August 11, 2009 12:20 ET

How ECO Is Your Lunchbox? New SF Bay Area Company Offers Natural Lunchware

LAFAYETTE, CA--(Marketwire - August 11, 2009) - 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 here," says Sandra Harris, president of, a new San Francisco Bay Area green business. "When we green our lunches, the environment and our pocketbooks are both winners with reusable lunchware."

Harris has designed the handmade "ECOlunchbag + 3 Matching Napkins" for children and adults. The colorful lunch bags are shaped like the kraft paper bags used for generations, but they're machine washable, sewn from artisan block-printed cotton and can be carried as a backpack or hip bag.

"I was tired of using so much plastic and concerned about its potential health effects on my family," explains Harris, a mother of two elementary-age children. "I decided to develop a lunch kit made from tried-and-true natural materials: cotton and steel."

The lunch bags with napkins are for use with the stainless steel food containers and bamboo sporks thereby eliminating the need for plastic baggies and other throw-aways.

"When people stop to think about what they're spending on lunch throw-aways, it surprises them," Harris says. "When you look at the financial and environmental costs, it becomes obvious that switching to a litterless lunch like our ECOlunchbox Kit makes a lot of sense."

For families that rely on throw-aways, Harris says it can be motivating to figure out how much they are spending when considering whether to buy reusable lunchware instead for back-to-school this year. calculates that a typical family with two children and one parent packing lunches uses about 9 plastic baggies daily (sandwich and two sides per person) at a cost of roughly 6 cents per Ziploc baggie, adding up to 54 cents spent daily on plastic baggies. That adds up to about $11 monthly and $132 annually. Other "lunch math" to factor is the additional cost of paper napkins, disposable utensils, juice boxes and pre-packaged foods.

"It's easy to see that families are spending hundreds of dollars annually on throw-away lunchware while filling up our landfills tremendously in the process," Harris says. "ECOlunchboxes makes sense environmentally and financially."

ECOlunchbags and ECOlunchboxes are available at select Whole Foods, REI stores,,, and other retailers nationwide.

For waste-free lunch facts, go to

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    Sandra Harris