An alternative to plastic wrap

Education reporter Angie Mason linked to a New York Times article today on the Cram Session blog, reflecting on a push for eco-friendly lunches.

I read her post and the article, and it reignited the battle in my mind over plastic wrap. I dutifully bring my lunch to work on most days, and I’ve been better in the past year about using reusable glass containers for leftovers, sliced fruit or salads. But I deserve a big fat F for my sandwiches and wraps, which consistently get covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. There have been debates over which is greener, but the fact remains that I throw away the sheet after I finish my lunch.

I’ve thought, off and on, about using a square of fabric instead, and closing it with a safety pin. My sandwiches aren’t particularly messy, and that way I could wash it when I’m done and reuse it. I could have a collection of five so I’d last the week.

But then the other half of my brain chimes in: “What if there is some chemical in your detergent that interacts with your food and makes you sick?” I suppose I could hand-wash them instead, perhaps with dish soap. But I haven’t made the jump yet.

And so I turn to you for some much-needed advice — have you found alternatives to plastic baggies, plastic wrap and aluminum foil? What do you use to pack your lunches?

Sarah Chain

I'm an avid reader and book lover living and working in downtown York. Follow me on Twitter at @sarahEchain.

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3 Responses

  1. Ray Dietz III says:

    Sarah, I use wax paper to wrap sandwiches. It’s completely bio-degradeable and cheap to boot!

  2. Hi Sarah
    One of my co-workers slipped your article into my mailbox! I work at Memorial Hospital in York and live in Lancaster. I have a product you will LOVE….it’s called a POSH POUCH! Here’s my story!

    We are two local Mom’s who are currently worried about what the world will be like for our children. With times so tough, we were originally focused on saving money, but then we thought, why not save money and the earth at the same time! One day we started thinking that for every year our husbands go to work, and our children go to school, we use 1400 plastic baggies. We originally felt like this could be our easy way to contribute to a greener earth, to help reduce! Now, we realize this is our responsibility to our children, and their children. Our idea started at our kitchen tables in 2008, as a craft between two friends. The first bags were not pretty! We used burlap! Our children complained their snacks were fuzzy!!! We desperately searched for a way to solve that problem and found a water resistant liner and a great way to hold the bag closed!
    Today…hand made in Lancaster, PA in our homes (and those of a few friends), a Posh Pouch is a reusable bag that can replace hundreds of plastic bags over its lifetime. The exterior is made of 100% cotton designer fabric and the interior is lined with a water resistant Polyurethane Laminated Fabric that we had tested and is free of Lead, Phthalates and BPA’s. The pouches are water resistant and can be used to carry wet bathing suits and wet foods with ease. To clean a Posh Pouch, simply turn the liner inside out, shake out the crumbs and if needed, wipe with a damp cloth. They can also be machine-washed and line dried if they get really messy. The pouches close with a one inch velcro strip across the top.
    There are too many uses for Posh Pouches to list them all, however, here are a few of our favorites! A Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Bag, A Snack Bag, A Lunch Bag, A Sunglass Case, A Make-up Bag, A Sandwich Bag, A Sunscreen Bag, A Wet Swim Suit Bag, A Pool Change Bag, A Sports Snack Bag, A Keep Your Camera and Cell Phone Sand Free at the Beach Bag, A Stuff With First Aid Items For Your Car Bag, A Crayon Bag, A Pencil Case, A Fill It With Ice To Make A Boo Boo Bag, A Coupon Bag, and sooo much more!
    Did you know that over 1 million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide? Each reusable bag purchased can eliminate the potential use of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. We started production at our kitchen tables…alternating houses so our 2 sons wouldn’t trash the same house in one week. Our goal is to reduce waste, especially in school lunches. We take pride in our vow to keep our product handmade and local, with all of our materials MADE IN THE USA. We have been featured on Sara Snow’s Blog, Pink and Posh Blog, on two different local News Channels, and named Doer of the Week by Martha Stewart!!!
    We do fun, educational and unique fundraisers for schools and other organizations. We also do online shopping parties where you can earn free pouches. We sell wholesale to Eco Boutiques and Specialty Shoppes.
    We hope you like our pouches as much as we do. There is a purpose for each and every one of them! Thanks so much!
    Stacey and Julie
    Posh Pouches, LLC

  3. Hi Sarah,
    I work at GreenLine Paper Co., and we offer environmentally friendly products. Our local store is in downtown York at 631 S. Pine St. We have a product called a Wrap-N-Mat, a reusable sandwich bag. These remarkable cloth sandwich bags are reusable and machine washable. They become a placemat when opened! We also offer unbleached paper snack and sandwich bags lined with greaseproof paper, recycled aluminum foil, and compostable and biodegradable containers and kitchenware, along with an array of other environmentally friendly products. Check out our website at

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