Creating a Zero-Waste Lunch via Kids Konserve

This post is by my friend Megan.  Megan writes about reading and writing books for kids and teens on her blog megwrites.  I love her recent posts about finding time to write and read, as well as this recent post on building your child's library on a budget (which could also have been titled: how to build an eco-friendly child's library).  She also posts original short stories and book recommendations.  She will one day be a famous YA author, so be sure and check out her blog so you can say you knew her way back before she was published.

As an avid Eco-Novice follower (emphasis on "novice"), I've been making small green goals for myself and my family. It's all about baby steps, right? At the beginning of the school year, I set a goal to create zero waste lunches for my first grader. No more ziploc bags! I wanted to go mostly plastic free and 100% BPA free. At first I was overwhelmed by all the millions of options: steel lunch boxes, BPA free plastic containers, bamboo forks and spoons, hand sewn highly decorative snackbags...Who knew the world of environmentally- and kid-friendly lunch containers could feel like such an impossible-to-navigate deep dark hole? Not only were there a multitude of options, I didn't really want to spend my non-existent retirement money on creating the perfect lunch set for my six-year-old. However, I was willing to spend more than I would normally fork out in order to get something long lasting and high quality.

After spending way too long perusing various offerings online, I decided to go with Kids Konserve. I bought one water bottle, one set of three nesting stainless steel containers, one set of two stainless steel containers, and one set of five food kozies (and yes, it was painful for me to write konserve and kozies instead of conserve and cozies--ah, advertising speak!). To reduce costs, I found a coupon code for 15% off on a blog (it was a back to school special) and, instead of purchasing a lunchbag, my daughter decorated a canvas bag we already owned with fabric markers. I ended up buying more than I initially planned on, because I realized the containers and kozies would be perfect for my husband's lunches as well.

Are you curious to know how each purchase has panned out, now that we have been using them for almost the entire school year? Read on!

Kids Konserve water bottle:

I've been happy with this water bottle, but I don't love it. It's very affordable for a stainless steel water bottle. It doesn't feel quite as thick as the Klean Kanteen water bottles, which are my favorite, but it is a step up from the cheap-o stainless steel water bottles that seem to be everywhere now.

If I could go back in time: I'd buy a Klean Kanteen water bottle (hopefully on sale) instead.

Kids Konserve Nesting Trio Stainless-Steel Containers with Leak-Proof Lids

Kids Konserve stainless steel containers:

I couldn't be happier with these. They are sturdy, durable, and easy to clean. The plastic lids fit snugly (no leaking) and are easy for kids to remove themselves. I plan on using these for years to come.

If I could go back in time: I'd buy these again in a heartbeat.

Kids Konserve Orange 5-Pack Food Kozy

Kids Konserve Food Kozy:

I am decidedly less than thrilled with this purchase. Out of the five kozies, the velcro patch has fallen off two of them. Also, the plastic seems to have somewhat deteriorated--there are worn looking patches in the design, which concerns me. Finally, I've decided that I'd prefer to find something that's not only BPA free, but plastic free for wrapping sandwiches.

Broken Velcro patch

If I could go back in time: I'd try to sew some sandwich wraps instead. Or find them some on Etsy (using the Etsy Reusable Bag Spreadsheet of course!).

Good luck as you try to find your way through the maze of environmentally friendly lunch products!

Thank you for that awesome review, Megan!

Readers, what are your best tips and favorite products for waste-free lunches?

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  1. Great post. I really like the Built lunch bags. They keep things cold and hot and yet don't take much room in my backpack. I'm not sure how eco they are but they seem good? I think all you can do is try to make little changes bit by bit.

  2. It's so important to review products after you've used them for a while, not only when they're brand new!

    My son started using a Planet Box lunch kit this year. The box itself, and the two stainless steel containers for wet foods, are wonderful and holding up just fine. The zippered bag that holds the box is not as great. It's showing some wear (though I bet we can make it last another year, if not two) and it has grooves that are almost impossible to clean of the crumbs and peanut butter that get in there almost every day because he likes to eat with the open box still inside the unzipped bag.

    We haven't tried any of those reusable sandwich wraps. When not using the Planet Box, we put sandwiches in liner bags saved from small boxes of cereal or crackers (reuse until dirty, then throw away) or reusable food-storage containers. But most containers I've seen that are sandwich-sized are plastic.

    For my own lunch at work, I bring leftovers in Corningware or Pyrex containers or old salsa jars. I have a neoprene bag that is BuiltNY brand; I naively assumed that meant it was made in New York, but it's actually made in China, but it's a good bag and has held up well for 3 years!


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