Today we’re talking all about the best Eco-Friendly Back to School Products! Our hope is with this list, you won’t have to wade through all of the increasingly overwhelming options out there, saving you time and energy for the things you love to do most—PLAY with your kids!
One of our goals here at Fed and Fit is to love the planet through all that we do, and while we’re not perfect, we’re always looking for ways to improve, especially when it comes to decreasing our consumption of single use plastic. Think about packing your kiddo’s lunch 5 days a week for the entire school year with single use plastic, and how much we could decrease that if we had some eco-friendly back to school products that allowed us to REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE?!
Plastics are made to last FOREVER. They don’t biodegrade, but rather continually break down into smaller and smaller pieces over time. They naturally contain ingredients that are toxic to both the human system and our environment including things like flame retardants, BPA/BPS (and other potentially equally toxic BPA substitutes), and phthalates. Plastics can spoil our wildlife, contaminate our water supply, and so much more! None of this information is meant to be scary, but rather to empower you to make some quick, easy swaps to minimize your plastic footprint as much as possible. Let’s dive into our some of our favorite ways to switch to safer with this Eco-Friendly Back to School Product list!
Our kiddos will be carrying around these bags for a few years if we can find a good quality one that is built to last. Let’s check out two of our favorites for their emphasis on environmentally friendly construction.
- PlanetBox—The Jet Pack Backpack is AWESOME. It comes in several designs and colors, can be paired easily with a PlanetBox lunch box (we’ll share about that below!), and best of all it’s made with such mindful construction! All of their products are free from lead, phthalates, and BPA, and this bag is specifically made from recycled plastic bottles. Can it get any better?!
- So Young—These backpacks are exactly what I would want to take to school now as an adult if I had to go back (but please don’t make me go back!). They are incredibly clean, fun prints made remarkably well. All of the backpacks are made from linen, which is derived from the flax plant. This is particularly cool as most flax plants can be grown without pesticides and require 90% less water than other fibers—SCORE! They are also PVC, phthalate, lead, and BPA free as well! BONUS: They have both grade school and toddler sizes to choose from!
Another staple of the school year, your kiddo will need something durable, easy to clean, light-weight, and free from potential toxins, and we have two great options! Bento boxes are the easiest way to pack a lunch with multiple components, and we have two really neat stainless-steel suggestions for you!
- PlanetBox—Again back to one of our favorite safer options! PlanetBox has three size selections to choose from according to your needs, but we recommend splurging on the “Rover” model as it can grow with your kiddo, and is totally an appropriate size for adults too! This lunchbox is going to be on the higher end in terms of cost options, but here’s why we think it’s a worthy investment. It’ll LAST through the school years with your kiddo, it comes with two additional dipping containers, and a FREE changeable magnet covers you can change out each year as your kiddo grows. It’s dishwasher safe, certified non-toxic, has a 5 year warranty, AND is free from lead, PVC, phthalates, or BPA materials. Can I get a heck yeah?! BONUS: They offer several bag options to transport your bento box in, including Carry Bags, Sleeves, and Wraps that have a variety of colors and designs to choose from based on your needs! All of the options are certified non-toxic as well. We just purchased a PlanetBox Rover, with Car Magnets and a Carry Bag for our son to use this year at school, and I don’t foresee us needing another lunchbox for the rest of his school years!
- Lunch Bots—Lunchbots is another FANTASTIC stainless steel bento box option! We love that there are so many sizes to choose from, dipping containers, and insulated thermoses. I’d again recommend going with the larger size, the Bento Cinco if you want to invest in a box that will grow for the long term with your kiddos. These run a little bit less than the PlanetBox options for those on a budget, though they aren’t quite as customizable with fun design options. These are all made out of food grade stainless steel, contain no linings, no toxins, and are BPA and phthalate free! BONUS: There are also fun sleeves and carrying cases for your kiddos to transport them in style!
Our favorite plastic-free water bottle is the Pura Stainless Water bottle for a couple of reasons. It is currently the only 100% plastic free bottle on the market that is also Non-Toxic Certified through MADESAFE. We also love that it’s designed to grow with your kiddo as they grow by offering a variety of plastic-free, food grade silicone spouts for every age! From bottle nipples, to sippy cups, to straws, to sport tops Pura is focused on reducing consumption and waste by offering products that grow with your kiddo. You can also get fun colored sleeves to make each bottle unique for multiple kiddos! BONUS: We LOVE that their straws are wide enough for smoothies, and spill proof to boot! We searched far and wide for the perfect kiddo smoothie vessel and we found it!
Now that you have the essentials for all your school and lunch time needs, let’s talk some fun, earth friendly accessories!
- Stasher Bags—I am OBSESSED with Stasher Bags. There’s so much to talk about here, I’ll try and keep it brief. One of the biggest ways we consume single use plastics are Ziploc baggies. The average school lunch will use about 3 plastic bags a day that will get thrown away after use. Multiply that by 5 days a week for the entire school year and you’re looking at one kiddo using over 500 plastic bags a year! Stasher bags are a certified B Corporation which I LOVE (meaning they go above and beyond from their sourcing, employment, packaging, and mission to ensure safety and quality), they offer a product that is better than anything out there currently on the market (they’re silicone is one level ABOVE food grade quality), and their resusable bags are so versatile—they can be microwaved, used for sous vide, placed in the oven, and a pot of boiling water up to 400 F. They’re also naturally BPA/BPS, lead, latex, and phthalate free. They are THE gold standard for resusable bags! You can order them on Amazon here!
- Bees Wrap Natural Food Wrap—This is yet another amazing and healthy alternative to single use plastics. Bees Wraps can be used to wrap around a piece of food or a bowl or casserole dish much like cling wrap. It’s made from GOTS organic cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax from the USA, and organic jojoba oil and tree resin. It can be resused for up to a year, and can be washed and used again and again. It’s an incredible product and gorgeous to boot!
Check out three of our favorite safer ice pack options below!
Finding high-quality food grade yogurt pouches that aren’t made out of plastic isn’t easy, but these reusable pouches are great way to package your favorite yogurt!
- Squeasy Gear (these are made from 100% food grade silicone and free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates)
There you have it friends! All of our favorite Eco-Friendly Back to School Products, created with you and your family in mind. The amazing thing is that there are so many companies out there working to bring you environmentally conscious, nontoxic products as awareness grows about what things like single use plastic are doing to our environment and personal health. The best way you can help to move the needle forward in this industry is to vote with your dollars and choose sustainable whenever possible. We love our earth and are so thrilled to create this resource to help you navigate this switch to safer. Let us know what some of your favorite safer back to school brands are in the comments below! If you’re looking for back to school friendly lunches, be sure to follow our series this month – focused on healthy back to school options like this Loaded BLT Egg Salad.