You know, I didn’t think I even used that many sandwich or snack bags. My husband generally brings soup and salad or leftovers with him in containers, and I don’t have any children I need to pack lunches for. However, when I really started paying attention, I realized that we were still using sandwich bags fairly often. Towards the end of my pregnancy, sometimes I wouldn’t make a large enough dinner for Joel to take leftovers, so he started bringing a lot more sandwiches with him (and using plastic bags). I started packing a lot more snacks for myself and Elena when we were out and about-often in plastic bags. All of those baggies add up- yet I am sure it’s not even close to the amount that families with many school aged children go through!
Sandwiches have become a mainstay in many of our lives. Not only should we work on making sure those sandwiches are nutritious, but I feel that it’s also important to pay attention to what we wrap those sandwiches in. In my quest to reduce our plastic consumption, I’ve come across some different options for replacing sandwich and snack bags. Yeah! Some companies very kindly sent me a few items to try out and review and I am excited to share them with you as I really like them.
Cloth Sandwich and Snack Bags
Cloth sandwich and snack bags are one easy option. Two companies kindly sent me some samples of their products for me to try out and I really liked both of them.
First, let’s look at Eco Lunch Gear’s sandwich bag.
This cloth based sandwich bag has a few neat features. The outer cloth is made with organic cotton. It has a liner made with nylon which has a polyurethane coating which does not come in contact with the food as it faces the cotton layer. This helps the product be resistant to water, stain, mildew and rot.
I loved the fabric on the sample they sent me too! But even cooler is that fact that this “bag” unfolds completely so you can very easily get all of the crumbs out. Because of this design, it’s also easy to adjust the size of the bag.
Another high quality brand who sent me samples was EcoDitty.
This company uses organic cotton as well and I love that the inside layer-which touches the food- is also organic cotton (undyed). In this case, I think that our sandwiches were better dressed than ourselves!
Because I often use homemade bread for sandwiches, which can make a bigger sized sandwich, it was important to me to have a spacious sandwich bag. Both the Eco Ditty and the Eco Lunch Gear gave me plenty of room for a large sandwich. I think that you can tell in the picture below that there is plenty of space around the bread.
They also sent me a great little snack bag which a great way to replace plastic snack bags too! It would hold chips, carrot and celery sticks, a cookie or two, and any other snack you could think of, well.
But my big question was how easy it was going to be to wash these bags since you may want to use them 5 days a week. Here is what the two brands had to say about washing their products. EcoDitty says that you can throw their sandwich and snack bags in the wash, wash by hand, or even put through the dishwasher! Eco Lunch Gear had this to say about washing their products.
“As with any fabric, hand washing and air drying will make them last longer. We use our wraps and bags every day and hand wash them at night with the water bottles and other dishes – hang them over a glass or bowl and they will be dry within a few hours. You can wash and dry these in the machines – we recommend washing on cool water, but they will hold up with warm water also. Dry on delicate cycle. They are designed with the machines in mind, so when you go to wash them just turn the tabs down so the Velcro doesn’t get caught on other items in the laundry. See here for more information.”
Sounds easy enough!
We did a test run of these products a few times and I found that both of the company’s products stood up to the rigors of chips and PB&J, and a turkey sandwich with ease.
But cloth bags aren’t your only option, you could also opt for stainless steel options for both sandwiches and for snacks. Enter some products from Life without Plastic. I immediately feel in love with this company when I stumbled across it when researching this topic. Even the name is wonderful! They carry a wide range of products helping you live without plastic (seriously, you should check out their site). Pretty cool stuff. They sent me a few stainless steel options for replacing sandwich and snack bags.
First, a few things I like generally about stainless steel products. They are simple to wash out and dry-an advantage if in the morning you realize you never unpacked the lunch pail and everything is dirty. Stainless steel products are also very beautiful as well as durable. On the positive side for the cloth sandwich bags, they take up less room (like when I was sneaking a sandwich in my purse into the movie theater).
Both of these stainless steel options have advantages. The sandwich box is very thin and compact which is excellent when placing inside lunch pails. It’s also easy to open (which is good for children). However, because it’s so thin, my fat turkey sandwich didn’t fit inside it very well. If you pack a stuffed sandwich, this may not be the right size for you. Because this option doesn’t stay closed quite as well, you may want to put a rubber band around it to hold it together.
On the other hand, the bento box (shown on the left) was quite spacious and my sandwich fit in with ease. It also holds together because of the side snaps very well. It’s going to take up more room in a lunch pail however.It was my favorite because it also multi-purposed. You can use it to store leftovers or to carry other lunch items, and you can even write the contents and date on the outside with a marker (it wipes away). You can also place it in a toaster oven to reheat food!
Finally, Life without Plastic also sent me this perfect sized food storage container. It works wonderfully for snacks. It’s the smallest of their air and water tight food storage containers and I love it! I foresee getting a lot of use out of it when packing snacks for my little girlies. You could also use it for hummus and other dips when packing lunches. Definitely a great option for replacing snack bags.
What about you? Have you tried any similar products? Leave your review below! Or do you have other ideas of how to replace plastic sandwich and snack bags? I would love to hear them!