This is a follow up to this post, where I let a little bit of my hippy hang out. Where I talked about my passion for water and our ocean. My passion for cutting down on one use plastic and trash. This post talks a lot about that. I promise it isn’t preachy. I also promise it has lots of good info and links. You should check it out.
To refresh, one of the things I spoke about was how I cut down on the amount of trash I sent to school in lunchboxes. Really the amount of trash we sent everyday for four kids was REDONKULOUS. So I started the last school year with re-usable lunchboxes. When I wrote this post, I hadn’t found my perfect system, so I linked to several lunchboxes that I had seen online or used personally. Upon a friend’s recommendation, I linked to these lunchboxes. The founder, Caroline, got in touch with me and asked if I would like to try one out.
This was in April. And the reason for this entry. I had to follow up and share what works for me. We have used it every day that we make lunch ever since. It is that good. FYI – I am not getting paid for posting about this lunchbox. I just love it, and I plan on buying one for each of the kids.
This is why I love it:
Easy to wash – One of my problems with a lot of the re-usable lunch boxes out there are the individual pieces you need to wash everyday. With four kids, there were days I was washing 16-20 individual containers and lids. Um, no thank you. With Planetbox, there are no separate containers, and yet the food stays separate.
No weird taste – I was worried it might leave a metal taste on the food. It doesn’t.
It’s not geared just towards children – the look is great for older kids or adults – a lot of the bento boxes and re-usable lunchboxes on the market are geared towards the younger crowd. My middle school kids can take it.
No leaking – the strawberries don’t leak into the chips. Liquid items can be placed in one of the extra containers.
(FYI – We also still use our contigo water bottles – they have held up and only needed one lid replacement in all this use. Highly recommend those suckers as well.)
Anna is currently the one who takes the Planetbox to school. She is asked quite often about what the lunchbox even is, which is great. She is not an adventurous eater, so her lunch always includes a turkey sandwich and jalapeno chips. The last two large openings are typically used for fruit, but sometimes I throw in a muffin, or another crunchy snack. The tiny square in the center is perfect for a surprise treat. I love that little detail. I often throw in a few mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, or a tiny little cookie or candy.
I am teaching my children why we do this, and they will teach their friends. They will teach their children. I didn’t just hand them a snazzy new lunchbox, I told them WHY. Kids LOVE to have a cause – they want to help the world. At the beginning of the last school year, we dedicated time, money, and energy to make these changes, and I am proud to say that at this point, I send ZERO TRASH TO SCHOOL, SIR! I have not sent one water bottle, not one plastic bag, nothing. I know it is expensive to start out – but in the long run you save money on all the snack items, baggies, and bottles you used to buy. It really is worth it. In my other post, I shared more information about other options for lunch, water bottles, and food storage – it is worth checking out if you haven’t read it before.
You guys, I REALLY want to keep trash out of the ocean. I REALLY want to keep plastic bags and plastic bottles out of our landfills. They never, ever leave. It hurts my heart when I see plastic bottle caps in the sand at the beach. It is so sad to see all the trash that makes it’s way to the cans at lunch everyday. Sandwich baggies, carrot baggies, cookie baggies, chip baggies, water bottles, gatorade bottles, etc etc etc. It is such a huge sad waste of our resources. Just buying those things in bulk and choosing re-usable lunchboxes, bags, and water bottles would make so much difference for our world.
And it is actually pretty fun to pack lunches this way, it’s kind of like playing Tetris, so. Double bonus.
Some questions in the comments that I wanted to address here.
Do the chips or bread get stale?
My kids are VERY picky about food quality and I haven’t heard any of them complain about that. And trust me, they would.
Could a young child open and use the box?
Yes – I asked Anna if she thought she could have used this in Kindergarten and she said yes. The metal handle that you pull down doesn’t have much resistance. The hinge opens easily.
Can you send liquid items?
The lunchbox can be purchased with some extra containers they call Little Dippers. There is a pocket on the outside that they can slip into, or they can be put inside in the largest opening. There are photos on the website.
Perfect for my husband! I have been looking for something new for him – his lunch box is reusable but requires a ton of extra containers. And once my girls start taking lunches they will get one too! Thanks so much for sharing!
I would LOOOOVE to get this for Adele but i’m pretty positive it would be lost/stolen within approximately 3 days.
What if I wanted to put pudding or dressing in one of those spots? would it leak? Seriously would buy one if if it didn’t…
TARA!!! I didnt know you were a BENTO mama too!!! Just when I think I can’t love you anymore.. there you are!
Megan you can buy containers with the Planetbox – they are called little dippers – check them out on the website. :)
We bought two sets of snapware from costco, the ones that came with the neoprene bag to put them in. My daughter is in kindergarten and is obsessed with saving the earth, I love her. She has lectured people in public for not recycling. . .and because of her we often take our “trash” home with us so we can put it in our recycling bins if they aren’t available where we are.
I’ve always wanted to try one of these, I cannot imagine using all of our little snap containers for four kids, I would go insane. Her school was adamant that the kindergartners needed to be able to man their entire lunch on their own, and I would love to know if you think a 5 year old could open the planet box.
I started bento lunches with Reese this year. Like you, I haven’t sent a single plastic bag or bottle to school with her yet this year – no trash at all from her lunches. We have a Goodbyn bento which tends to leak. I will have to check out Planetbox.
Melissa – it is VERY easy to open. The lid opens with a very easy hinge, and all you have to do is push/pull a small silver handle down in order to unlock it. I asked Anna if she thought someone in Kindergarten could do it and she said yes.
Tara, thanks for sharing this. I’ll be placing orders for the whole family. Both of my kids, my husband and I pack along our lunches: much better food, less expensive, and to your point, zero waste. I’ve been using a variety of bento boxes and like the LapTop Lunchboxes from Obentec very much. However, the individual containers can get a bit fiddly in the dishwasher; I hand wash the outer boxes. Planetbox looks like even easier. Thanks again.
This is brilliant. I am stuck in the million lid and container warp and my grade one son told me the other day that sometimes he has to stand in line to ask someone to help him get his lids off :( Gorgeous Tara. Thank you!
Slater has this lunch box and it’s the best:)
I was also on the hunt for something not geared only toward children. I tried looking locally but came up empty handed and ended up with a few pieces of tupperware for his sides and plastic baggies for his sandwich :( It’s all I could fit into his bag. Thank you for the review! We will be buying one(for now)!
I have cut out using ziplock baggies and brown paper bags for these that I found at etsy…have had these for 2 years now and they still are going strong!
I am in my second school year of “bentoing”. Aside of all the baggies I am not using I love that it inspires me to think “outside of the box.”. I have found that I am packing more whole healthy foods and less pre packaged junk. It is a big win for everyone. My kids went from why can’t you use baggies like everyone else to coming up with fresh ideas they wanted in their bentos and fun cute ways to pack them. Their friends ask if I can teach their mom to make bento lunches. I may have to add this system to my collection. Thanks for sharing!
I love our Planet Box! My 8-year-old loves it! All his classmates think it is cool, too. Totally worth the price. I haven’t created any plastic waste with school lunch this year. And our 12 oz Klean Kanteen fits perfectly in the outside drink holder.
Love, love, love the concept but totally bummed that they are made in Taiwan (which the US largely recognizes as a part of China – as do the Chinese) and the magnets in China. Although the website says they’ve partnered with companies that treat their employees and the environment ethically, if the lunch boxes arrive in America via ocean freight, the pollution from the ocean liner alone is devastating to the environment. The pollution from one cargo ship produces as much air pollution as millions of cars (check out treehugger dot org for an article about it). I’ll stick to my US made thermos lunchbox and reusable containers. The more we buy products of any kind from countries overseas with very little environmental conscious, the more we ultimately disturb our environment and our economy.
I really really like that. Totally checking it out. Thanks for sharing! (we love contigo water bottles too. they’re the best!)
Hi Danica, I hear where you are coming from, first and foremost. But the issue of buying local isn’t what I am choosing to focus on at this time.
It is great you are ONLY buying Made in the USA. But I am not there yet.
Me using this lunchbox creates pollution, I get that. So does driving my SUV. (I have four kids, I need a larger car than most people. Oh no, I had four kids. There I go polluting again.) ;) There is SO MUCH to do, and only so much I can ACTUALLY do. I think a lot of people get frozen in the knowledge that there is too much to do. I am actually asking people to choose just one thing. To find their passion with just one small thing. Just one small thing they want to change. If you read my previous post it might make more sense where I am coming from.
Even with these lunchboxes coming over to the USA on an ocean liner, they are helping the future generation deal with less amounts of trash. I don’t think we need to take away from this company helping eliminate trash.
Is it “better” to eliminate pollution or trash or ? or ? I don’t know. I am just going with what I feel passionate about. I think all of it helps.
Okay. First off, do you always make such fancy sandwiches for your kids lunch? Will you pack me lunch? My kid is lucky to get a bag with beef jerky in it.
Secondly, I love the idea of this lunch box, even if it is, heaven forbid, made in Asia, because it seems retro.
I loves me anything that harkens back to my grandparents day.
I love you Miss April. You always crack me up.
Yes I always make those fancy sandwiches. Only it isn’t really all that fancy to slap on some mayo and turkey and cut a french roll in half.
I love that her lunch looked almost the same every day. My kids’ planetboxes are that way. Every single day, it’s the same basic thing: two mini bagels (pb or cream cheese, depending on kid), sliced apple, another fruit of some variety, and whatever treat we are having at that time. Girl scout cookie, hershey’s kiss, tiny cookie.
Our planetboxes are almost 2 years old and still like new. The cases will have to be replaced soon, but they have taken a beating. My favorite part is washing them. So easy and fast. Before these we were doing washable plastic containers, one for every food, and I hated it.
Totally get where you’re coming from Tara, didn’t mean to bust a bubble or soap box in my comment. Totally love where you’re headed, and you’re absolutely right there is way too much to do (and it does all need to be done eventually). For now though, every little bit helps!
Love this! Thank you. My kids go to a environmental magnet school and this is perfect. I greatly dislike the wrap-n-mats and if i do send baggies, i reuse them all week long. This is perfect. I’m heading over to get one now!
I am just impressed she likes jalapeno chips. And a little jealous of those strawberries.
Just bought the Goodbyn for my 5 year old. I saw it on your post last year. Thanks for the heads up and getting the word out how important it is to save our resources! Have a very Merry Christmas!
Love this! Great idea! Everyone should get one! Is it available in Canada?
i am proud to say that we don’t produce much waste at lunch time either. i have been making nylon bags for my kids to bring their sandwiches and snacks in.
I love this post! Last year for neighbor gifts I made reusable shopping bags. Lately I’ve been thinking of all the little snack bags I’ve been using for my 3 year old. I’m hoping by 2011 I’ll stop buying plastic baggies/ziplock.
i am thrilled you posted about this. my son will need to take a lunch next year and i just showed him the video. he is so excited. i love how you said you have talked to your kids about it instead of just sending it with them. i can’t wait to order these for my two kids. thanks!!
Excited to try this – my son has lost half of the lids for his Laptop Lunches box.
I love that lunch box. Problem….please come over and make me a lunch like that.
You know wrappings like plastic wrap/rubbish that food is packaged in is banned in LOTS of Australian schools. For those that are ‘hoping’ to ditch wrapers or ‘can’t imagine’ doing it – just stop buying that individually packaged food (9 times out of 10 it’s crap anyway). Many schools don’t even have rubbish/trash bins here..seriously! And they are the cleanest tidiest schools you could ever find! They have recycle bins and compost heaps only.
YES. I am going to tell Santa about these.
have been in the market for something like this…wanted to know if the juicy stuff like strawberries or grapes spills and drains into say the chip and sandwich slots???? my kids would not tolerate mushy bread. :) hope all is well. P.s. i’m totally doing bernard! love that!!!!!!
Thank you for great suggestions on lunch box. I love that because since my son start school last September I had started doing less trash lunch and I bought container from easylunchboxes.com and the container break easily (it comes with 4 with 4 lids) and now down to two. I am looking for long lasting and many sides in one place instead of separate containers. I agree about environment is important. I am in environmental science in college right now and learned so much about trashy in water is a biggest problem and we need to reduce that one and everywhere too.
I’ll tell you why I love this…I started using my Contigo bottles when you mentioned them so long ago. I use them EVERY DAY. I like to keep water around with me all day so it makes it easy and plentiful, plus I wanted the healthy aspect of it (stay hydrated!) We use them for practices because they clip so easy on our sports bag. Second, I started using those snack taxi lunch and snack sacks. I bought a set for each of my three kids and use them EVERY SINGLE day as well. Such a money saver, earth saver and a conversation starter :) Thanks for the great ideas that WORK!
I read you previous post on lunches and followed the link to planetbox. They looked so convenient that I ordered 2 sets (planetbox, little dippers and carry-case) right away. My son and I have used them every day since then and they are fantastic!! The food tastes great and stays fresh. We have strawberries a lot and have never have problem with juice leaking into sandwich compartment.
I know four little girls who are getting these for Christmas :) LOVE the idea of less waste and less pollution and am SO with you on focusing on one issue at a time….we cant change the WHOLE world all at once but we can do little things to help and that is what I admire SOO SOO much about you ;)
We have had our planetbox since March and LOVE it. My daughter was TWO when she started bringing hers to preschool, it worked great for her. I find myself wanting one as well–you are SO right they are good for ALL ages!
I’ve had a PlanetBox since August and LOVE it and so does my four year old in preschool. It washes so easily in the dishwasher and we’ve not sent any ‘trash’ to school even once with this box. I get asked about it ALL the time on the playground and the other moms love it too. I often put animal crackers or Ritz in them the night before and every time I’ve tried them at 8am they’ve still been crunchy. I love the two round containers for dips, yogurt and applesauce. Best thing I bought in 2010 by far!
you know i love, love, love, love, love seeing you spread the word! i personally use a mix of LunchBots from The Green Life and glass containers, but can totally see how these rock for kids.
there are so many different elements on the green movement + rarely can you appease all facets at the same time. personal health, local community / “shop local”, fair trade, handmade, reducing waste, reducing chemicals, etc. i get really nervous when people criticize that you aren’t hitting all the facets in 1 product, because it makes people feel they’ll never be able to do enough. we should embrace all efforts + continue to work on the next step. we should all do our best then take on a new area of life.
my only note would be to be careful with quality when buying food-related items from outside the U.S. due to lesser standards or practices. for scott to carry a line like that at The Green Life, the stainless steel must be ‘food-grade’ and feature independent testing on it. just an FYI.
keep living the green life + talking about it!
Well, if I needed a lunchbox I would buy this one – HOW AWESOME! I’m one of those crazies that refuses to let my food come into contact with plastic so I would be sending Mr Chiots and kids with these (if I had kids and if we worked outside of the home). I’ll keep this in mind for gifts for friends with kids & hubbies.
wicked! here in canada, we have weekly compost pick-up, recyclable pick up and a limit of 1 green garbage bag of garbage. the kids have to bring litterless lunches to school and they’ve even eliminated high-sweet, high-fat bought foods/drinks in our school system.
these containers are awesome! i love the leakless part! there is nothing worse than a strawberry soaked sandwich!
Thansk for sharing.
Ha, I thought everyone sent reusable boxes to school for lunch. Duh, what was I thinking? We had a kid over the other day and he had his own lunch. 4 bags and a drink box later and my trash can was full. I wish I could bring my own box when I hit the fast food. Talk about filling the trash! Ugh!
I like how you told your kids why you do this. That thought never occurred to me. We’ll have a chat this week and talk about the why. Thanks for writing you crazy hippie ;)
I came across this blog recently, http://wendolonia.com/blog/ and it has great ideas for bento style lunches for kids. Nice for inspiration. I rely on PB&J too often…
I bought this lunch box for my 8-year-old son at the beginning of this school year and we absolutely LOVE it. He eats more and much better food at lunch. It’s expensive, but I think it’s worth it. Absolutely worth it.
Leave a comment