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September 2011

To the Lunchroom and Beyond!

Start the School Year on a Green (and Organized) Foot

By Jeanette Der Bedrosian

Anything you send with your kids to school—lunchboxes, water bottles, backpacks—is almost guaranteed to be misplaced. Minimize the risk of losing prized possessions by clipping on Zippies, adorable little animals with an elastic band that easily attaches to the neck of your kid’s Nalgene water bottle or lunch box handle. Best of all, while one side of the round, flexible tag features the character of your choosing, the other side has space to write a name and phone number. Check out all the Zippies characters, which include frogs, tigers, bunnies and more, online at $4 each or $16 for a pack of five.

EcoZip bags
Plastic zip bags are too convenient to let go, even for eco-friendly families. They keep food fresh and neatly portioned in airtight bags, and there’s no need to worry about washing out Tupperware before things get icky. But there is a way to ensure you’re using less plastic when packing PB&Js and baby carrots. EcoZip bags are dual-compartment plastic zipper bags that let you decide whether to partition a plastic bag into two sections or keep the bag open as one, larger storage space. The bags are available in a variety of sizes for $4 a box at

Japanese-style Bento boxes, partitioned lunch boxes that allow the diner to sample an assortment of foods in a single meal, are all the rage among gourmands. You can send your foodie-in-training to school with a Bento-style lunch box that is not only stylish, but functional; food will be kept separate and un-squished. Unlike some other Bento boxes on the market, PlanetBox has healthy-sized compartments, too, allowing moms and dads to pack a sandwich, snacks, fruit and dessert in a single box. Making the box even more scrumptious are the removable decorative magnets available to personalize each box. $35 for PlanetBox Basic and $60 for the PlanetBox Complete at

Klean Kanteen insulated bottle
Being earth-friendly is all about versatility. Take Klean Kanteen’s 12-ounce insulated bottle, for example. It’s the perfect size container for everything from apple juice to chicken noodle soup, and the BPA-free container will keep liquids at stable temperatures all the way through the school day. Then, on weekends or on the way to soccer practice after school, the bottle is the perfect size for your afternoon latte. With an all-stainless interior and no liner, flavors won’t stick, so there’s no worrying about coffee-flavored soups. Each bottle also fits a variety of lids—you can purchase a spouted coffee lid for yourself and a leak-proof loop cap for lunch boxes. Get yours for $23 (additional lids extra) at

Fold-up locker organizer
Not lunch-related, but too perfect to start the year without—The Container Store’s Slice collection is host to all-things organizational. With a bright, fun circle pattern, the collection’s products will help older kids organize their locker and desk without them even realizing. This year’s must-have is the Slice Fold-Up Locker Organizer, which has several compartments to hold pens, markers, rulers, calculators and more—sort of like the Bento box of organizational tools. The organizer measures 26 inches in length, but folds for easy transport. $20 on