Roundup of the best reusable snack bags and sandwich wraps that are perfect for zero waste back-to-school lunches and on-the-go snacks.
Back in the day, the lunch I brought to school was pretty standard: a sandwich, a piece of fruit, some crackers or chips and a couple of cookies (if I was lucky!)
Why Bother with Reusable Bags?
Environmental: For environmental reasons, it’s pretty obvious that switching to waste-free packaging and using less plastic is a smart idea. A few plastic baggies a day might not seem like a big deal but over time those bags add up to major pollution – in landfills and in oceans – as I’m sure you’ve heard. One stat you may not have heard: More than one million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide. That’s crazy!
Food safety: Chemicals from plastic can leach into your food – especially food that is oily like cheese or when the plastic gets warm. A plastic-free bag is your safest choice!
Cost: Let’s do the math: Say a plastic ziplock bag costs 5 cents and a reusable snack bag costs $6. It would take 120 plastic bags to equal the same cost as a reusable bag. Given an average of 180 school days in a year, you’ve easily made up the cost in one year. But a well-made reusable bag will last you many years – so a reusable snack bag is a slam dunk cost savings!
The cool factor: Pulling a snazzy snack bag out of your lunch is fun! With so many fun fabrics available – from cute animals to bright flowers to modern graphics – there’s something for everyone!
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Favorite Reusable Snack Bags
Reusable snack bags are available in so many sizes. I use small snack bags for foods like pretzels and other dry snacks or carrots and other cut veggies. A lined bag is best for grapes or cut fruit. A larger bag is perfect for sandwiches or longer items. Not only are snack bags great for lunches but they are awesome for travel too – I always take a couple with me on trips!
Here’s what I look for in a reusable snack bag:
- High quality, durable fabric (not too thin), with strong stitching
- Lined with food safe nylon (not 100% necessary but it’s easier to clean)
- A strong velcro closure or a durable zipper if you need to make sure food won’t spill out
- Organic cotton is better for the planet (but not as widely available)
- Silicone bags (like Stasher Bags) are very durable, are made from a non-leaching type of rubber and are most similar to plastic ziplock bags
- Easy to hand wash in hot water or toss in the washing machine or dishwasher
Reusable food bags come in many different sizes and nowadays you can find them everywhere from Target to gift stores, and from Whole Foods to your local grocery store. If you can’t find what you want locally, there are tons available online.
Now that my boys are teens, I’ve had to drop some of the cutesy kid bags out of rotation, and we lean more toward basic prints and solid colors. Personally, I love the bold, fun graphics like Lunchskins or some of the Etsy shops listed below!
Here are a few of the best reusable snack bags to choose from – including cloth bags, zippered bags, silicone bags, beeswax bags & more.
Whether you are searching for the best reusable snack bags for toddlers, or reusable snack bags for school or plastic-free sandwich bags to bring to the office, I’ve got you covered!
Reusable Sandwich Bags and Sandwich Wraps
Sandwich wraps are the perfect solution when you need something small for a sandwich instead of a bulky food container. Plus they double as a placemat for lunches on-the-go!
The 3 primary materials I’ve seen for reusable sandwich wraps and bags are:
- Cloth – Similar to a snack bag but a fabric square that folds up and seals with velcro
- Beeswax Wrap – Cotton fabric coated with beeswax that is self sealing (the beeswax sticks lightly to itself when folded)
- Plastic – Safe #4 plastic (BPA and phthalate free) with velcro closure
Here are a few of the best reusable sandwich bags and sandwich wraps to choose from:
DIY Reusable Snack Bags
If you’re the DIY type, it’s easy to make your own reusable snack bags. Check out my popular handmade snack bag tutorial on the blog!
Sustainable Disposable Bags
There are times when reusable food and lunch bags just aren’t possible – like school field trips for instance. In that case, look for sustainable, plastic-free food bags made from compostable materials instead of the usual disposable baggies.
- Lunchskins makes some nice disposable food storage bags
- If You Care makes compostable paper snack and sandwich bags.
- HoldOn makes plant-based, zippered compostable sandwich bags.
Do you have a favorite reusable snack bag or sandwich wrap?
P.S. If you’re into planet-saving reusable products – check out more of them here: reusable products on Mindful Momma.