First off, WHY did I choose a stainless steel lunchbox instead of plastic or glass?
We all know that plastic is terrible. It's made from petroleum, lasts forever, breaks down into tiny 'nurdles' which are eaten by fish and then us, leaches toxic chemicals in our food and causes a crap-ton of pollution. I wouldn't even say that plastic containers are convenient; in that they NEVER get rid of the food smell (ick), are gross to clean and I never heat my food in plastic. The only aspect of plastic that is nice is it's lightweight.
Glass would be a wonderful alternative if it came in stackable and attached lunchbox forms. We use a lot of anchor glass containers for food storage (fridge and freezer) and when I have extra foods I bring for lunch. They require less energy to create, are made from renewable and are a completely recyclable resource. Plus you can heat your food in them. The downside- they may break, and I haven't found attachable 'lunchbox' forms yet.
So- stainless steel it is. You should know that stainless steel does require quite a bit of energy to mine and form. Depending on where and who, the steel could have been mined in a destructive manner (think razing mountains). So, in order to get your environmental benefit from this lunchbox, you need to use it.
Alright, down to the nitty gritty. This is where I wish I had done some research before my impulse-buy at P'lovers. My lunchbox is a Zebra. I LOVE the convenience of having something that holds my lunch and is ONE unit with a handle. It's SO easy to clean and displays my 'Plastic Bags Blow' sticker very well.
However. I *wish* I would have bought a different lunch tin. Therefore I will tell YOU about my wish list lunchbox (sigh).
Life Without Plastic. The company is Canadian and they do quite a bit of research on all the products they carry. They carry a variety of options and there are some pretty similar lunchbox containers to mine. They also carry this AWESOME wool insulated bag that Beth Terry from Fake Plastic Fish reviewed glowingly. Seriously, how cool would that be?
My favourite by far, the 'To-Go Ware 2-tier Tiffin'. If you're in the states, you could order directly from the To-Go Ware company.
Why it is so beautiful:
- It's stackable with a handle, made from high grade stainless steel.
- BEST: each container can function on it's own! (Currently my lunchbox only shuts with BOTH containers attached. I need an elastic to only bring one section). Seriously, you have no idea how convenient it would be to have the option to bring only one.
- It has a plate and little sauce-nut-extras tins and is dishwasher safe (if we had one that would be cool... currently we have 'Dishwasher Andrew').
- According to the To-Go Ware website, the top section can hold liquids!! (Currently, mine leaks all over the place...).
-Also according to the To-Go Ware website, these tins are made in Mumbai India, is certified ISO for human rights and environmental protection.
Lessons learned from using a stainless steel lunchbox:
- Consider whether you could actually use each section separately. You're not always going to have two different foods to bring for lunch.
- Stainless steel doesn't keep things hot or cold, BUT having a cover would help.
- If there isn't a plastic-rubber seal around the edges, really check the tightness of the closure. If you like liquidy things, find something with a really tight seal.
The biggest lesson: you can't reheat steel in the microwave... so you'll need to remember to bring a bowl or plate as well. Although this 'may' seem like an extra step, I actually really like eating my lunch out of a bowl from home. If I'm lazy, I'll just bring my reheatable stuff in my glass anchor containers.
I heart my lunchbox, and have used it consistently over the past year. Once you get through the 'new habit' stage it's just as convenient as gross icky plastic.
There you go! I hope that was helpful and that you'll take the leap into the ridiculously awesome world of stainless steel lunchboxes. :)
Happy Weekend! (upcoming: an update on my community yoga group!)
article and photos copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com