Updated August 27, 2012
Back-to-school time, and that means packing lunches -- and plastic baggies or other throwaways just won't do anymore. We've rounded up some good-looking, eco-friendly lunch boxes that your kids will be excited to open up each day.
1. Planet Boxes are sleek, stainless steel lunch boxes that come with magnets that kids can stick onto the surface to doll 'em up. (Different sets, such as "Rockets" and "Retro Kitty" are available so your child can mix up the look.) Five differently sized compartments keep sandwiches, fruits, veggies, dips and other foods separate, and a zip-up carry bag, made of 100 percent recycled plastic, is available to hold a cold pack and water bottle. They look great, and they're 100 percent non-toxic.
2. The Oots! lunchbox is fitted inside with containers that fit neatly into the outer box -- and there's space under the elastic strap to hold a water bottle. The upright design and hard shell keeps food neatly in place (no smooshed sandwiches!), and three cool color combinations will keep discriminating kids happy. The lunchboxes are made of pthalate- and BPA-free polypropylene plastic, contain no lead, and are dishwasher/microwave safe.
3. Laptop Lunches' bento box systems come in a variety of styles, from the slim backpack-friendly "Bento Pack" for older kids or adults to a child's kit that features small and large containers (including one for dip), stainless utensils, an inner lid to keep food from leaking, and a patterned insulated carrying case. Materials are pthalate-, BPA-, lead- and PVC-free; are dishwasher-safe, and made in the U.S.
4.The Land of Nod's Lunchies come in sweet animal shapes -- an owl (pictured left), dog, monkey, mouse, penguin and bee -- and comfortably hold a light lunch for smaller kids. The bags are insulated, feature an inner mesh pocket and clipping handle, and are free of all the nasty stuff -- pthalates, BPA and lead.
5. Dabbawalla's lunch bags are machine washable -- that means no more scraping ground-in food off the inside of a bag before packing it. The flexible lunch bags are made from lead-, PVC-, and pthlatate-free eco-sponge, a stain-resistant and insulating fabric, and come in 11 colorful designs. Each bag holds several lunch containers and a small water bottle.
The company's smaller lunch sacks come in two designs, are constructed out of the same material and are made to fit into a backpack.
6. Need something to store a sandwich or handful of chips in? Enter Wrap-N-Mat's sandwich wraps and pouches, which are made out of colorful, food-safe cotton polyester fabric. The wraps are large enough to hold a sandwich or cookies, while the pouches are constructed to hold chips or other snack foods.