Roundup of 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!) The lunches I pack for my two boys are pretty similar but with one main difference: I use reusable lunch containers and reusable snack bags and sandwich wraps instead of wasteful disposable bags.
Why Bother with Reusable?
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!
I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. Full Disclosure
Favorite Reusable Snack Bags
Snack bags are available in so many sizes. I use small bags for snacks like pretzels, carrots or grapes. Large reusable bags are 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:
- 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 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 are very durable, are made from a non-leaching type of rubber and are most similar to plastic ziplock bags
Nowadays you can find snack bags in many gift stores and natural food co-ops and stores like Whole Foods. 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 the Lunchskins or some of the Etsy shops listed below!
Here are a few of the best reusable snack bags to choose from:
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 sandwich wraps are:
- Cloth – Similar to a snack bag but a fabric square that folds up and seals with velcro
- Beeswax – 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 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!
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.