We’re desperately in need of some fresh, yummy gluten-free school lunch ideas so we didn’t waste any time in asking for a little help from our friends!
Finding safer cups and dishes for older kids has been a challenge. We're embarking on an expedition to see what we can find. Our list is growing as we confirm more BPA, PVC, phthalate, and melamine-free options, so keep checking back!
Safer Cups and Dishes for Kids
Urban Trend FunWares
These Urban Trend Funwares products are innovative and unique, and encourage interaction and family unity at the table. While not designed as “toys,” these items help parents get their kids to the table for a little mealtime fun.
Re-play Kids Dishes
Kinderville Bigger Kids Silicone Dishes
Kinderville knocked our socks off with their line of baby dishes, and now they've done it again with the introduction of new eating gear designed for older kids!
EIO Glass Kids Cup
EIO‘s unique design offers the only spill-resistant toddler training cup designed for convenience and health benefits. The Kids Cup is a spout-free, valve-free cup is designed to transition young children properly from bottles to real glass dinnerware.
Fuel Kids Waste-free Lunch Containers
It so easy to go 100% reusable and waste-free with the wide array of affordable Fuel lunch gear! From sandwich boxes to insulated soup containers, Fuel products are simple for kids to use and their unique features open up a whole new world of healthy meal possibilities.
Parents everywhere today are looking for an alternative to plastic dishes. Kidishes are made from tempered glass, which is amazingly durable and safe. They're available in kid-size bowls (5.5″ diameter), cups (5oz) and plates (7.4″ diameter).
Crocodile Creek just launched the cutest and most functional lunch gear! Their new stainless steel drink bottles and PVC-free lunchboxes are the perfect pair for kids on the go.
The one-of-a-kind CaliBowl is perfectly shaped to help toddlers and kids feed themselves without the mess! They're available in BPA-free plastic or ceramic.
The LunchBots containers and kid's dishes are the perfect container for packing a sandwich, burrito, grapes or nuts – your favorite lunch to go. 100% high quality stainless steel (both lid and container) make for a seriously durable and healthy food storage system!
ECOLunchbox Waste-free Kit comes with a bamboo spork, stainless steel food container, sauce container with lid, cotton napkins – all in a handmade, durable carrying bag that can be used like a backpack. The stainless steel food and sauce containers can be purchased separately too.
Thinkbaby Stainless Steel Feeding Set includes a soup bowl and cereal bowl with lid, insulated bento box with snap down, leak-proof lid, cup with handle and utensils.
The Kids Konserve waste-free lunch gear was the natural outgrowth of what two women saw as a big need that required immediate attention. With the premise that any business they undertook had to help the environment in some way, it didn’t take much imagination to see how they, as parents of young children, were contributing to garbage landfills, pollutants and sending the wrong message to their own children.
The lunch kit includes recycled cotton sack, cloth napkin, 16 oz. stainless steel beverage bottle, food kozy, two stainless steel food containers, and recycled aluminum name tag.
The Bambu Kids line has a little bit of everything to make meals safer and more eco-friendly: Disposable Bamdino Plates, Mini Bowls, Spork and Utensil Sets
Thermos continues to pump out safer feeding gear for kids. The FUNtainer Straw Bottles and Food Jars are amazing and in our experience, you just can't top their the versatility, durability and cuteness. We often entice our older kids to drink their water by loading up a straw bottle – it helps keep them from from feeling like they're missing out on those sugary drinks.
Thinksport has turned their grown-up water bottle into a mini me for kids! Just like the adult version, Thinksport's super light weight stainless steel bottle has an elegant design and is easy to hold and drink from. It holds 12oz, is vacuum sealed to keep drinks hot or cold for hours, won't “sweat” and fits into most car cup holders. The new mini me is be the perfect solution for sports teams on those hot summer days!
Laptop Lunches were created by two Moms with school aged kids. Their mission is to help families improve lunchtime nutrition and reduce waste. They believe that healthy kids come from healthy communities and work hard to provide products free from BPA, PVC and Lead.
Preserve dishware is made from recycled polypropylene (#5) which is BPA, PVC and phthalate free. Their products are reusable, dishwasher safe on low-heat cycles and made in the USA.
Arrow is based in Illinois and all of their products are manufactured right here in the U.S. All of their plastic scrap, used corrugated containers, wrapping materials and pallets are recycled (none of these materials are deposited in landfills). You can often find these products at Walmart and on Amazon. All of their Frostware and Sip-a-cup/bowls/pops are made from polypropylene and are marked with recycling code #5.
I'm impressed with IKEA because they have labeled ALL of their kids dishware and food containers with the materials used. Hooray for IKEA! They offer many BPA-free polypropylene options to choose from.
What are your favorite non-toxic kid dishes?
Did you watch CNN’s “Toxic America” a little while ago? If so, you got an unsettling look at the world of PVC manufacturing and its effects on the surrounding neighborhoods. It was exciting to see the underbelly of PVC production exposed to the general public after years of searching for safer alternatives.
For many of you, Toxic Towns was a realization that sent you reeling back a bit. Where is PVC found and is it really that unsafe? Doesn't the removal of phthalates mean it's fine to use? Those are great questions, and my favorite advocate for safer alternatives to PVC, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), has compiled a down and dirty list of convincing reasons for moving away from vinyl (#3 plastic).
CHEJ's Take on Why PVC is Toxic
Many children’s school supplies, such as lunchboxes, backpacks and binders, are often made out of PVC—an unnecessary toxic plastic that is dangerous to our health and the environment across its lifecycle: from production, to use, to disposal. Cancer causing chemicals that contaminate the air and water of surrounding
communities are used to produce PVC. When PVC is manufactured or burned, numerous dioxins are formed and released. Dioxins are a highly toxic group of chemicals that can cause cancer, and harm the immune and reproductive systems. These and other toxic chemicals released during the PVC lifecycle contaminate our bodies and may pose irreversible life-long health threats.
Why Shop for PVC – Free School Supplies?
PVC is unique among plastics because it containsdangerous chemical additives. These harmful chemicals include phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child’s health. What’s worse is the danger these chemicals pose- phthalates and other toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time posing unnecessary dangers to children. Over 90% of all phthalates are used to soften or plasticize PVC products. Children are at risk from even small exposures to these toxic chemicals. That’s why it’s important to purchase PVC-free school supplies.
Top Five Reasons for Avoiding PVC
1. Children are more at risk from toxic chemicals: children are not “little adults” – their developing brains and bodies, their metabolism and behaviors make them uniquely vulnerable to harm from toxic chemicals such as those released by the PVC lifecycle.
2. Production of PVC involves cancer-causing chemicals: PVC products are made from toxic chemicals. Three chemicals are at the core of PVC production: chlorine gas is converted into ethylene dichloride (EDC), which is then converted into vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), which is then converted into PVC. Both VCM and EDC are extremely hazardous. Vinyl chloride, the key building block of PVC, causes a rare form of liver cancer, and damages the liver and central nervous system iii. Vinyl chloride is one of the few chemicals the U.S. EPA classifies as a known human carcinogen. EDC is a probable human carcinogen that also affects the central nervous system and damages the liver.
3. PVC products often contain toxic additives such as phthalates, lead and cadmium: many of these additives are not chemically bound to the plastic and can migrate out of the product posing potential hazards to consumers. In some cases, these additives can be released from the product into the air inside your home. Lead has been used to stabilize and is found in many different PVC products. PVC flooring and other PVC products can contribute to poorer indoor air quality as PVC products can off-gass chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
4. School children, teachers and custodians may be at risk for asthma and autism: Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening respiratory disease that affects 7 million American children and 16 million adults. An average of one out of every 13 school-age children has asthma. In fact, asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism: 14.7 million school days are missed each year due to asthma. In recent years, a number of studies have found a correlation between phthalates emitted from PVC building products and asthma. Yet another study published in 2009 even found a statistically significant link between PVC flooring, asthma, and autism.
5. PVC and hazardous chemicals are in our babies and bodies: in recent years, a growing body of scientific evidence has found that toxic chemicals released by the PVC lifecycle are trespassing into our bodies. Today babies are being born pre-polluted with potentially harmful levels of phthalates and dioxins that may possibly cause lifelong health problems. Phthalates have been found in indoor air and dust, and in human urine, blood and breast milk. An extensive study of 2,500 individuals found metabolites of at least one phthalate in 97 percent of those tested. Dioxins build up in our bodies over our lifetime and can remain there for many years. The levels of dioxins in our bodies are at or near the levels known to cause harm.
Take steps to remove PVC from your child's school by educating yourself and the members of your school board. CHEJ's PVC-free Back to School Guide is the easiest place to start!
P.S. Looking for safe lunch gear options? Crocodile Creek, Laptop Lunches, Fuel Kids, EcoLunchboxes, Lunchbots, Lunchsense and Fresh Snack Packs are BPA, PVC, phthalate and lead-free options made by manufacturers we know and trust.