Lunchware has taken a stylish turn over the last few years but in 2019 our appreciation for all sorts of environmentally friendly boxes and bottles is growing, as we realise the lifeline it’s thrown our wounded world.
Globally, we produce the unseemly amount of 335 million tonnes of plastic per year. Half of it is single-use – this shameful mountain of waste is made up of water, Coca Cola and smoothie bottles; sandwich, pasta and salad boxes; and, of course, millions of monstrous plastic bags. Almost all of us will buy at least one of these things this week, and most people will buy, use and bin them every single day.
Plastic pollution poses the second, possibly even bigger, issue. Surfer’s Against Sewage, who campaign against just this, estimate that eight million pieces of plastic enter our oceans each day. One plastic bag is used for approximately 15 minutes but will take 100 to 300 years to fragment. Just one plastic bottle will last a massive 450 years, floating in the sea. Then, even though it has been broken down into microscopic pieces, it will never completely disappear. Shockingly, scientists have recently discovered microplastics embedded deep in the Arctic ice.
Lunchbox manufacturers have been fighting the good fight for a long time, and up-and-coming brands are now leading the charge by introducing ultra-eco materials or super-fun designs to encourage you and your families to put down the Pret packaging and start strutting your packed lunches for the health of the environment day in, day out.
The One for Salad-Meisters
A natural look that hints at the product’s virtuous qualities (and, by association, yours too), this bamboo tuck box from BambooCup (sold by &Keep) is crafted from sustainable bamboo fibre. A handy compartment divider and sauce box (perfect for your salted almond sprinkle, tzatziki accompaniment or Caesar dressing) make it a deluxe option for gourmet home-made lunchers, and an airtight silicone seal makes the faff of an elastic band unnecessary.
The One for the School Run
Little lunchers won’t want mum or dad carrying their lunchbags when they’re gifted one of these snazzy traditional-style Tyrrell Katz designs. They’ve thought of everything. Even educational illustrations to read as they munch. An insulated lining keeps food fresh, as well as reinforcing the bag so that it can endure any amount of rough and tumble. There is a name label on the reverse, an adjustable shoulder strap so it can be carried satchel-style, or, with top handle clips, it can be attached to another bag or a buggy. Inside, the mesh pocket will hold an icepack or cutlery and the velcro strap will secure a drinking bottle. All-in-one and just for them. Light their eco-friendly fire young – it’s their world we need to save!
The Designer One
Franco-American duo Bruno and Boo Louis launched Ekobo to create eco-friendly design products that are safe, friends of the earth and plastic-free. Its Biobu bento lunch box is sleek and functional, made from biodegradable bamboo fibre with two interior compartments that can be removed for extra space. For flexibility and design finesse, its unrivalled. If you’re not into neon yellow, it also comes in blue, peach or black.
The One for All
Rex London has manufactured every re-useable food storage vessel you can dream of, from coffee cups to bread bins and everything in between. Choose between the bamboo or bento version of its lunch boxes, the latter of which also comes with re-useable cutlery and multiple compartments. Its bamboo boxes may not be microwaveable but they are dishwasher safe, and the extensive range of quirky designs are sure to be welcomed by your kids – whether they’re prep school pupils or eco-savvy university students. Cacti prints bridge genders and generations – they’re even a winner with Grandma.
The One that will Feed the Family
These About Town adult lunch bags by Nicky James come in six different bold, colourful prints with matching bottles too, but practicality is what makes them a winner for an entire family eating on the move for dinner. Fully insulated to prevent the food turning funky throughout the day, it has a wide zip top opening for easy access in an emergency and is made form water-resistant, wipe-clean-coated polyester. Plus it’s large enough not to restrict the size of the meal (read: feast) you have in mind.
The One with a Wellness Twist
Everyone by now – we desperately hope – owns at least one reusable water bottle. But let’s take things one step further. Made from hand-blown borosilicate glass with a natural cork and silicone stopper, the Eau Good Glass is not only saving the planet but your body too. It comes with a protective neoprene sleeve, a stainless steel coil to secure charcoal in place, and – its crowning glory – a Binchotan charcoal filter. The Japanese have been purifying their water with charcoal for centuries, as it adds minerals (such as calcium) and removes chemicals (such as chlorine). If odd tasting tap water has always thrown you from following the valiant way of the eco-warrior, this is for you: tap water that tastes bottled, without the pesky plastic problem. Voila.
The One that will Change your Mind
Not sure that joining the eco-crew is for you? Chilly’s pride themselves on being able to change the habits of even the most addicted of Starbucks’ loyal followers. Firstly, their products do their job better than what you’re using at the moment. Constructed with advanced double wall vacuum technology, your water will be kept cool for 24 hours, and your coffee far hotter and fresher than that single-use cup can manage. Plus, a recent partnership with Emma Bridgewater mean that if the metallic sheens or bright colours don’t do it for you, the limited edition ones will.