non toxic lunch boxes

The Best Boxes and Bags for the Eco-Friendly Lunch

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It’s a well-known fact that storage containers for your food greatly affect its quality. With that in mind, your highly nutritional meal can lose some value if it’s kept in lunchboxes made from endocrine-disrupting plastic. You want to develop more sustainable options for all your foods’ nutrients.

One would think that all lunchboxes would be constructed of secure materials, but sadly, this is not the case. Especially for newborns and young toddlers, lunch boxes and lunch bags may contain chemicals that shouldn’t be coming into touch with food.

Start this year by purchasing the best eco-friendly lunch boxes, free of dangerous and harmful chemicals, to keep your food in good condition.

Keep reading and learn which materials you should avoid and which to use.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Materials to avoid in Lunch Boxes

Maybe you haven’t thought about it before, or it just might have slipped your mind to check the materials of the bag you put the school lunch in for your kid. I made a list of the materials you should avoid as much as possible.

Lead

Lead has been found on the outside and inner linings of lunchboxes because it is a stabilizer in polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Children’s hands and food may come into contact with the lead in the exterior material. More than 150 lunchboxes were lead-tested by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). Around 10% of those tested had “high levels” of lead. The CEH now urges parents not to purchase vinyl lunchboxes or to test a child’s existing lunchbox.

At any concentration, lead is deemed dangerous. Even small quantities can accumulate in the body and lead to lifelong issues.

Because their brains and neurological systems are still developing, children under the age of six are most at risk for lead poisoning.

Anemia, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues can all be caused by lead exposure. Extremely high concentrations can cause convulsions or even death in addition to harming the kidneys, neurological system, and other important organs. Furthermore, if anyone has high levels of lead in their system, certain treatments are required to get rid of them. The authorities’ advice is to locate the source of the lead and eliminate it for kids with lower levels to stop additional exposure.

PVC

Vinyl, often known as PVC, is a flexible plastic frequently used to make children’s lunch containers. It could include hazardous substances, including lead, phthalates, and BPA/BPS/BPF. PVC is a contaminant to the environment in addition to affecting human health. 

Dioxins and mercury are released into our land, water, and air throughout numerous stages of PVC manufacture and disposal. Dioxin is a well-known carcinogen that can harm the nervous, endocrine, immunological, and reproductive systems.Avoid using plastic containers for food, as well as plastic water bottles. BPA, scientifically known as bisphenol A, is a popular industrial chemical used in the production of plastic. According to research, BPA is absorbed into food and beverages and may harm children’s or fetuses’ developing brain and prostate glands. Additionally, it is connected to altered behavior and elevated blood pressure.

non toxic lunch boxes

Phthalates

PVC is made supple and flexible by phthalates. In 80% of school supplies, including lunch boxes, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice found levels of phthalates in a 2012 research. When used as toys, 75% of the school supplies would be illegal to sell due to their high phthalate content.

Due to the tenuous links that phthalates make with plastic, food, and drink can quickly seep into containers that contain phthalates. Many health issues, including asthma, endocrine disruption, effects on the reproductive system, and several types of cancer, have been associated with phthalates.

Microban

Your lunchbox’s label will be quite evident if it contains Microban. Triclosan, an endocrine disruptor that can lead to bacterial resistance, could be present in the proprietary chemical mixture known as Microban. Primarily, it was developed to safeguard items against bacteria, mold, and occasional algae that can result in stains, odors, and product damage. 

Inhaling or getting close to the microban can impact the respiratory, Immune system, neurological system, reproductive, developmental, and endocrine systems.

Nowadays, there are lots of microban lunchboxes with ice packs. That’s why you should be extra careful. They indeed can be multifunctional and have all the adorable looks, but on the inside is a completely different story.

If you are coming across these materials for the first time, it can be scary, which ultimately made me write this blog. To further clarify, I want only the best eco-friendly lunch boxes for your kids.

Here is a list of materials you need to look for when buying boxes for school lunches.

non toxic lunch boxes

The material we want in lunch boxes

Stainless steel

Highly durable

Your lunch box won’t sustain much harm even if it crashes to the ground on a hard surface. Over time, you could find a few scuffs or tiny dents, but they won’t stop the box from working. Additionally, stainless steel lunchboxes are resistant to corrosion and can survive extreme heat and cold. It’s easy to reheat your food inside the box in the oven.

Hygienic material

The primary cause of this is that bacteria cannot grow on the stainless steel surface. In addition, stainless steel does not scratch as easily as plastic. It’s no accident that stainless steel is the material of choice for most instruments used by medical practitioners.

No smell

Unlike wood or plastic, stainless steel does not collect odors. Additionally, it doesn’t impart any metal flavor or odor to the dish.

Environmentally friendly

You reduce a lot of packaging waste by using a stainless steel reusable lunch box. Even if it uses a little bit more energy than making a plastic one, the latter is far more durable. You may use your lunchbox for quite a long time if you take good care of it.

Additionally, stainless steel containers are considerably simpler to recycle than plastic ones. They don’t release any toxins into the environment either while they’re not in use.

Extremely safe

High-quality stainless steel water bottles are the most secure kind to drink from. Reusable stainless steel bottles are preferable to plastic or aluminum, in contrast. Stainless steel doesn’t require a liner because it is non-toxic. Even if the bottle is broken or is filled with hot liquids like tea or coffee, the metal won’t allow chemicals to leak.

Additionally, there is a reduced chance of bacterial water contamination since stainless steel bottles can be cleaned at high temperatures.

Overall, stainless steel is chemically inert and non-reactive.

non toxic lunch boxes

Silicone

Easy to use and highly durable

This material is eco-friendly, beneficial for your family, practical, and simple enough for children to open and close. A lunchbox you could comfortably and securely put in the microwave, freezer, or dishwasher. It is hygienic and strong; the lid won’t crack after a few uses.

Environmentally friendly

Because of the material, it is both durable and sustainable. This is a healthy alternative because it reduces environmental waste while increasing eco-awareness.

Safe

Silicon and oxygen make up the silicone molecule. The silicone known as “food grade” is non-toxic and free of any chemical byproducts or fillers, making it suitable for use with food. 

Food-grade silicone, according to the FDA, is safe and won’t react with other substances or produce dangerous chemicals when heated. Moreover, according to Health Canada, silicone cookware is not known to pose any health risks. No harmful emissions or reactions with food or beverages occur while using silicone rubber. This is why using food-grade silicone is significantly healthier for our environment and health.

Organic Cotton

Safe

Another great option for lunch bags is organic cotton or other natural fabrics like hemp – just ensure there aren’t any PFAS put on top! These materials are grown and processed without toxic pesticides, so you don’t have to be concerned about the hidden chemicals that frequently accompany plastics.

Easy to clean

These materials may be more prone to becoming dirty since they are not stain-resistant and cannot be simply cleaned with a damp cloth like plastic. The good news is that they can be washed in a machine while keeping their original form. However, you should know that organic cotton is more leak-prone.

non toxic lunch boxes

Safer Plastics

Simple

Plastic is often just simpler – especially when it comes to kids. Compared to something like organic cotton, it can be more leak-proof and is simpler to wipe clean. Additionally, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a lunch box or bag made entirely of silicone.

Safe

The safest plastic products are often those with resin codes #2, #4, and #5. Compared to something like PVC, polyester is unquestionably superior. To ensure that their materials don’t include phthalates, lead, bisphenols, or other toxicants, seek independent testing companies.

But remember to keep all plastics away from heat whenever you can since the leaching process is accelerated by heat.

non toxic lunch boxes

My Top Picks of the Best Eco-Friendly Lunch Container, Boxes, and Lunch Accessories

  • Bento Boxes – Holds 6 cups of food, stacks beautifully, is stainless steel. I also love bento boxes to take to restaurants, so you have a food container for leftovers.
  • Stainless Steel Lunch Box – Nothing says classic lunch like a Stanley Classic lunch box. Your packed lunch will be so stylish!
  • Canvas Lunch Bag – Organic Cotton – 22 Different Designs – I love this insulated lunch bag – it’s so cute – good for kids of every age.
  • Glass Containers – Meal prep will be a dream with these separate compartments! I love the compartment to put reusable silverware. The tight-fitting lids help with keeping the food inside.
  • Reusable Sandwich Bags – These are so multipurpose – freezer and dishwasher safe. With Stasher Bags you can get a bundle of different sizes or individual ones. Great for wet foods like strawberries or grapes. You can freeze them and use them as an ice pack.
  • Bamboo Cutlery Sets – The entire family wants these! They’re a lunch gear must-have—reusable Cutlery at a fantastic price. The set comes with Fork, Knife, Spoon, Straw, Brush to clean the Straw, and a bag to carry. Say goodbye to those single-use plastics!
  • Hot Food Best Friend – Hot Soups, Stews – is a great choice. The Thermos Stainless Steel container can also handle your cold foods.
  • Ice Pack – designer non-toxic, reusable, sweat-free ice pack comes in a variety of colors! The best accessories to your lunch tote. Your cheese will be so happy.

I hope my blog helps and motivates you to buy the best eco-friendly lunch box.

Whatever materials you pick for your lunchtime requirements, check that the part that will be in contact with your kid’s meal is marked as food-grade. Food-grade materials must adhere to certain FDA regulations and have more stringent production standards.

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