Phthalate, Lead and BPA Free. They are even washable! My favorite new release is their collection of cases for pencils and accessories.
This fabulous company even makes backpacks and water bottles that are made from eco-friendly materials. Their products have no PVC, phthalates, lead, vinyl, or BPA. Buy their products direct from them and they cost anywhere from $20 lunch boxes to $30 backpacks (in matching colors!).
WIldkin Lunch Bags and Backpacks (They even have luggage!)
These lunch bags are fun and full of glitter! If you have a child that loves bold prints, glitter, etc. these bags are the way to go. These are made with polyester, but in the realm of toxin free bags, these are the least toxic backpacks you will find with bold prints, besides Pottery Barn. With this company, eco-friendly doesn't always have to look that way. They are shockingly lead-safe, BPA-free and phthalate-free. Their backpacks are adorbs too!! This company doesn't sacrifice style for non-toxic living. The only caveat about these products, is they are classified as "lead safe", not lead free.
These reusable sandwich and snack bags are amazing! I use them daily in my lunch, and even for my toddler's snacks. They can even hold cut fruit, because they are washable. Proceeds from their orders go toward protecting the ocean from plastic pollution. They are BPA, phthalate, and lead free. They even carry eco-friendly food storage options that are paper with cute prints, and also reusable ones. Here's the caveat about Lunchskins reusable snack bags - according to their fact page, they are "made from a proprietary quick drying fabric that is coated with a food-safe polyurethane liner. This unique high-quality fabric was originally manufactured for pastry bags used in bakeries, restaurants and home kitchens. Additionally, LunchSkins are grease-proof and moisture proof making them ideal for messy sandwiches and snacks". Yes, it's a better solution to those awful and totally overused plastic bags- but if you aren't comfortable with the fabric, perhaps paper bags are the way to go? See below for organic options.
Because these bags are made from organic cotton, they are independently tested and certified to be free of BPA, phthalates and heavy metals. The organic cotton exterior is printed with water-based, AZO-free inks, and the water-resistant lining is tested food-safe. They even have some linked on Amazon!
Other Snack Bag Options:
These organic cotton reusable bags, handmade on Etsy.
Or these organic cotton snack bags, also handmade on Etsy.
Pencils & Colored Pencils
Markers & Glue
The Best Hand Sanitizers for Back to School
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