August 24, 2010 10:44 ET

Retailers Report Sustainable Lunchware Is Hot Green Trend for BTS 2010

LAFAYETTE, CA--(Marketwire - August 24, 2010) -  With back to school around the corner, is encouraging everyone who packs a lunch to calculate the savings of switching to waste-free lunchware. 

"There are multiple bottom lines," says Sandra Harris, founder and CEO of, a San Francisco Bay Area green business specializing in no-waste lunchboxes. "When we green our lunches, the environment and our pocketbooks are both winners."

An average U.S. family spends about $400 extra on disposable lunchware and creates about 4,320 pieces of trash unnecessarily, according to the Lunchbox Waste Study by ECOlunchboxes.

"Over the last three years, we've seen interest in sustainable lunchware growing exponentially," said housewares buyer Erin Urano of Natural Grocery Company, which has stores in Berkeley and El Cerrito, Calif.

"At first, there was a run on stainless steel water bottles, but now our customers are demanding stainless lunchboxes, cotton lunchbags, no-plastic snack sacks, cotton lunch napkins and other new eco lunchware items that are coming to market," Urano said. "I predict that Back to School 2010 is going to be a watershed year for this category."

An ECOlunchbox Kit, which includes a lunch bag, a stainless food container and bamboo spork, "is a great way to add green to your daily routine and reduce your family's exposure to plastics, fumy vinyl and other contaminants such as lead and BPA," says Harris, a mother of two elementary school age children.

When ECOlunchboxes was born in 2008, awareness around contaminants in plastics and the importance of waste-free lunching was just emerging. But consumers today have become very aware of the importance of protecting their families by selecting lunchware that is muck-free.

"Our distribution in the United States as well as in Canada and Australia has really expanded in 2010," Harris said, noting that EcoTrend distributors in Canada as well as Naturally Sustainable distributors in Australia carry the ECOlunchboxes line. ECOlunchboxes is currently seeking distribution in Europe.

"We are hearing from our buyers that there's an overwhelming trend toward sustainable lunchware and we're delighted to be a part of it," Harris said.

Harris designed the backpack-style ECOlunchbag, which is shaped like the kraft paper bags used for generations and includes three matching cloth napkins. Her purse-style ECOlunchette includes one napkin. The colorful lunch bags are machine washable, sewn from artisan block-printed cotton and are designed for children and adults.

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