Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch
Bringing your lunch with you is greener than buying lunch while out, in no small part because you're skipping wasteful packaging. But packed lunches, can still have wasteful packaging if you're wrapping your sandwich up in Cellophane. A couple businesses at the San Francisco Green Festival are on top of making lunches greener, but they have a very different approach, leaving people to question which one gets the thumbs up, and which gets the thumbs down.
On the one hand, we have Graze Organic. Graze makes super cute little organic cotton napkins and baggies to hold your meal. They're 100% certified organic cotton, unbleached and undyed, without a plastic lining, printed with water based inks, and made in USA. Stellar credentials, except...how do you keep your messier, oilier things from leaking all over everythign else, or staining your cute little baggies? And they're pricey - a set of three baggies runs $24, or a set of 5 is $38.
On the other hand, we have Good Sense's Lunchsense. The collapsible lunch container spreads out to be a place mat/picnic mat, and it comes with plastic containers and a refreezable ice block that all fit perfectly into the container like a puzzle so there's no jamming in containers that don't fit (which I've admittedly done, only to break the zipper on my little cloth cooler). But the plastic containers are simply an addition to containers you probably already have and don't really need. You can get the lunch box without them, but it's still will run you $25 for a box that only stands out from other ungreen competitors in that it unfolds. Where's the green materials? It's lead-free and vinyl-free...but that's about all.
In a way, neither really win or lose because they appeal to different audiences. Someone who doesn't want to look quite so cute and crunchy granola might go for the more generic Lunchsense, and someone who wants something truly green will lean towards Graze Organics.
But one other business with a presence at the festival gets our vote as a great middle-ground alternative: To-Go Ware. The makers of To-Go Ware have a knack for creating cutlery and dishes that are stylish, and sustainable without screaming green. We've talked about To-Go Ware before, so we won't spend more time diving in. And in fact, they're offering TreeHuggers a 20% discount on products until December 31. Handy.
When it comes to pricing, they all pretty much fall in the same realm so it falls to preference. As long as packing your lunch in reusable containers is your preference, we won't judge your lunch pail.
More on Reusable Lunch Containers
Boc'n Roll, the Reusable Sandwich Wrapper Rocks!
Pack Your Lunch Sustainably
Waste Free School Lunch: Yet Another Kit to Help us Reuse
Assembling a (Sustainable) Reusable Lunch Box Kit for $40...is it Possible?