Thursday 28 January 2016


Buy once, buy well. That's how I try to live as a conscious consumer. Sometimes this means that I spend a silly amount of time researching products. As we've just sent one child off to school and the others are about to head off too, I wanted to share some of my findings, in case you were also on lookout for products that are good quality, long lasting and produced with the environment in mind.

Drink bottles
The stainless steel drink bottles that the children have been using up to now are quite battered and too large. It becomes quite a weight in the bag when you're carrying three of them, and they also take up a lot of room. They sometimes leak too. I was looking for a drink bottle that was a smaller size and easy for them to use but also manufactured in an ethical way. Living on a property that only has rainwater has made me even more heightened to considering what happens to waste water when it leaves your drain. Too many companies prioritise making cheap products with little regard to the environmental impact. 

Ideally, we also wanted bottles that would fit into the side pockets of the Fjallraven Kanken backpacks that we bought for the children. Basically they need to do be 6-6.5cm diameter. This narrowed down the available choices greatly. Sistema does a range of BPA-free plastic bottles that are available from most supermarkets and the 330ml Twist 'n' Sip is only about $3 each. They are made in New Zealand. These were tempting as they were light and not made in China. They fit the side pockets perfectly but ultimately I decided against them because being plastic I don't think they will last long-term. And in general I am trying to limit the amount of plastic (and battery-powered) products we buy. 

Thermos does a range of small-sized bottles too - but they are emblazoned with Disney characters and graphics that are not my preference. Plus, I always think children grow out of these designs quite quickly.

I also read about the Dopper bottles - from a Dutch company. But they do not ship to Australia. And while the design looks great, they are still (BPA-free) plastic.

We ended up choosing the Klean Kanteen range of 12oz small-sized bottles. The spout-style lid ones do fit (snugly) into the side pockets. They are not too large and they are an eco and ethical company - even if their products are manufactured in China. They donate 1% of annual sales to non-profit organisations with an environmental focus and they participate in fair labor business practices.

We bought our bottles from Shop Naturally. From the pictures on their website I didn't realise that they came with a detachable cap, which was an added bonus as this helps to keep the spout clean.

Lunch boxes
After going through a few lunch boxes that didn't survive the first year at school (broken latches and clips), last year I bought my son a stainless steel lunch box. It was important to buy one that could fit a sandwich inside but also had room for food for sip 'n' crunch and first lunch (or morning tea). We chose the Green Essentials product as it was manufactured ethically in India, and available through Shop Naturally.

It doesn't fit a full piece of fruit inside so we have taken to chopping his in half. And at his last school all of the lunch boxes would get thrown into a tub and sometimes the clips came undone - so we tied string around the outside. This year I decided to get an insulated lunch bag too so that this wouldn't be a problem, and he could fit his drink bottle on the inside so he only needs to grab that and he has all he needs. Plus, it has better health benefits to keep his food at a chilled temperature for longer.

Insulated lunch bags
There are quite a few options around. Smash is an Australian company that sell a range through the supermarkets (Coles and Woolworths) as well as stores such as Target and Kmart. They have some classic designs and their insulated lunch bags are free from a lot of nasty chemicals but ultimately I couldn't find one that would fit his lunch box and drink bottle, and still fit in his school bag. Sistema, the New Zealand company mentioned above, had a lead-free insulated lunch bag but I wasn't crazy on the metallic sheen. In the end, I bought one by Arctic Zone, a Californian-based company, which expanded and provided the option to fit a drink bottle and larger-sized fruit. It was quite a simple design too, which appealed.

So, we're all set for school now. Please included any recommendations you have.

images the indigo crew

1 comment:

  1. once you use steam sterilizing there's no smell or style. take care they dry completely before you fill or store them. As with all methods of bottle cleaning - if you clean many bottles at once, you can keep them closed away and fresh for longer periods of time click here.