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-   -   A Waste Free Lunch Story from a Reuseit Mom + an Offer to Win Her Fav Lunch Pack- Congrats Ell-Bell (

Chris Elias28 09-01-2011 05:13 PM

Congrats to Ell-Bell!!! You have received a PM from us. Reuseit will send you your prize!

contest for waste free lunch.png



Hi Moms!  


The following story is from Natalie.  She is an employee of, a company that provides convenient & fun reusable products to help households reduce their carbon footprint.   More importantly, Natalie is a mom of a 5 year old, named Teno.  She kindly shares her story of what she just experienced in getting her first child back to school!  


We thank her for this personal story and for giving our members the chance to win the "6-pack" Lunch Kit she chose for Teno. 

A Waste Free Lunch


For three years I’ve been helping eco-minded moms choose safe, kid-friendly lunch items for their families. “Save $85 a year by switching to reusable snack and sandwich bags,” I’d tell them. “Choose a leak-proof water bottle and stop buying juice boxes!” It all seemed so simple to me, the mother of a toddler and an environmental know-it-all.

Then something happened. Teno, my precocious little 5-year-old, became a kindergartner.


Suddenly I found myself overwhelmed by the idea of a waste-free lunch. What will I pack? What if he can’t get the cap off his water bottle and he spends his whole day thirsty? What if his yogurt goes bad and he gets food poisoning? How on Earth will he remember not to throw away his napkin?


Ok, Natalie. Deep breaths. You can handle this. This is your job! Think of the 5 Steps to a Waste-free Lunch. Take it one step at a time.


1. Choose a reusable lunch bag.


After considering various materials (recycled PET, organic cotton, etc) I decided to go with a reuseit™ Made in the USA Insulated “6 Pack” Lunch Bag. The top-loading design makes it easy to pack a lunch without squishing anything. Made from lead-free nylon, it’s a durable bag that will help insulate and keep the food inside fresh.


I also picked up a PackIt Insulated Lunch Bag for variety.  It’s a bit large for a 5-year-old’s appetite, but we’ve been using it for camping trips until he gets a little bigger (and hungrier.)


2. Pick up some food containers.


I chose a variety – insulated, stainless steel and safe plastic. I figured they’d be perfect for pasta, fresh cut veggies and I could use the thermal ones for soups in cold weather. Not that he eats soup, but I like to be prepared.


3. Replace plastic baggies with reusable snack and sandwich bags.


This is where I could have spent days making a decision. I am easily distracted by cute things, and these are all so cute. I decided on some of the boy-friendly designs from ReUsies and a couple of solid-colored bags from reuseit™, just in case he decides he’s too much of a big boy for patterns. They’re both machine-washable, so I can send sandwiches, cut veggies and other snacks to school without wasting plastic baggies and send them through the wash when they need a clean-up.




4. Napkins, utensils and more


Teno has been using his spork at the dinner table for years. He thinks it’s really funny, and I don’t mind having one utensil to wash instead of two. So that was an easy choice for his lunch bag. I used transfer paper and my home printer to customize a set of organic cotton napkins – craftier moms than me might embroider them or create fun felt appliqués. I threw in a reusable ice pack to keep everything cool, and I was almost done.


5. Skip the juice boxes and bottled water – choose a reusable bottle.


Again, I went with a variety here. My son uses a lot of different water bottles at home, but it was important to me that the ones I sent him to school with were leak-proof. How sad would it be if his whole lunch got soaked? I decided on a few Nalgene MiniGrip bottles because they’re lightweight, dishwasher-safe and they won’t leak. I also picked up a few more of Teno’s favorite bottle – the CamelBak stainless steel bottle with a built-in straw.




For the past few days, I’ve been serving Teno his dinner packed in his different lunch items so he can get used to using them and I can get an idea of different things I should pack. Doing this helped me to realize that some aluminum water bottles I’d selected were too hard for him to open, and it gave me a chance to talk to him about bringing all of his cool lunch stuff home every day so I can wash it and pack another lunch for the next day.


While I can’t say he’s terribly excited about the idea of having to wake up early every morning for school, he is very excited about his lunch bags and his fun napkins. And now that all my fears and worries about lunchtime have subsided, I can feel good about packing him a healthy lunch every day, reducing our carbon footprint, and even saving some money because I’m not buying all those disposables. Plus, it’s freed up plenty of time for me to worry about what he’s going to wear, whether he’s going to get into trouble and all the other fun fears I have about sending my firstborn off to school!




To help you send your kiddo off to school with a waste-free lunch I’d love to give a “6-pack” Lunch Kit (a US-made insulated lunch bag, a matching snack and sandwich bag and a reusable ice pack - $29.95 value) away to one reader.


Plus, is offering $5 off your order of $50 or more*. Just enter MOTHERING in the coupon field at check out. *Order expires 9/20/11, one use per customer, cannot be combined with other coupon codes.


To enter to win the lunch kit!

  1. Go to and check out the fun products we have (required)
  2. Come back to MDC and post one thing you found interesting on our site (required)
  3. If you haven’t already, “Like” Reuseit and MotheringMag on Facebook (optional)


  1. You must be a member of
  2. Only one entry per MDC Member. Additional posts will not be considered an entry, but feel free to comment and keep the conversation going!
  3. You must have at least 7 post to be considered for this prize.
  4. Mothering will be using to fairly choose a winner. 
  5. This chance to win the “6-pack” Lunch Kit closes on Monday September 12th at 5pm, PST.


zebra15 09-01-2011 05:31 PM

The compact insulated lunch sleeve aka the mans lunchbox looks interesting.

I like ya before!

HArmbruster 09-02-2011 06:42 AM

Consider your variety as back up items for when your child forgets his lunch box at school.  Mine forgets about once a week. Depending on what is in it or what day it is, I don't always walk back into the school when I pick him up.  I just pack up another lunch box the next day.  However, if there was ranch or soup in the lunch box or if it is a Friday, I will go back in for the lunch box!  Oh and we did the practice runs too.  We knew his thermos would keep his soup the right temp and he could open it on his own!

illumini 09-02-2011 01:37 PM This is awesome! And I've liked you already. smile.gif

CourtBChase 09-02-2011 03:02 PM

I totally want one of these:  I love that the top turns into a bowl.  We already have a bunch of the lunch bots containers, and those are great too.

crbyard 09-02-2011 04:33 PM

i have bought many great things from Great company! I have been waiting for them to sell planetboxes (which I really covet) so that i can combine shipping with some other great products like glass dharma straws and insulated food containers.

Toolip 09-02-2011 07:16 PM

Wow! This is so cool! I would love some of these stainless containers They look awesome! Tons of cool stuff :-)

34me 09-02-2011 07:30 PM

I love these .  Only one utensil to keep track of in my ds's to go ware!

Doussou 09-06-2011 03:18 AM

I can't wait to try some stainless containers for my kids' lunches, and those lunchskins are so cute!

goodjoan 09-06-2011 03:37 AM

I had no idea there were so many green lunch options! Hubby likes to pack his own lunch but feels limited by options because anything wet or runny would leak out of the plasticwear we have.

He's been on the hunt for a good wide mouth thermos that isn't plastic or glass. Something he could fill with soup or stew.  This bad boy just got on my xmas shopping list!

sundaya 09-06-2011 03:38 AM

I love the lunchskins snack and sandwich bags. How cute and practical!

MelissaMarie 09-06-2011 03:41 AM

I thought the collapsible lunch containers were really neat. I love the idea of keeping a set in the car for restaurant leftover as an alternative to disposable doggy bags - what an interesting idea! I never thought of that.

redclover 09-06-2011 03:41 AM

Love the variety of stainless steel water bottles! (my favourite is Sigg, but isn't it great that there are so many!!)

rpeluso 09-06-2011 04:09 AM

I had no idea there were so many green options for lunches/kitchen storage, etc.! I love the sandwich and snack bags--especially how there are different ones to choose from- sacs, wrap-n-man, snack taxi-there's something for everyone to choose from!

katy_bug 09-06-2011 05:23 AM

Great story - I have been looking for a source of reusable napkins, sandwich bags and produce bags for a while and was not aware that even existed.  Everything there is so cute, especially the napkins!  I am going to be taking your advice for my lunch and my husband's lunch.  We have a couple of years to wait until our kids go to kindergarten.

*MamaJen* 09-06-2011 05:37 AM

Eek, that photo of all the Starbucks garbage was pretty interesting!

rere 09-06-2011 05:40 AM

I really like the stainless steel containers.

noodlepopsmom 09-06-2011 05:43 AM

I think I am in love with the LunchSkins Reusable Sandwich Bags!

I have been looking for a ziplock alternative for lunch packing! Thanks for the post!

vonvonnie 09-06-2011 05:46 AM

I love shopping with you guys, a lot of teachers at my son's school love his waste free lunch, and I send everyone to Reusit to get started!  We have the laptop lunchbox, a few Klean Kanteens, 2 sets of Fabkins and the built NY sleeve to keep his drinks cool.  Aside from lunches, my favorite purchase ever from you guys was the Reisenthel Modern Shopper tote (I think it's also called the bottle tote).  I've had it for years and it still looks new.  I have the loud pink floral one & really need the olive.  I'm glad you all still carry them.


And for anyone who is worried about them throwing away their lunch items, if you create a totally waste free lunch, there is nothing to throw away, hence no need for them to even walk by the waste can :). 



goatvillegirl 09-06-2011 06:10 AM

My favorites are the reusable lunch bags.  I'll certainly pick up some of these soon.

Einhorn 09-06-2011 06:10 AM

I liked that you could get the to-go-ware bamboo utensils without a case (to replace forks with broken tines at less cost. I also liked the go tube and  which we'll have to try. 2 of them are shorter than the to-go-ware sidekick, which we like, but it only fits in the center of the top section of the kids to-go-ware lunch kits.


thanks for a lot of good ideas. we already do a reusable lunch but I got some great new ideas.

sunnysky 09-06-2011 06:24 AM

Oh, I love the Klean Kanteen tiny bottle with sippy cup tops, that would be perfect for my one-year-old, and of course the lunch skins reusable snack bags are awesome! Great prints! I am on the hunt for something for my hubby to pack his lunch in too, so those black and dark colored lunch boxes and kits look awesome as well as the bento boxes! Love them! 


Will go like you on facebook now! Great company!

Ell-Bell 09-06-2011 06:43 AM

I didn't realize there were sleeves for my KK and Sigg bottles available at! This will help with the "sweating" that they do and avoid getting the content of my bag wet. 

Asche 09-06-2011 06:52 AM

Ok... I LOVE so many things on that site that I created a shopping cart and filled it up... Total is just under 200 dollars, lol. The things I loved the most were:



People Towels Reusable Hand Towels, 100% Organic Cotton, Love Not Waste
Cryopak Flexible Ice Mat, Set of 2 (36 pouches total)
To-Go Ware RePEaT Bamboo Utensil Set with Recycled PET Carrycase, Merlot Cover $12.95
Airtight Snack Containers, Set of 3
LunchSkins Snack Bag, Aqua Dots
Wrap-N-Mat Large, Made in USA, Red Check
And I plan on buying them all as soon as I get the money! Totally worth it. I am most excited about the Wrap-N-Mat and the Hand Towels. I think those will be the neatest and the ones that will help the most will be the Utensil Set and the Snack containers, to keep me from buying so many individual packaged food... :)

wytchywoman 09-06-2011 06:54 AM

I REALLY like the stainless steel lunch kits as well. What I like best is all your variety!!!!! this goes way beyond packing lunches.

Shield 09-06-2011 07:09 AM

Great article and great website!  Our family has been using the Laptop lunch systems for a couple of years and they work great-I love that I can pack good healthy food and not worry about wasteful or harmful packaging.  My only complaint is that the lids don't always fit on the containers correctly, which leads to spilled food in the box, so I had to get rid of a couple of the containers for that reason.  I'd like to checkout the Lunchbot system.  Also it really helps to have more than 1 set of lunch box systems since life is busy and it is hard to wash the lunchboxes every single night. 

thanks, Erica

lisab541 09-06-2011 07:25 AM


I loved the Dabbawalla Lunch Bags, so cute!

townelin 09-06-2011 07:27 AM

Not so much related to lunch, but I purchased the pack n tote grocery cart helper a few months back and looove them. 

areawoman 09-06-2011 07:36 AM

The robot lunch bag is *adorable.* I also love the selection of reusable snack/sandwich bags. I've never thought of that before -- we've been re-using the disposable ones, which do eventually have to be thrown away. Great ideas!

MsBridget 09-06-2011 07:39 AM  This with


I'm a midwife and often will have an entire day out of the house for prenatals (I do in-home care, no office). This is awesome. My youngest teen loves taking a bento box for her lunches and I have to send a daily snack in with the 2nd grader. 


I don't have a dishwasher (thank God) or a washing machine (adding on a mud room soon to our ol' farmhouse)... but I'm guessing the bags would come just as clean with a hand scrubbing? 


I wish we had these on our camping trip. It would have been nice to have a ready-made placemat!

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