Pack an Eco Friendly Lunch With These Four Tips

School lunch made in usa
A typical bagged school lunch contains a sandwich (in a plastic baggie or  wrapped in plastic wrap),  and usually 2 or more store bought, individual serving, pre-packaged items like a yogurt, a bag of apple slices and a package of crackers or cookies . Also included is a juice box (with a plastic wrapped straw) or a bottle of water, a spoon that is thrown away, and a paper napkin. At the end of the lunch, nothing is left for the student to take home- everything goes into the trash, EVERY DAY!  Multiply this by the number of students who bring their lunch to school and that is A LOT of garbage… garbage that can be eliminated and replaced with American-made products. Follow these four steps for an Eco friendly lunch that leaves less waste. 

Pack an Eco friendly lunch with these Four Tips

Don’t miss our made in USA lunch gear source list that includes American made lunch bags, and all the containers, reusable bottles, and utensil you’ll need for an Eco friendly school lunch!

Tips on packing an Eco friendly lunch1. Replace those paper bags that are tossed after each use with an Eco friendly, re-usable lunch bag. It is getting harder every year to find lunch bags made in the USA, but there are some out there! Check our list here.

2. Use reusable lunch containers or bags instead of plastic baggies, plastic wrap or aluminum foil.  Also, you can save money AND make less trash by purchasing the regular package size of snack items instead of individual pre-packaged snack sizes.

3. Instead of purchasing water or juice boxes (by the case) that will just get thrown away,  pack that drink in a re-usable bottle.  The use of just one re-useable bottle can save so much waste!

4. Stop purchasing paper napkins and disposable utensils and invest in cloth napkins and re-usable forks/spoons.  You could also pick up silverware cheap at yard sales or use old odd and end pieces.  Etsy offers a great selection of handmade cloth napkins in patterns that kids will love. Support small American business!

For more Eco friendly living tips, don’t miss the following USA Love List articles





About The Author

Post by Tracey Hanson

Tracey Hanson is the USA Love List Green/Family Living Editor. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest


  1. We use all eco-friendly, reusable containers in our reusable lunch bags. I also bought a bunch of cheap silverware at the Dollar Store just for lunches!
    My recent post What you should be shopping for now… Floral denim for fall!

  2. Michelle F says:

    I love all the great tips.

  3. Nicole Sender says:

    I use cloth napkins and re-usable containers for my lunches. I also carry my lunch in an insulated lunch bag.

  4. I love being able to wash and reuse prodcuts. Thank you for promoating and passing the word on about made in the USA.

  5. Hi! I just bought the Laptop Lunches Bento Box and you are right…it does not fit in any of the lunch bags I already have. Has anyone found an insulated lunch bag that is made in the USA and that fits the box & a 9oz LifeFactory bottle. Every bag that I have found is made in China.

    • Tracey Hanson says:

      Hi Sunshine! Thanks for the comment! I just updated this post and I did find an insulated lunch bag made by Hero bags. The size says 12″x 10″ by 4″ so it MIGHT fit the Bento Box (which has a size of 9″x7″x2.5″)

  6. I bring my lunch to work most days. I much prefer metal silverware. I have a small set of secondhand stuff that I use for this purpose.
    Latest Post: Five Cool Things Made in CanadaMy Profile

  7. Debbie Welchert says:

    What great tips. We do buy extra silverware at the thirft stores here and I like to use reusable products that can be washed.

  8. Great tips, thank you! I am trying to find thermos-style containers made in the USA that can keep soup hot for my toddler. Have you found any such things?

  9. Looks like the insulated Hero Bag is no longer available. Anybody found any other resources for insulated bags?

    • Tracey Hanson says:

      Hi Martha, I have been working on updating this article and have added Planet Wise insulated lunch bags. I am still on the hunt for more options!

  10. Thanks for the Fantastic Review on Four Steps to an Eco Friendly School Lunch + American Made School Lunch Gear Source List! These are some really terrific suggestions! We use re-usable containers for the kid’s school lunches. We are not big into baggies or water bottles to be thrown in the trash! I really love some of these items and will have to definitely check them out! Thanks so much for sharing your fantastic review, all the great pictures, and your personal and professional opinions on Four Steps to an Eco Friendly School Lunch + American Made School Lunch Gear Source List with all of us! I truly do appreciate it! Thanks again! Michele 🙂
    Latest Post: Giveaway: New Cow Tales Crispy Moo Bars – Enter To Win a Back to School BundleMy Profile

  11. How about Tervis? Was thinking about getting a Tervis tumbler for my son.

  12. Tamra Phelps says:

    I see some nice options here. My nephews would love that camo print! And I’m fascinated by bento boxes. I want every one I see, lol.

  13. Hey Tracey.. Very nice tips for school lunch box ideas. Also, I have seen Martha is looking for insulated lunch bags, I would refer you to check Mitz Accessories for more options.

Something to Say?


Include my latest blog post.