I recently discovered a Sundance Channel show called “The Lazy Environmentalist” in the Netflix Watch Instantly Queue. I liked that it was a quick 30 minute show and the title intrigued me. Host Josh Dorfman takes the realists view toward being eco-friendly: most people will only truly adopt practices that are simple, affordable, and realistically fit into their lifestyle. To this end, his guest are no easy sells on environmentalism, seeking to do whatever it takes to save the planet. Instead, they’re often individuals who are a bit suspicious of the green movement and dubious that green practices will really fit into their lives.
My favorite part of the show: Sometimes participants are sold on the new green ideas, sometimes they’re not. Sometimes a guy you think is hopeless says, “I can do this.” Sometimes the show even admits that certain things, like eco-friendly professional hair products, are just not up to standards yet. Other times, Josh pushes participants to take in more factors that just the retail cost of something to see the bigger picture of manufacturing, packaging, and shipping to weigh costs. Truth is, even if you want to be a lazy environmentalist, sometimes it does take a bit more effort and money to do something worthwhile.
I am one of those people you’d call “somewhat green.” I’ve recycled for a long time (even in the old days when you had to sort) and I’ll often seek out recycling in a public place and say something when it’s not an option. I reuse plastic bags and I’m trying to make the move to only bringing my own places. I’ve been using vinegar and water to clean most days (unless it just won’t do the trick), I avoid using paper towels, and I’m cloth diapering. This is a good start, but I know there’s a long way to go and many more ways to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.
As you might have read before, my hubby and I like to make chore trades. To this end, he picks up the house at the end of each day and I make his lunch for work. This has equaled quite a few lunches and all of the plastic sandwich bags we used were really starting to get to me. It seemed like there must be a better option. I know lots of people use Bento Boxes, but that seemed a bit too kiddish and/or trendy for my guy. I decided to see if I could find a less wasteful option that might work for him.
I visited the Etsy shop for The Straight Stitch and loved the idea of a lunch set comprised of sandwich and snack bags. Stefanie’s sets are handmade and use upcycled material for the outside. They comprise of two bags, one snack size (5″x6″) and one sandwich bag (7″x7″). The bags seals with 1″ velcro and are lined with water resistant rip-stop nylon (Interior is 100% new material).
I loved the idea of these bags, but still needed a more “husband friendly” fabric option. Since I was connected to Stefanie on Twitter, I contacted her and asked if she might have fabric that would work. She responded quickly and found a plaid upcycled shirt. This understated fabric fit my needs perfectly and I went ahead and ordered a set, with an additional sandwich bag.
So, now that we’ve had them a little while, the question is, do reusable sandwich bags measure up to the lazy environmentalist test?
The Straight Stitch Bags are
*Easy to Use
*Easy to Wash
*Hold a large sandwich and a generous amount of chips
*Are very well-made
*Have a strong seal that won’t allow food to leak or spill
*Attractive and come in fun fabrics.
In addition to using them for my husband’s lunches, I’ve adopted them for the diaper bag and trips in the car. They shine so well here because my preschooler can open and close them without making a mess and food doesn’t leak and spill all over the place.
These bags, frankly, cost a bit more than I’d like them to, but Stefanie and I chatted about this a bit the other night and she made some great points that I think Dorfman would agree with. This is about more than the retail cost. Purchase these well-made, attractive, functional items and you:
*Don’t fill up the landfill with plastic baggies.
*Support a small business
*Support the use of upcycled materials
*Purchase a product that does not have the same manufacturing, shipping, and packaging costs as baggies.
*Have a one-of-a kind item.
I’ll be honest with you: The jury is still out as to whether we will exclusively use these for my husband’s lunches. You have to be committed to bringing them back and forth each day, so they’re not as convenient as disposable bags. You also have to plan time to clean them out and prepare them for the next day. I still need a lunch container to put them in. But, truthfully, I believe the pros outweigh the cons and I think they’re a terrific product.
As far as using them for my kids, I will continue to do so and will probably order more in the future in the adorable kid-friendly fabrics offered. I think they are ideal for kid’s lunches and would highly recommend them.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even pull out my sewing machine and see if I can create a “husband-friendly” lunch bag and some reusable lunch bags of my own!