Back To School: Choosing Reusable Food and Drink Containers

There is a Bring-Your-Own Revolution going on in school lunch boxes.  Kids are being taught not to pollute and why we aim to reuse, recycle and reduce. Schools are advocating Litterless Lunches and some have programs where students and staff work to earn the coveted ‘eco’ certification. However, parents need to be on board.  I have seen first hand how many throw-away, single-use containers are still being packed in lunches contrary to school efforts to teach otherwise.

I understand it can be a challenge to switch gears and follow the eco path when we were brought up with plastic ‘sandwich baggies’ that always went into the trash without a thought.  But It is really easy to reuse plus it costs you oodles less in the long-run. And many reusables now are eco AND cool. My kids love to help pick out their favourite colours/design for their school lunch reusables.

The Bottom Line on Plastic Reusables:

Plastic is never a good option for food or beverage containers. Plastic contains unsavoury chemicals….bottom line and no two ways about it.  And don’t think you are necessarily doing well by buying BPA-Free. It may be ok and it may not. It is simply not worth the risk. Ever wondered what has been replacing BPA? A California father, Michael Green did and had his daughter’s pink plastic sippy cup tested. The lab results were enough to give all parents pause. The sippy cup was made from just as health-harming substances as is BPA plastic. You can read his story here.  I do love when parents advocate for the health of kids. And thanks to Mr. Green many parents are now off plastics.

Best then to choose either food-grade stainless steel, tempered glass (difficult to break) and organic fabrics.  It’s easy to do and much more worry-free. Here’s what to look for:

Water Bottles:

Choose food grade stainless or glass NOT aluminum or plastic. Aluminum is known to be made with plastic-type liners often made with BPA or BPA-like substances. So this hidden plastic as with full plastic bottles will leach a little of the chemicals into you or yours every time a sip is taken.

Stainless steel bottles are not all created equally. I love double-walled construction as they keep cold beverages cold and hot beverages hot for the good part of a day. I swoon over these particular bottles both for quality, design AND the company is an eco-do-gooder. Colours and sizes for everyone. #Love

Single-walled stainless steel construction is a less expensive and a safe option for parents who worry their kids might loose a bottle. It won’t be quite as effective however at keeping water cool through a trip to the park on a hot day or keeping hot cocoa hot while out skating in January. Perfect for school though and the price tag may be more palatable. My favourite in this single-walled category is by this Canadian company. And their insulated thermal containers are great for the smallest of students.

Glass is non-leaching so a good option but can be heavy for little kids and some parents do worry about breakage.  My favourite glass bottle is tough to break and the silicone cover comes in fun colours kids love..

Food Containers:

Food grade stainless steel containers are hot right now on back-to-school wish-lists.  Kids love the coloured lids of this fab high quality stainless gear. And never waste another penny on polluting one-time use plastic baggies by opting for organic cotton ‘baggies’ or snack packs. And you will be able to ditch plastic wrap forever as many of these containers can be used in your fridge for leftovers.

In the end reusables are good for you, the environment and your student so it’s best to get on board!