Stop creating plastic waste with single-use packaging, and switch to one of these reusable options instead to decrease your family's footprint.

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eco lunch bags
Credit: Lunchskins/Amazon

Baby carrots in one plastic bag. Pretzels in another. A third for the PB&J. A family of four throws out 103 pounds of plastic bags, wrap, and sacks a year—equal to 6,867 plastic grocery bags!

And most curbside recyclers don’t accept these bags, so they’ll end up in landfill unless you bring them somewhere else for recycling. (You’ve got good intentions, but will it get done?) Switch to a bento-style box instead, or try these options:

stainless steel containers in a stack with red, green, and navy lids
Credit: Jeffrey Westbrook

Stainless-Steel Containers

Pick up several different sizes, like this set of three from U Konserve. “My third-grader and my fifth-grader have different colored containers, so if one forgets their job to clean out the containers, he can’t blame his sibling,” says Kristin Koskinen, R.D.N., a mom of five in Kennewick, Washington.

bumkins eco sandwich bag with arrow design
Credit: Jeffrey Westbrook

Eco Sandwich Bags

If your preschooler has trouble opening containers, try cloth snack or sandwich bags for dry snacks, like puffs. Bumkins sells them in cute patterns like the gray and white above.

bees wrap sandwich bag with blue pattern and brown button
Credit: Jeffrey Westbrook

Bee's Wrap

It sounds a little out there, but Bee's Wrap washable sheets made from organic cotton and beeswax are seriously adorbs for toting sandwiches, muffins, or hard-boiled eggs. The sandwich wrap comes with a button-and-string closure that holds everything in place.

“My kids think they make food look like little presents,” says Mallory Wanless, a mom of two in Spring, Texas.

paper sandwich bags with blue sharks
Credit: Jeffrey Westbrook

Paper Sandwich Bags

For those times when you need a disposable bag (what, you forgot to turn on the dishwasher?), fall back on LunchSkins sealable paper sandwich bags. After lunch, your kid can toss them into the school’s recycling.

Parents Magazine