The kids come home from school properly propagandized about the benefits of recycling and why we should be saving the Earth; and yet a significant source of our contribution to the garbage dump seems to be packing lunches and snacks. When I go in to be a helper parent, on the one hand I’m impressed with the number of reusable containers, and on the other hand, I’m saddened by the number of zipper baggies, single use containers and disposable utensils, yes, even in my own children’s boxes.
I may never make one-tenth of the progress Beth Terry of My Plastic-Free Life (formerly Fake Plastic Fish) has made, but I continue to look for ways to reduce our negative impact on the environment. I have spent a small fortune in various products in an attempt to reduce our dependence on plastic baggies for packing up lunches for school, but let’s face it, there is something very convenient about those plastic bags. They are quick, they don’t have lids to lose and they always fit. And most importantly, they don’t seem to flummox my husband. I’m not being snarky, the man is brilliant, but trying to get him to understand a system like the bento box lunchboxes or other collections of different sized containers with lids at 6 am or getting him to understand how they all go into the dishwasher or come out of the dishwasher matched up is akin to him explaining the rules of football to me – he’s tried for 20 years and it still hasn’t taken. Then there was the reusable flat wrap sandwich wrapper none of us could ever figure out. Doing the right things isn’t always easy.
However, if you ever needed a reason to try to do the right thing, just watch this Seas of Plastic video demonstrating firsthand the impact of all plastic bags on our oceans.
Enter Posh Pouches. If you can use a plastic baggie, you can figure out how to use these! Posh Pouches are bags of various sizes made of a cotton exterior and lined with Polyurethane Laminated (PUL) white fabric or white UNCOATED ripstop nylon and then sealed at the top with a one-inch thick Velcro strip. The liner is only attached on the top hem, so you can pull it away from the outer pouch to rinse it off if necessary. The entire pouch is hand or machine washable — line dry. Both types of pouches are meant to handle things like messy sandwiches, but nylon is not waterproof at the seams, so they advise using the PUL pouches for things like wet bathing suits. They are free of lead, BPA and Phthalates. Posh Pouches can be used for many things beyond lunch bags (diapers, diaper wipes, wet bathing suits, cosmetics and so on) and come in a variety of sizes, but I have purchased their square sandwich size and small rectangular “snack” size for my kids (and myself). Though the Velcro strip is quite strong, with some practice, the kids have learned how to use the pouches and have learned NOT TO THROW THESE AWAY! They rinse clean quickly and so far mine have not retained any food smells. (Note, Posh Pouches would probably not make Beth Terry’s list due to the use of nylon and polyurethane.)
There are fabric patterns to suit all tastes, including young children, older children, and even for Mom or Dad to put in their lunches for work. Prices vary by size from $8 – 20 and are available on their web site.