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Every day, I pack my son’s lunch. And every day, I heedlessly throw a bagel into a plastic bag and seal it up. It’s easier for him to use than the many other washable lunch containers out there, which means it’s easier for him to eat a filling meal and not come home fully hangry.
And yet, I felt so gross knowing that 6.3 billion of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic that have been produced to date have become plastic waste, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances. Of that, only 9 percent has been recycled.
I try to do my part by using beeswax food wraps, but those require cleaning, and as a single working mom, sometimes I just don't have the energy or the foresight.
And then, I discovered BioBags. They’re made from a resin derived from plants, vegetable oils and polymers, according to the brand’s official site, which means they are compostable. In an ideal setting, they won't live forever in a landfill or an ocean.
BioBag Resealable Compostable Sandwich Bags, $8, Amazon
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Also available at Jet.
Parents, I know what you’re thinking. Are they dinky, feeble baggies that rip apart the first time you use them? No. Not in the least. I use them to pack the aforementioned bagels, fruit slices, pretzels, chips and more. They seal right up. And they withstand the rough and tumble of little hands grabbing them. They come in a variety of sizes, but I use the ones made for sandwiches.
One thing to note: BioBags will decompose if they’re in an actual composting facility — meaning, once exposed to air. However, because most landfills in this country are what is known as air-locked, they don’t decompose as they would in more natural settings. BioBags are certified compostable, according to the US Standard ASTM D6400. Yes, it’s convoluted and a mouthful, but at least with these, you know you’re doing your little bit if bags are your bag.
Lunchskins Recyclable + Sealable Paper Sandwich & Snack Bags, $7, Amazon
Also available at Target.
In my quest to use less plastic, I also stumbled on these cute and durable paper bags, which have sweet red apples (or sharks) on them. They're grease-resistant paper bags, are fully recyclable and compostable, and fit a sandwich like the proverbial glove. But they sell out fast, so I've learned to order in bulk. And even if you load your turkey sandwich with leaky mayo, the bags don't fall apart.