Lunch skins reduce waste and save lunch

Thursday is Blog Action Day and this year’s topic is Climate Change. As a result, I’ve been thinking about green organizing and uncluttering advice that will be applicable to the topic. Obviously, living an uncluttered life is better for the environment than living a life of excess and materialism. However, I’ve been searching for specific recommendations that I can give beyond the general.

One green solution that a friend recently brought to my attention is Lunch Skins. They’re reusable sandwich and snack bags:

The bags are dishwasher safe, food safe, and resistant to grease and moisture (no need to worry about your jelly leaking out of the bag). Plus, they come in many fun patterns. Lunch Skins aren’t great for long-term storage of foods in the freezer, but they are are perfect for lunchboxes and snacks when you’re on the go. Reducing your waste when you can is greener than doing nothing at all.

37 Comments for “Lunch skins reduce waste and save lunch”

  1. posted by Amy on

    I love these! Thank you for posting them. I take my lunch to work every day and try to use plastic containers for everything. Which is fine except they get a little bulky and sometimes I can’t fit everything in my lunch box because they take up so much space. These bags would be a great alternative.

  2. posted by Celeste on

    $9 apiece…you would need several in case you want to wash them after every use, so you would always have a dry one for your sandwich etc.

    I have a collection of plastic containers for my child’s lunchbox. I put the sandwich in a ziploc for freshness but then I put that in a plastic container to keep it from getting crushed. I was first thinking I’d switch to wax paper, but what does that accomplish regarding waste? I think if I had some of this fabric I could make my own sheets for washable paper sandwich wrappers. I have doubts about the sandwich staying perfectly fresh in a velcro bag. I also think I’d prefer a round-bottomed drawstring bag for the grapes/tomatoes.

    Plastic bags are always going to have their place for wetter items or things that would dry out without a complete seal. I agree that hard plastic containers are bulky, but they do prevent crushing and they are superior for wet items like canned fruit.

  3. posted by Celeste on

    Rather than buy lunch servings of canned fruit such as mandarin oranges, I buy the larger container and use plastic containers for the lunchbox. I found some small ones with screw-top lids that can be trusted not to blow open in a child’s lunchbox like a snap-top can; they were in the grocery store plastic storage goods aisle. Highly recommend.

  4. posted by Kat on

    We have a similar (but not identical) product here – little folded bags/napkins for when you get a muffin or cookie at a coffee shop. It is folded in the shape of a bag, to replace the paper or waxed bag that they give out with every purchase – it saves a lot of little bags every year. When you’ve eaten your muffin from the bag, you can shake out the folds, and it becomes a flat napkin for wiping your fingers. (This saves the paper napkin they would normally tuck in your paper bag.)

    It doesn’t wash in your dishwasher, but it does rinse quickly under the tap, and you hang it to dry in an hour or so, ready for tomorrow’s trip to Starbucks, Bridgehead, or Tim Hortons. :)

    http://www.eco-tav.com/napkins-and-pouches/

  5. posted by Mary on

    Celeste- Waxpaper can be composted. And any plastic we don’t buy ultimately translates into plastic that doesn’t have to be produced.

  6. posted by Lilliane P on

    Bento boxes? They seem ideal, too.

  7. posted by Elizabeth on

    I use these for my son’s lunch, and they are wonderful!

  8. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    Great suggestions in the comments! Keep ‘em coming …

  9. posted by Mike Dunham on

    Good old-fashioned faux tupperware for me, thanks. It’s bulky, I’ll grant you that, but it’s also easier to wash, and it’s no big deal if it breaks or gets lost.

  10. posted by Lose That Girl on

    Before I worked from home, I used plastic containers for my lunch but like Amy mentioned, they’re bulky. I’ve never seen these “skins” before but I think they’re fabulous! You could tuck them up in a pocket and the bulk is gone. Thanks for bringing them out for us to see, Erin. I had no clue that they existed.

  11. posted by Kalani on

    I use the cheap tupperware (uh, ziploc? rubbermaid? Generic brand?) containers that are re-washable but are cheaper than the sturdy heavy-duty rubbermaid containers that I grew up with. The flimsy ones seem to pack better and also then I use them for food I give away and never ask for the containers back. It seems like a good compromise between disposable and permanent. Although any plastic really does end up in a landfill (or a museum, haha) someday, even my reusable food containers.

  12. posted by Kalani on

    Actually, what I’ve started doing recently (sorry for the double comments) is just keeping lunch-making supplies at work. There’s plenty of room in the work fridge and that way I don’t have to ever remember my lunch or wash lunch containers at all. I make my sandwiches right on the work dishes straight from the packaging the food comes in. Obviously this wouldn’t work in every situation, but it’s pretty handy.

  13. posted by Allison on

    I recently started using a similar product called the snack taxi (www.snacktaxi.com) and am loving it. They seem to offer more sizes and fabrics than lunch skins. However, snack taxis have a fabric exterior and nylon interior. They can’t go in the dishwasher, but can go in the washing machine. I have found that a quick wipe with a damp cloth does the trick. Initially, the price is a bit high, but they seem really durable so I think I will at least break even compared with using disposable plastic bags.

  14. posted by Lori Paximadis on

    Like Kalani, when I worked in an office outside my house I simply kept my lunch-making supplies at work. I had a Tupperware lunchbox I kept in the break room fridge with cold cuts, cheese, carrot sticks, and yogurt. Bread, cans of soup, and other stuff that didn’t have to be refrigerated had its own drawer in my office, along with a set of flatware, a plate, and a bowl. I unfortunately ended up eating lunch at my desk most days — it was that kind of job — so it worked out well. It also meant one less thing to do in the morning.

    But I love these little cloth sandwich bags. If I had occasion to carry a sandwich somewhere, I’d have some.

  15. posted by Tom on

    They are neat, but we just reuse cereal/cracker/bread/tortilla/whatever bags. Cheaper and easier. Depending on what you put in them they can last a few days to a week. Plus the is nothing additional to buy or make.

  16. posted by Wendy on

    Cute, but plastic containers keep my sandwhich and grapes from being squished.

  17. posted by Anita on

    Agree with Wendy and everyone else whose vote goes to hard plastic containers. You can get them in pretty much any shape, so they’re sure to contain AND protect your lunch, whatever you decide to eat. They’re almost endlessly reusable, dishwasher and microwave safe, and prevent your food from getting squished.

    If you’re worried about buying extra plastic, just reuse bags/boxes that products come in. I have friends who bring their soup to work in margarine/yogurt containers, for instance.

    Also: the name “lunch skins” gives me the creeps.

  18. posted by lola meyer on

    What cute lunch bags! That Provence design vinyl tablecloth that’s been sitting in my cupboard is going to be transformed into these bags. Sew a few french seams and add a little velcro.
    Another option for reusable bag is Seal-line, makers of dry bags for river rafting, etc…. They have some tiny ones that work for ‘to go’ items.

  19. posted by Ellen on

    I’ve been using these http://www.wrap-n-mat.com/ and love them. They’re also available here http://www.reusablebags.com/, and you can get a lot of other reusable bags/mats/boxes there too.

  20. posted by deb on

    I don’t know if I should laugh or cry every time I see an article about re-usable lunch totes/bags/containers. My son looses them, all the time. Now that he’s in high school I’ve given up on trying to get him to remember to bring them home. He (re)uses grocery and other bags and tosses them at school.

  21. posted by Celeste on

    @Mary: wax paper may be able to be composted, but I guarantee that my daughter’s school cafeteria doesn’t have a compost pile. Neither do I.

    I’ve never asked other parents if they ask their children to bring home lunchbox debris for possible recycling, composting, or even to save the school trash pickup. To me this is the breakpoint of where being green can make you crazy.

    I’m intrigued by the bento boxes for kids’ school lunches. My concern is that the lids are too tight or too loose, and I also think the price is high compared to what we’ve been using.

    Deep down I prefer that my daughter buy a hot lunch at school; we only pack on the days when she dislikes the offerings.

  22. posted by Dawn F. on

    My son and husband use colorful Tupperware-style sandwich boxes and little round plastic containers with snap-on lids (like Gladware). I wash them out each day and repack for the next day. Thankfully, they don’t lose them or forget them – they just toss them straight back into their reusable lunch totes and bring them back home (I probably just jinxed that!). :)

    I avoid plastic baggies because of the waste (primarily), but also because things always get crushed and smashed. That’s a real bummer come lunchtime.

    I also prefer the plastic boxes because I can easily write my son’s name on it for easy identification (for the teacher’s sake).

    Once the containers have worn out or cracked, I just toss them into our recycle bin.

    These Lunch Skins are cool and fun, but for our family hard-sided containers are the way to go!

  23. posted by Leonie on

    I stumbled across a blog called lunchinabox.net when I was looking for a way to bring my lunch to work. As it turned out, my schedule is so flexible that I can leave work early enough to just have lunch at home, or bring lunch in a tupperware. However, it was tempting to invest in a bento lunch box. After reading various reviews of the products on Amazon, I decided good ole tupperware was the way to go. That or ziplock bags which we reuse. Lunch skins, however, is very attractive.

  24. posted by Tabitha (From Single to Married) on

    These are a great idea – unfortunately, we don’t own a dishwasher as we live in an older home, so I’m going to have to find some I can throw in the washingt machine instead. But still a great idea!

  25. posted by WilliamB on

    @Mary: how do you figure that wax is compostible? Wax is not biodegradable. Maybe you got mixed up with parchment paper, which is compostable?

  26. posted by allen on

    I use REAL Tupperware, actually. :D

    They have a snap-shut bento-box-like item, with multiple compartments: Saves the issue of wanting to use bags at ALL! They’re dishwasher safe, and have a life-time warranty! You can go onto amazon to find some, if you don’t want to take the little bit of effort it takes to find the Tupperware lady in your area.

    I will also sometimes use the collapsible rubbermaid or tupperware containers for my lunch.

    I just ignore the baggies, like i said: I purposefully bought containers for my lunches that would have separate compartments.

  27. posted by Julia on

    You can also find some alternative handmade sandwich bags by searching on “reusable sandwich bags” on etsy. Also an etsy search on “reusable produce bags” can help you end the use of plastic bags for your produce!!

    I’ve recently purchased a REALLY cute reusable shopping bag to use for non-grocery store shopping. Let’s end using plastic bags for clothes/gadget shopping, too!

  28. posted by Marie on

    I know Tupperware can get bulky, but avoiding a smushed sandwich is worth the juggling, IMO. These would end up on the bottom of my bag and my lunch would be dust.

    I was thinking about getting into Bento boxes. They’re so colorful and fun, and make work lunch so much less boring.

  29. posted by Alix on

    I’m wondering what that German fabric is made of, that it’s so impervious to grease, moisture, etc…

  30. posted by Sterling on

    Eco-friendly sandwiches? Double the deliciousness.

  31. posted by CC on

    I’ve used similar bags (lined with nylon, machine wash) and I’ve found that they don’t keep items fresh if you pack your lunch the night before as we do … so the chips or pretzels taste like they’ve been laying in a bowl (loss of some crunch) and the bread in sandwiches has the dry texture around the edges, the lettuce is a little limp … so I’ve relegated these for things like carrot & celery sticks and keep the washable plastic boxes for things that I like fresh (whether that’s crisp or soft) … I’ve yet to find a reusable bag (I’ve tried three different brands – from $6.35 on Etsy to 9.00 on Greenfeet – and have had same results across the board).

  32. posted by Annie on

    Many years ago my mother used to wash plastic bags, turn them inside out and dry them on the clothesline and then re-use them.

    Later I remember being asked, “Who would bother washing plastic bags? I mean, they’d have to be desperate.”

    My mum was right :-)

    Not sure I’m into it though, but I do re-use the paper bags I get from shops every time I visit a Saturday market. I keep them in a shopping bag, fill them with produce and then empty into other storage when I get home.

  33. posted by Mark on

    Further suggestions here:

    http://veganlunchbox.blogspot......ggies.html

  34. posted by Mary on

    WilliamB-
    Friends and I have been composting wax paper for many years.

  35. posted by Mary on

    Also, if you’re worried about the biodegradability of regular wax paper, try one of the natural wax papers that use soy wax.

  36. posted by Battra92 on

    Well personally I find this global warming err… “Climate Change” thing to be a big bunch of phooey but if you want to save on waste, just recycle your aluminum foil.

    I suppose if you REALLY want to be all “save the earth”, you can just use plain brown paper you buy in bulk rolls. It’s cheap that way too.

  37. posted by Lunch Skins « Meg on

    [...] Lunch Skins. Such a curious name. I was reading the Unclutter Blog which led me to 3 Green Moms which has awesome green products such as Lunch Skins! Now, I realize [...]

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