There are many eco-friendly options available for school lunch, but let’s face it: most of them are still pretty pricey. Shelling out $21 for a Sigg water bottle or $37.95 for a Laptop lunch box adds up to big bucks quickly.
Here are five super cheap, easy ways you can send your kids back-to-school with an eco-friendly lunch bag. If you’re fortunate enough to have what you need already, maybe you could take this post and send it to a school list serv or to others who might find this information helpful.
There are really just five things you need for a waste-free lunch:
1. Lunch box – or brown bag. While there are great eco-friendly lunch box options out there, most range from $14 on up. You can buy a pack of 100 brown paper lunch bags for $1.99. No, it’s not totally waste-free, but most municipalities recycle paper – so you can toss the bag out with the newspapers to be recycled! It’s a much more environmentally friendly option than buying a conventional school lunch bag, which are often made of PVC plastic. Read here to learn why you want to avoid PVC, which is harmful to our health and to the environment.
2. Water bottles. This is a biggie. Visit nearly any school cafeteria and you’ll see a staggering amount of waste from disposable juice boxes and milk containers. Yet most stainless or non-PVC water bottles are $10 and up – some as high as $25 or more. Before I invested in two Sigg Mr. Sharky’s (pictured below), I used a good ole Honest Tea bottle. Made of durable glass, it was fine for drinks on the go. I still use one in a pinch!
3. Cloth napkin. No need to buy new here. Pretty much everyone has a spare dish rag or dish towel lying around the house, or some “good” cloth napkins that are only taken out for “special occasions.” These are perfect for school lunch. So far, my son hasn’t asked why he carries a linen dishcloth with a 1977 calendar on it, but I’m sure that day is coming soon…!
4. Food containers. My how things have changed just in the past year. Now you can buy stainless steel containers for school lunch. But again, cost is an issue. If you don’t want to spend $40 for an all-in-one lunch kit or $16 for a stainless steel food container, you can go the el cheapo route like I did.
Unfortunately there are no more of these nifty $4.99 glass pyrex containers at the Bethesda Giant, because I bought out their entire stock!
And here’s a shot of Big Boy with his lunch bag, which contains some plastic (gasp) Gerber food containers. I love these. They’re made in the good old USA, they’re cheap (under $5 for 4 small dishes) and they’re made of #5 plastic, which does not contain BPA. Still, to be on the safe side (because all plastics can leach) I keep these plastic bowls out of the dishwasher and the microwave I had to search high and low for these – they seem to sell out as soon as they’re in stock, but you can sometimes find them at Target or Buy Buy Baby.
He’s also carrying a more traditional “Green Mom” accoutrement – a Wrap n’ Mat sandwich wrap, which is made of washable cloth and durable, low density polyethylene (LDPE). These sell for $7.99 on the Internet, but I bought mine locally at My Organic Market. When I hit the Wrap n’ Mat website as I was writing this post, I learned that they’ve just introduced little snack pouches, which sell for $8.99 each.
5. Cutlery. This past school year I packed lunches with our regular cutlery, and unfortunately I regret it because some of our silverware never made it home. This year I’m trying Sporks !
And I leave you with a picture of my boys’ trusty Crocodile Creek lunch bags being cleaned out. Because this frugal green Mom isn’t planning to buy new ones this year!
This post is for the Green Moms Carnival: Green Schools Edition, which runs tomorrow (Monday, August 10th) right here at OrganicMania.
— Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Bethesda, Food, Giant, Green moms, Green Schools, My Organic Market, Product Recommendations, Savings Tips, School lunches, Sustainable Packaging, Tips, Whole Foods | Wordpress Comments (13) |
Green and Organic Savings Friday: CVS “Organic” Make-up, Late Night Specials at Whole Foods, Organic Baby Food and More!
Last night OrganicMania discovered an advantage to waiting until the absolute last minute to pick up groceries. Never before had I heard the voice booming across Whole Foods announcing, “Two-for-one Special! Buy One, Get One Free!” Buy what? Where the heck was I? For a second, I thought I was back in Germany, where at Kaufhalle a flashing blue siren goes off before a voice announces “Sonderangebot!”
But no, it was the gorgeous sandwiches in the prepared food section that were on sale. Every night at about 9:55 p.m. you can pick up two sandwiches for the price of one. OrganicMania nabbed two gorgeous eggplant sandwiches for $3.15 each! Can’t beat that…
Well, maybe….we just tried the eggplant sandwich and sad to say, it is a bit past its prime, despite the prepared food manager’s assurances that it would taste just fine. My DH deemed it better suited to a midnight snack, and suggested we keep experimenting “in the name of research” to see if any of their sale sandwiches hold up better than the eggplant. More on that subject another week!
Isn’t it great to see all these sale signs on organic make-up? Now’s the time to try Physician’s Formula Organic Make-up with the 2 for one sale at CVS. Not only is the make-up 2 for the price of 1, but CVS offers incredible coupon savings through their CVS card program. So savvy CVS shoppers may be able to get their make-up for nothing or next to nothing!
I haven’t tried this make-up yet, but one thing I love about it is the sustainable packaging. The powder is packaged in recyclable paper instead of petroleum-based plastic. That’s one trend we should all hope that the other cosmetics makers adopt.
On the flip side, this make-up is marketed as “organic” when it has many chemical ingredients and is not certified USDA organic. The marketing of this “organic make-up” falls into that “gray area” OrganicMania discussed here with Diane MacEachern, noted environmentalist and author of the eco best seller “Big Green Purse.”
But as with so many other cosmetics lines, you need to be careful about the specific products you purchase. Check out this overview of Physicians Formula ingredients by the Environmental Working Group, and you’ll see that the safety rankings are all over the map. Best bets?
The powder and foundation are both ranked 3, or “moderate hazard” by the EWG, which is actually very good compared to most cosmetics.
OrganicMania considers the eye make-up remover pads and sunscreen “best buys” with EWG rankings of 2, or low hazard. It’s unlikely you’ll find a better choice for your money .
Now that you’re all beautified, what does that lead to? Romance! Love! Babies! Baby food! How’s that for a segue?
Safeway once again has its housebrand O Organics Baby Food 4.5 ounce baby food jars on sale, 10 jars for $7.00 or 17.5 cents per ounce, saving you 90 cents on ten. Unfortunately, that’s a whole dollar more per ten than this organic baby food sale Safeway ran about six months ago, when organic baby food was priced at a just a penny more than conventional baby food! But 10 jars for $7.00 is still a good deal with today’s rising food prices. Are you planning to keep buying organic for your baby? Leave a comment and share!
Did you find any good deals this week? Please share your tips! And check out these other savings tips here. (Warning: some green, some not so green!)
Copyright 2008 OrganicManiaFiled under Baby, Food, Green Charities, Marketing, Organic Personal Care Products, Organic Prices, Parenting, Product Recommendations, Savings Tips, Sustainable Packaging, Where to Buy Organics, Whole Foods | Wordpress Comments (11) |