Monday, August 16, 2010

Packing your lunch

Plastic tips: The "safe" plastics are numbered 2, 4, 5, and some 7 (not polycarbonate). The other numbers 1, 3, 6, and 7 are not safe because they contain harmful chemicals which have even been banned or restricted in Europe.

On my quest to find the Chinese-free, virgin plastic free lunch and dinning stuffs, I have come across a few things.

Greentoys is still a very viable option. Made in California these bowls, utensils, and plates are made from recycled plastic milk jugs. They use number 2 plastic.

The Thinkbaby set does not entirely come from Korea. In the comments, one consumer said that her utensils were marked with "Made in China." She inquired from the company and here's what their response was:

All of the products in the Feeding Set except the spoon and fork are made in Korea. We do third-party testing on all of our products to make sure that they are adhere to our chemical policies. We were unable to find someone that could make the spoon and fork in Korea. Although, the reality of it, is that most products that say Made in somewhere other than China are actually still made in China and just assembled somewhere else. But the real issue is still not China. I previously worked for a testing lab funded by NIH, and there was equal concern across every major country, especially the US.


Kevin Brodwick

512.413.1088 (D)
617.344.5349 (F)

"Safer Products for Healthier Babies"

"Safer Products for Healthier Athletes" To read more.

My thoughts: Yeah, you're trying to get consumers to buy Chinese made when that's obviously not what we want. If you want a consumer base, 1) Be entirely upfront where all the parts are made 2) do not try and tell us to get over ourselves by saying at least some part of it comes from China when it doesn't have to.

I did, however, find another company called Sanctus Mundo which means Sacred World in Latin and Spanish. They are dedicated to making products in stainless steel. You can buy their products here at None of the products come from China and lifewithoutplastic carries other items with a very limited selection coming from China (the lunchbots do). The bento box by Sanctus Mundo looks like an awesome lunch container. You can pack crackers and dried fruit for the baby for on the go and as the child ages it can be used for sandwiches and bento creations.

So far Sanctus Mundo is the only one that I have found that is an all stainless steel and made Chinese-free bento box. You can go plastic and find a few Chinese-free.

Sanctus Mundo also makes stainless steel stackable containers for those working guys out there. And they have a stainless steel child's dish set. Although I'm sure that's easy enough to find from another company. Our baby spoons are stainless steel and made by Oneida, which does have some manufacturing in China. I can't tell where our spoons are made, but a picture on Amazon shows that they do have baby spoons made in the USA. I would recommend asking them before purchasing or finding a store that carries them and checking the label.

Other options are buying material and making lunch bags from organic fabric. Lifewithoutplastic also carries them and so does a number of etsy peoples.

It seems that large manufactures and distributors do have Chinese made products so that's not a battle I can win. What I can do is just specifically buy the stuff that's not made in China and tell the manufacturers that I would like to buy more products but that they are made in China. It seems that no manufacturer is willing to give up using Chinese factories. They cite production costs as the main reason and safe factories as a secondary reason. If you are a large manufacturer who owns the factory, then you dictate how the factory is run and where it is set up. For the small guys, I recommend banding together and sharing a factory that you collectively create. It's just an excuse. I mean if people on etsy can make stuff from raw materials made in the US then it's not hard to just keep those same raw materials here rather than shipping them abroad to have the made and shipped back. And the people on etsy usually are making the stuff themselves. You can do that or get a small business loan. That's why my mom had a job. She used to work for SBA.

Okay, I'm getting off my soap box (which I actually never intended to jump on but oh well) and finish my lunch and laundry.

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