bento box love
August 29, 2007, 9:23 pm
Filed under: green, shopping

Nothing can quite make me feel like I’m doing my part more than taking homemade lunches to work every day. I think about the quality of the food I’m putting in my mouth and sigh with happiness. I think about the paper and plastic takeout packaging that’s now not going in the garbage and sigh happily a little more. I think about the $8 I save everyday and positively swoon.

But all good things can be improved upon.

Obviously, once you’re old enough to recognize plastic takes a gazillion years to degrade, cheap little plastic baggies are no longer an acceptable way to get your Triscuits to work or school. Reusable containers are always preferable, especially if they can go in the dishwasher. But finding a functional container that you can also feel good about is a tricky business. Tupperware is great and all, but it’s got a relatively short lifespan (at least, as rough as I am on it). Besides, what happens to your set when you decide to replace it? It’s still not biodegradable or recyclable, it still goes in the landfill where it will sit forever and ever, amen.

Enter metal. In addition to far outlasting plastic Tupperware in terms of durability (and in not turning orange when you take pasta or curry), aluminum and stainless steel are super recyclable. And thanks to imports from other countries, the metal containers available to us are getting cuter and cuter.

Here are three of my favorites: the stylin’ ‘Modern+’ DX Aluminum Bento Box shown above from, colorful SIGG aluminum boxes from, and To-Go Ware® Stainless Steel Food Carrier (aka, a tiffin), also from You can also stop in at any decent sized Chinese/Japanese/Indian market and pick up similar items.

The only downfall to metal is that it’s not microwavable. But honestly, your Tupperware shouldn’t be microwaved either, no matter what the label says. The only good container for the microwave is glass. But bento boxes and tiffins don’t come in glass. Yet. I’ll invent one someday. Until then, I don’t mind transferring my lunch to a bowl in the office kitchen prior to heating it up. Real bowls and plates make lunch a nicer affair anyway!

4 Comments so far
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but then again – microwaving itself isn’t so good either!!

Comment by ack sorry!!!

Regarding bentos not being available in glass: I have something that may serve. The other day when I was in my local Korean grocery looking at the selection of Lock & Lock containers, I noticed that there were similar containers on display nearby– don’t recall the brand — that were glass with plastic lids. You could probably use them in bento-like fashion.

Comment by Kat

kat, you mean like these?

Comment by architheque

I assume you are using Tupperware as a type of generic term for plastic containers. In actuality Tupperware is recyclable and can be returned to any dealer for this service. Most Tupperware is guaranteed against breakage. Also Tupperware is leading edge in terms of production and has be creating products that do not off-gas before it became fashionable. Just a FYI. You are not alone in referring to any and all plastic type containers this way but it is worth checking out further. Microwaveable containers are clearly marked when Tupperware produces them and are the only recommended containers for the microwave but as the product that is genuine Tupperware is safer than most any other on the market improper use does not contaminate food.

Comment by Roxanne

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