The Clean Lunch Bag is plastic-free, insulated with wool offcuts

clean lunch bag
© Life Without Plastic

It's the perfect answer to the non-recyclable, bacteria-ridden nightmare that are conventional lunch bags.

If you’re looking to buy a new lunch bag, can you hold off for a few more months? A cool new lunch bag is about to hit the market by the end of the year. It’s called the Clean Lunch Bag, designed by the folks at Life Without Plastic, one of TreeHugger’s favorite online retailers. This lunch bag is unlike any other because it’s entirely plastic-free, insulated with wool offcuts from an organic mattress company, and machine-washable.

Why does this matter, you might wonder? Well, there’s a lot wrong with conventional lunch boxes, as explained on the Clean Lunch Bag’s Kickstarter campaign page:

“Plastic lunch bags tend to have a short life and once they start tearing and cracking they expose the insulating plastic foam, which can then start absorbing food leaking into the bag. Because they can't be washed properly, they’re often only wiped clean, which means that millions of bacteria can start colonizing in all those nooks and crannies. And because they can’t be repaired effectively, they have to be thrown in the garbage because there is nothing in these bags that can be efficiently recycled...off to a landfill they go.”

lunch box© Life Without Plastic -- The Clean Lunch Bag, filled with a few of the lovely plastic-free containers sold by its designers.

Life Without Plastic has offered countless plastic-free alternatives for lunch containers, cutlery, and other dinnerware for years, but always struggled to find a decent lunch bag option, which is why it decided to develop its own. Co-founder Chantal Plamondon told TreeHugger over email:

“We are passionate about the environment and trying to raise awareness on the issues of plastic and waste. We also provide affordable alternatives to everyday essentials, and this lunch bag is an important product currently missing from the back-to-school lineup.”

The Clean Lunch Bag features a hemp fabric outer that holds an organic cotton liner, into which squares of thick wool insulation slide, secured by metal snaps. You can add an ice pack inside the liner, next to the wool insulation, to prevent it from ‘sweating’ onto food containers. Because the wool panels are removable, the bag can be machine-washed – a necessary feature that’s surprisingly absent in many cloth lunch bags. Up until now, the mattress company that provides the wool offcuts had no use for this material; it went to landfill.

Clean Lunch Bag, collapsed© Life Without Plastic -- Insulation and liner can be removed from lunch bag, making it easy to store.

Manufacturing will take place in a “small, world-class, family-run, highly ethical factory” in Kolkata, India, which Plamondon said they’ve worked with for years: “We know them well and have visited their facilities.”

A Kickstarter campaign met its initial fundraising goal with hours, but now Life Without Plastic is hoping to reach greater stretch goals over the next four days. (The campaign ends Aug. 25.) Estimated delivery date is February 2018, although it hopes to push this to December. There’s still time to support the campaign!

Tags: Plastics | Recycled Consumer Goods | Reusability | Zero Waste

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