Hey Laura, what’s an earth friendly, cost-effective way to “brown bag it”?

Kristina writes:

I brown bag it every day at work.  I put everything in a cute reusable bag (one that I think you gave me, actually), but I don’t have any small reusable bags.  I waste a lot of plastic baggies on packaging my sandwiches, carrot sticks, and whatever else.  How can I keep things clean, cute, and fresh with less waste?
P.S. I’m really not all that interested in bento boxes.

Wonderful question, Kristina! I was actually just researching this for myself the other day, so I have a bunch of resources for you. I can absolutely point you in the direction of clean, cute and fresh food-keeping. Oh, the cuteness that abounds nowadays in reusable snack and sandwich bags! Just you wait and see.

You said you’re not all that into Bento boxes, but I’m going to throw a couple options out here for people who might want their sandwiches in particular to not get crushed. Reusable bags are great; smooshed sandwiches, not so much, right?


Hardcore protection for sandwiches
The old standby offers Tupperware Sandwich Keepers - nothing sexy, but they’ll do the job.

This set of four Everset Sandwich Boxes is about the same price as the two Tupperware ones, and you get nicer colors.

Although it is teetering dangerously on the edge of Bentoism, the LunchBots Eco Stainless Steel Lunch Container is a good option for non-square sandwiches or undressed salads (it’s not leakproof). It measures a generous 7x5.5x2.


Incredibly cute reusable snack and sandwich bags
I really like the clean, bright, more grownup look of Lunchskins 6.5 inch square reusable sandwich bags. There is also a more limited line of 8x7 inch Sub Bags for bigger sandwiches.


ReUsies makes a sandwich bag + snack bag matching set. Their snack bag is 6x5 inches - big enough for a sandwich, and the sandwich bag is 7.5x6 inches.


An alternative to sandwich bags is a Sandwich Wrap. Made of BPA-free plastic they fold around your sandwich and velcro in place. Despite the child-oriented name,  I think Kids Konserve Food Kozy has more mod, grownup looking options than Wrap ‘n Mat sandwich wraps.


The real goldmine for stylish reusable sandwich and snack bags is, of course, Etsy. I have spent hours on Etsy poring over the options and actually that’s why I haven’t purchased any yet; there are so many wonderful choices, I got overwhelmed!

Here are some of my favorites, but feel free to just run a couple searches for “reusable snack bag,” etc. The features I look for in a snack bag are a 1/2 inch (at least) wide velcro closure clear across the mouth of the bag, gussets in the bottom for easy access to corners, and a wipeable waterproof lining. (Some of the options below deviate from my normal search; I was going for a variety of styles here!)

- Midnight Kisses Lunch Sack Set - a classy black and white flower set of 1 sandwich bag + 2 snack bags, for only $12 plus $2.75 for US shipping.

- Starling Lunch Kit - gusseted kit includes a big sandwich bag and 2 snack bags. $19 + $1.85 US shipping. (This is the set I have nearly ordered several times.)

- Butterfly snack bag - recycled hemp and organic cotton with a pretty red and white butterfly decoration. It is unlined - meaning you wouldn’t really want to put a PB&J in here. $6.99 + $3.60 US shipping.

-  Choose your own bag color and stencil design with these nylon-lined custom canvas snack/sandwich bags. $8 + $1.50 US shipping.

- These Reclaimed Wrapper zip baggies are hilarious and fun, and some of them could definitely work for snacks! Between $7 and $10, plus shipping.

- JBstyle‘s shop has a collection of very unique fabric choices - most of them are incredibly whimsical although there are a few more straightlaced ones. Prices are about $7-8 per bag.

- LoveForEarth‘s shop offers some straightforward, solid color zip-up sandwich bags. They’re made completely from nylon, not just nylon lined, so they have a different feel than the other natural fabric choices. Between $6-9 apiece, plus shipping.

- I recommend getting a bag that closes with full strip of velcro across the mouth, but if you want a foldover style, OrganiLuxe has some very nice - but unlined - patterns. Between $7-8 apiece, plus shipping.


Well, there you have it, Kristina; I’ve opened up the Etsy wormhole for you. Have fun choosing! I’d love to hear what you end up with.

Hey Laura, I think... Hey Laura, what’s an earth friendly, cost-effective way to “brown bag it”?

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