How can I make a reusable sandwich bag/lunch box?

Following on from yesterday’s lunch box post, I thought we might have a week of lunch themed items because a) I love lunch, mmm, lunch and b) it is often a lot more wasteful than most meals because most people tend to be away from home, with limited catering facilities and so are more likely to resort to pre-packed snacks.

To save money and to avoid packing landfills with even more plastic sandwich packs, people are encouraged to take their own packed lunches with them to work – but without a bit of pre-planning, that can easily lead to a lot of packaging waste – plastic bags, cling film/saran wrap, foil — and that’s before starting on any specially bought single serving items.

There are a number of different bento box style lunchboxes on the market – a set of reusable containers which fit neatly inside a carry case – perfect for snack-size portions of different items. If you’ve already got a stash of small plastic tubs (either purpose-built or reusing resealable packaging), you can use these as inspiration to make your own bag. Perhaps even one that can fit onto your bike

If your lunch isn’t quite so complicated, a reusable sandwich wrap/bag might be enough – Julie from Towards Sustainability has been experimenting with making a reusable lunch bag for her daughter.

What have you done to cut down packed lunch waste? Have you made your own sandwich bag/wrap or lunch box? Do you regularly reuse packaging from other food items — like bread bags?

What do you do for drinks? Have you bought a purpose-built water bottle or do you reuse an old bottle instead?

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11 Responses to “How can I make a reusable sandwich bag/lunch box?”


  1. Lynsey says:

    I use a bog standard lunch box for my elder daughter and will do for my younger daughter too when she starts school in September. I don’t however use anything else in there that can be thrown away – I use a simple cloth napkin/serviette for wrapping up my daughters sandwich and I use small boxes for fruit/veg etc.

  2. I use a big airtight Lock&Lock food storage container that I got at the office Christmas gift exchange and put small pudding cups/sauce bowls/candy containers in them for fruit, raisins and such. This way, I buy my raisins and nuts in bulk and not in single-serve packets. Also, those plastic ‘trays’ that some of our biscuits and snacks come in are pretty useful as food separators (I can stand my sandwiches up in them!) and salad trays. The higher the sides, the better, so the food doesn’t fall out and mess up my lunchbox. Lidded pudding bowls are great for pasta and rice dishes. I also use Tic Tac containers as salt and pepper shakers.

  3. GSKathi says:

    My sister got me a wrap-n-mat for my birthday several years ago http://www.wrap-n-mat.com/about-us-i-5.html
    They’re super cute, and easy to clean. I just wipe the vinyl side with a soapy sponge to clean it, but I believe they’re safe for laundry/washing-machine (just watch the velcro tabs). Of course, I don’t usually use it for gooey-squishy-leaky sandwiches. Those go in a reusable plastic container with a sealable lid. I use it most weekdays in the spring and summer, and it shows no signs of wearing out.

    Also, I got a soft-sided lunchbox to celebrate getting my new job, and with a little care, it’s lasted 7 years already.

  4. Ara says:

    I saw in the other blogs that you can sew and make your own reusable lunch bag. It was very easy and the steps were in detail. You can follow simply and I love the idea. But if you want to buy a reusable lunch container, you can google it and check for durable and safe lunch pack container. You can also check Happy Tiffin site. They offer stainless steel containers which are stylish, safe, portable, flexible and eco-friendly. The only difference of the stainless steel container to the reusable cloth is that the stainless steel won’t stain, or wear out as well as hold odors.

  5. Lizzy says:

    Imagine…you rush into Pret a Manger or another such place at around half past twelve, you eagerly dash over to the sandwich refrigerator on the left hand side of the restaurant and look at the third shelf, only to find that your favourite cheddar and salad sandwich has sold out completely. However, all is not lost , because you notice a little sign on the edge of the shelf, declaring that if any sandwich is sold out , their chefs would be happy to make another one for you. Boldly, you walk over to the counter, where an Italian-looking employee has just finished off an order for two large Cappucinos and freshly baked oat cookies. You ask him if he ‘pretty please wouldn’t mind making you a sandwich’ . As he replies ‘of course’ in his lightly lilted Italian accent, you withdraw a clear plastic box from your bag, which looks as if it may have been a strawberry punnet or the like, in a past life, and ask him if he wouldn’t mind putting it in there rather than using more packaging.
    * * * *

    As you walk out of Pret with your Cheddar salad sandwich in a re-used strawbeery punnet, you feel a great sense of satisfaction.

  6. Peter says:

    I use an empty cigar box with a latch as a bento box of sorts. It looks very classy and I get lots of comments on it! The plastic baggies on the inside are still a bit of a problem though… I try to reuse them when I can.

  7. Rose says:

    I use soft reusable lunch bags and stainless steel water bottles. I purchased greentime reusable sandwich and snack bags by Greentime Creations to use for my lunch instead of plastic ziploc bags. I love these! http://www.greentimebags.com/
    I pack my lunches at night and they are still very fresh for lunch the next day. I also use cloth napkins, so my lunches are always waste free. Another thing is I always make sure the items I use are BPA, lead and phthalate free.

  8. Rose says:

    I use soft reusable lunch bags and stainless steel water bottles. I purchased greentime reusable sandwich and snack bags by Greentime Creations to use for my lunch instead of plastic ziploc bags. I love these! http://www.greentimebags.com/
    I pack my lunches at night and they are still very fresh for lunch the next day. I left chips in them for three days one time and the chips were still fresh. I also use cloth napkins, so my lunches are always waste free. Another thing is I always make sure the items I use are BPA, lead and phthalate free.

  9. Hi,

    Good to see that so many are thinking of reducing lunch waste. If you are interested in waste free lunches come along to My Friendly Lunchbox (http://myfriendlylunchbox.co.uk/) and join the lunchbox revolution. We like packing lunches that is good for us and the environment.

    Anna.

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