Though it's a recent discovery for me, LunchSkins was founded in 2008 by three environment-minded moms when they, as they write on the company's website, heard "a staggering statistic: Everyday, more than 20 million sandwich bags from school lunches go into landfills in the U.S."
Though I hate to admit it, I have been a regular contributor to the plastic-to-wastestream river. On most days, I try to bring lunch in reusable containers but sometimes there just isn't enough room in my bag and it's easier to squish my sandwich in a less-boxy bag into the remaining space.
LunchSkins have proved to be the perfect solution. In the past week, I've toted lunch to a picnic (sandwiches on relatively large onion buns that fit in the sandwich bags without any problem and four homemade cookies that were no problem for a singular snack bag) and carried my midday meal to work (more sandwiches along with enough strawberries to fill a sandwich bag).
The bags are made of heavy cotton coated with a food-safe polyurethane liner (which is lead-, BPA-, and phthalate-free) and that fold over and close with the help of a strip of Velcro. My two favorite features, however, are that (1) once empty, the bags take up barely any room in my bag I take home and (2) they're dishwasher safe (a claim I can attest to). The only drawback is that the bags are not leak proof so I still brought my juicy vegetables in a plastic bag today (for which I know I really should have reached for a tiny Tupperware).
The Container Store—which tipped me off to bags—will be carrying LunchSkins later this year as part of its seasonal offerings (and will potentially be adding them to its permanent inventory). In the meantime, you can order the bags ($8 for a3.5-by-6.5-inch snack bag, $9 for a 6.5-by-6.5-inch sandwich bag, $11 for a seven-by-eight-inch sub bag) directly at lunchskins.com.