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From EEK! To ECO

ECOlunchboxes

Easy tips from ECOlunchbox for adding ECO to your lunch box - and removing yucky toxins and waste! EEK!

Teaching children the importance of sustainable practices from an early age empowers them to become environmentally conscious adults. In our journey toward a greener and more sustainable world, it's crucial to reassess the everyday items we use at lunchtime and beyond.

You've probably already made all kinds of swaps to make your lunchtime more eco-friendly, right? But maybe there are a few easy tune-ups you've missed? There are plenty of ways to upgrade your lunchtime routines to dramatically reduce exposure to plastic toxins and the amount of trash you generate. 

Wherever you are just starting your eco journey at lunchtime or you're an old pro, there's always room to take a closer look at seemingly insignificant lunchtime habits and dial in more learning and growing of plastic-free habits.

So please join us at ECOlunchbox in celebrating the plastic-free lifestyle at lunchtime and learning more about how to take your child's lunchbox from EEK! to ECO.

EEK: BPA-Free Plastic

We've all heard about the dangers of BPA (bisphenol-A). This chemical widely found in plastics mimics estrogen, so it can cause all kinds of hormone disruptions. Plastic companies have done a switcheroo and in order to label their products BPA-free, replaced it with BPS. Is the replacement, BPS, any better? The letters stand for Bisphenol Substitute and it's just a different estrogen-mimicking substance. Sadly, some researchers believe that BPS's is even more toxic than BPA.

ECO: Reusable Stainless Steel

Metal is awesome for foods, right? Yes, this is true when it comes to stainless steel, which is non-toxic, lighter weight than glass, non-breakable, reusable, and easy to clean.

Now, hold on before you go reaching for that handy metal aluminum foil as a sandwich wrap. Not all metal is created equal. Too much aluminum in your life can cause a whole host of problems, both short- and long-term. And many pre-packaged foods, such as the juice pouches and shiny metal-looking wrappers used on energy bars, are not actually packaged in metal - it’s metal-looking plastic! Be eco-liciously safe and stick to stainless steel!

Check out our line of stainless steel lunch containers that are best in class when it comes to eco-friendly. Plus ECOlunchboxes will stand up to some pretty tough backpack tosses without cracking or releasing their contents. Or for half of an apple or other cut veggies, try capping the cut side with a Food Hugger (see photo) made from silicone. 

EEK: Blue Ice Packs

Keeping food cool, especially perishables that might spoil, is important, but using a blue ice pack is a poor solution when it comes to sustainability. In our journey toward a greener and more sustainable lunchtime, it's crucial to reassess the everyday items we use and be creative in developing new eco-friendly, non-toxic solutions. Most people reflexively throw in an ice pack without pausing to think about the environmental downsides. Made of plastic and filled with gel beads, sodium polyacrylate and other chemicals, these blue ice packs are not recyclable and end up in the landfill where they leak into the ecosystem.

There's a better solution! Bid farewell to blue ice packs and make way for a more eco-friendly solution: steel water bottles packed with ice cubes! This simple yet effective alternative offers numerous benefits for both the environment and your child's health. 

Steel water bottles are durable and long-lasting, reducing the need for single-use plastic bottles and disposable containers. You're probably going to be packing a drink for your child so why not add ice - an entirely safe and chemical-free cooling solution. Plus, you won't be adding the extra weight and bulk of a blue ice pack in your child's lunch bag, so that's an upside as well.

EEK: Organic Juice Boxes and Snack Packs

Keeping the kiddos hydrated & energy packed is super important as a parent. Grab and go juice boxes and pre-packaged snacks seem like the perfect solution. Right? Many parents will buy organic juice boxes thinking that they are doing a good thing by keeping their kids hydrated with organics. But they don’t realize that these juice boxes really stack up in the landfill. Using a refillable bottle is much better for people and the planet. Plus, you can serve a lot of different drinks - not just juice.

So skip the eek! of aluminium and plastic drink packaging and opt for reusable instead! When you pair the bottles with our stainless steel lunch containers, you go from eek! to eco in no time!

Need a little more motivation to make the switch? Don’t forget that in addition to becoming trash, the juice boxes and sacks are made from either cardboard coated with plastic or layers of aluminum and plastic melded together. Even if these containers or lunch boxes for kids are labelled BPA-free, beware that they may be leaching bisphenols into your child’s lovely organic juice. Eek!

ECO: Good Ole Fashioned Hand Washing

It's a fact of life that if you have small children, you'll probably have a cold running through your household for most of the winter season. It's only natural, to try and keep germs at bay by sending your child to school with antibacterial hand sanitizer. You might think it sounds like a great idea to keep your kids healthier by encouraging them to use the sanitizer to wash their hands and wipe down their lunch table daily. Smart, right?

Slow down, mama. Did you know that many hand sanitizers contain triclosan, a chemical that can lead to antibiotic resistance, hormone disruption, and can actually create a weakened immune system?

Say goodbye to the eek! of triclosan sanitizers and hello to good ole fashioned soap and water. Encourage your child instead to go to the classroom sink or bathroom and suds up during the school day and before lunch. Or, if that's not an option, swap out that drug store sanitizer brand for a natural alternative made from antibacterial essential oils.

Eek to Eco - How to Greenify Your Child's Lunchbox

EEK: Compostable Bioplastics Cutlery

It sounds so deliciously eco to choose compostable cutlery for your child’s lunch. Some of the organic, pre-packaged foods tout super cute bio-plastic utensils, which give parents a good feeling that by choosing bioplastics they’re doing the right thing.

But hold on a sec, how is that plastic going to compost? Who’s going to handle that? Not your local garbage company. While PLA, which is the acronym used to reference plastics made from renewable resources like corn starch, tapioca roots or sugarcane, is recyclable, it cannot be recycled with other types of plastics because it has a lower melting temperature that causes problems at recycling centers. This means PLA should not be recycled with your other curbside recycling.

Choose to reuse instead. For a more eco-friendly solution, pick out a stainless steel spork or bamboo utensil set. Check out our line of reusable plastic-free utensils that fit easily into your child's lunchbox.

ECO: DIY Snacks & Upcycling Projects

Kids love to help in the kitchen, so making your own snack items can be a great screen-time-reducing activity you can do together. And, as a bonus, kids are more likely to eat foods they've helped create! Work together to find recipes they'll love. Use our containers to shop for your bulk ingredients with no waste and get cooking!

If you notice that your community/school is producing a lot of wrapper waste, sign up for Terracycle's free wrapper recycling program. It's a great way to go eco, while raising money for a good cause! You can also use the waste for eco craft projects.

If you're not sure you're making the best EEK! to ECO swap, we can help! Check out our FAQs or contact us and we'll help you choose the right ECOlunchbox product for your needs.

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