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Best Reusable Lunch Gear for Men: Say No to Disposables

Vaya Tyffyn Lunch Box foodLet’s get real — you don’t have to be a raving environmentalist to see the advantage of sustainable alternatives to disposable products. From no-straw policies at major coffee chains to municipal plastic bag taxes to full-scale plastic waste bans, the statement is pretty clear. The ecosystem has been telling us for a while now that it can’t take much more waste, and we’re finally starting to listen.

If you’re ready to be a good citizen of the planet by making the transition to a more sustainable way of living, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed at first. Where do you start? A good place is with your lunch. Lunch boxes are great start but there are also other reusable lunch gear that can make your way of living more sustainable. Ready to take your lunch to the next level? We’ve combed through the growing panoply of options for non-disposable, sustainable lunch-ware and separated the merely cute and clever from the practical and highly functional. The following list is our careful curation of the best sustainable lunch-ware options out there.

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Reusable and Sustainable Lunch Gear

Thermal Mug: S’well Stainless Steel Travel Mug

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The first non-disposable item to be popularly adopted by the masses, the thermal mug is an oversaturated market, with every conceivable size, design, material, and feature you can imagine. With its stainless steel interior the S’well mug offers minimalist style and high functionality. We especially appreciate the wide opening and double layered insulation. Best of all S’well is a Certified B Corporation which aims to balance profit and purpose such as protecting the environment.

Flatware: To-Go Ware Repeat Utensil Set

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We present for your consideration a classic of the genre. Made by the same folks who brought you the Chico bag, Repeat’s flatware is made of strong but lightweight bamboo that is both heat- and stain-resistant, so it doesn’t impart or absorb flavors. The kit thoughtfully includes a set of chopsticks and comes in a tough pouch made of recycled plastic outfitted with a carabiner, so it’s extra easy to keep track of. The utensils are bigger and sturdier than your average takeout plasticware. While the fork tines and knife blade aren’t exactly sharp, they are tough enough to stand up to assertive use — you can easily spear and slice by exerting a little extra force.

Sandwich Wrap: Uncommon Goods Beeswax Reusable Sandwich Wrap

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We tried a lot of cute modular sandwich containers and had to ask ourselves, “Do the best sandwiches really come in a uniform 3-by-3-inch square shape?” Not the kind we prefer, that’s for sure. That’s why, for our money, the best way to sustainably transport our lunchtime mainstay is the beeswax wrap. Made of organic cotton and coated in a mix of food-grade wax, coconut oil, and other natural preservatives, these cloths are sturdy yet pliable, breathable yet protective, and built to optimally protect your sandwich from getting mashed, soggy, or contaminated. They also pull double-duty as lid replacements for your leftover containers. Our pick is this one from Uncommon Goods, which comes with a handy attached elastic that keeps the whole thing together.

Reusable Bags: Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags

Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags
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Can we all be honest for once about plastic baggies? They’re about as disappointing as they are ubiquitous. We all use them, and yet we all consistently find our sandwiches smashed or our trail mix leaking through a hole. About the most they protect your food from is dust. Enter the Stasher bag, a food-grade silicone sleeve that is infinitely reusable, completely non-toxic, dishwasher-friendly, and — are you ready for this? You’re not, but here goes anyway — you can reheat your food inside it. Microwave your leftover pasta, reheat last night’s enchiladas in the oven, even sous-vide a piece of salmon — the Stasher bag can take it all. We also happen to love that, as a Certified B Corporation, Stasher gives 1% of profits back to organizations that work to keep plastic out of the oceans (and out of our lives).

Meal Container: Vaya Tyffyn Lunch Box

Vaya Tyffyn Lunch Box
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From the outset, we were attracted to the tiffin, a stackable meal transportation kit traditionally used in India. Each stainless steel layer latches above the next, creating radiant heat that helps keep the food warm and makes the whole kit easy to carry. The one problem we encountered was insulation … or the lack thereof. Hot food only stayed hot for so long, and if it was too hot, it burned our fingers. So imagine our delight when we found the Vaya Tyffyn, a leak-proof, tiffin-style container made of copper-coated stainless steel for optimal heat maintenance. Better still, the Tyffyn’s VacuTherm insulated sleeve maintains food temperature for up to six hours, and the slim profile makes it easy to slip into a backpack. BPA-free, leak-resistant, and fitted with pressurized latches, the Tyffyn is the ideal grown-up lunchbox.

Water Bottle: Black+Blum Eau Good

Black and Blum Eau Good water bottle
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Another oversaturated market, another embarrassment of options. From classic stainless steel to ultra-insulated mugs to hefty hydration tanks made to withstand 30-foot drops off a cliff, there are more water bottles on heaven and earth than we have thought of in our dreams. And then we stumbled across this water bottle from Black + Blum, and the decision became easy. We’ll admit to being instantly smitten with its hourglass shape and natural cork stopper, but what really sealed the deal for us was the charcoal filter stick included in the bottle. This feature is a godsend for anyone who has suffered from the taste of metallic tap water or (shudder) a refrigerator water dispenser that hasn’t been cleaned or changed out in years. Just drop the charcoal stick into your bottle, fill with water, wait an hour, and you’ve got freshly-filtered H2O at your disposal. The Black + Blum bottle comes in thick glass but also offers a BPA-free plastic option for the butterfingered among us.

Straw: Klean Kanteen 5-Piece Straw Set

Klean Kanteen 5 Piece Straw Set
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Environmental activists have been campaigning against plastic straws for years — we’ve had ample time to research the alternatives. And yet, when asked to make a selection, we were hard-pressed to find an option we could really get behind. Bamboo seems like a natural choice, but it disintegrates quickly, requires hand-washing, and threatens to lodge splinters in your lips. Stainless steel is durable and dishwasher-safe but not ideal if your beverage of choice happens to be warm. Glass is upscale, but it just feels like it’s asking for a problem, especially if you’re carrying it to and from work. We found our perfect match with these picks from Kleen Kanteen, which offer the durability of stainless steel with a removable silicone sleeve that protects your lips from getting burned. They’re all dishwasher-safe and come with a handy straw brush to ensure that your morning smoothie doesn’t leave gunk that will mar the flavor of your after-work cocktail.

Why use reusable lunch and kitchen tools?

Take a second to think about how much plastic attends your average takeout lunch. Even grabbing an all-organic meal from the Whole Foods hot bar means a load of landfill fodder — cardboard containers, plastic clamshells, glass bottles, disposable cutlery, etc. Feeling guilty yet? You should.

Trading it all in for sustainable, non-disposable lunch-ware is an easy way to not only lighten your carbon footprint but also class things up a little. There’s just something a little more mature about consuming your midday meal from real dishes and flatware. Plus, it’s a handy reminder to do the things that contribute to your overall well-being, like making and bringing your own meals from home or drinking your recommended daily 64 ounces of water. Basically, sustainable lunch-ware is a shortcut to adulting. Who knew?

If you’ve already mastered the art of making your own lunch and have all the gear you need to stave off environmental destruction, but you want to go a step further and start meal prepping, check out the best meal prep containers on the market.

Nate Swanner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nate is General Manager for all not-Digital-Trends properties at DTMG, including The Manual, Digital Trends en Espanol…
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