Why should I go waste free?
- Reduce Waste by eliminating disposable food packaging from our landfills and oceans
- Save Money by reducing single-use packaging, and packaged foods
- Eat Healthier by packing homemade, non-packaged foods
- Store Safer by packing food in non-leaching, non-toxic containers
- Promote Sustainability by giving gifts that send the message of reuse
Does packing waste-free really make a difference?
- On average, a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of lunch waste per school year (18,760 pounds of lunch waste per elementary school).
- A waste-free lunch saves on average $216 per child per year (versus a disposable lunch).
- The North Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest of the five gyres, is twice the size of Texas and contains about 3.5 million tons of trash
- Packaging accounts for nearly 32 percent of all household waste in the U.S.
- Americans discard 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
- 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in the U.S.
- Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. Placed end to end, the number of disposable straws used in the U.S. in the past 4 days could reach the moon.
- About 23 billion coated paper or Styrofoam coffee cups end up in landfills every year. Placed end to end, they could circle the earth 68 times.
- Every year Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags. The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year, that's more than 4 bags a day.
What makes your products unique?
- Reusable and Waste-Free – Our products are designed to reduce the staggering amount of trash that ends up in our landfills and oceans every year because of food packing.
- Sustainable Design – We use high-quality, non-toxic materials designed to be durable and long lasting, and to minimize waste throughout each product's life cycle.
- Non-Toxic and Non-Leaching – Tested by independent labs to meet strict safety standards, all of our products are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC and lead.
- Recycled Materials – We only use recycled cotton, and all of our insulated fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles.
- Functional and Practical – We offer products for kids and adults, ideal for lunches, travel, picnics, takeout, salad bars, refrigerator storage and more! They're leak-proof, easy to clean, and easy to pack and store.
I love your products, but are they worth the investment?Because our products are high quality and sustainably designed, they are very durable and long lasting. With care, our products will last many years. Need more convincing? See our Cost Comparison and learn how much you'll save by forgoing single-use packaging and packaged foods. Another way to save is to sign up for our Newsletter and you'll hear about sales and specials.
What is your Lids for Life program?Our customers say they come to us for dependable, long-lasting products that hold up better than our competitors. We take pride in our durable, safe and reliable materials—all designed for daily use. The longer your containers last, the happier you are and the fewer resources are used to reach our collective goal: to reduce waste from food packaging. Lose a lid? It’s easy to get a replacement here. Have a damaged lid? We hope not, but if so let us know and we’ll replace it for FREE!
Are your products just for kids' lunches?No! In addition to lunches, our products are ideal for travel and picnics, refrigerator storage for leftovers, and perfect for salad bars and takeout. Parents love our insulated totes and ice packs to keep their baby bottles and baby food cold, and our messenger-style straps help them be hands-free while on the go. Grown-ups love our products because they help them reduce waste and eat healthier at work and at home. Now the whole family can stop using plastic baggies and other single-use disposable packaging!
Do you offer products that keep food hot and cold?Yes! Our stainless steel Insulated Food Jars come in two sizes and keep food hot or cold for hours. We also have an Insulated Coffee Cup designed to keep coffee and tea hot, and iced drinks chilled. Insulated food jars are designed to keep the temperature you start with, so we recommend pre-heating by pouring very hot water inside and letting sit for a few minutes before pouring out and adding your piping hot food, and pre-chilling in the freezer for a few minutes before adding your cold food. We also have machine-washable Insulated Lunch Totes and Insulated Lunch Sacks for toting cold or hot food. Add a sweat-free Ice Pack, and keep your lunch colder longer.
What are your products made of and how do I care for them?
Square Nesting Trio
Nesting Trio Containers
Medium Round Containers
Small Round Containers
Stainless Steel Straws
Food Kozy® Snack Bag
Insulated Lunch Totes
Canvas Lunch Sacks
Why do you use exclusively 304 (18/8) stainless steel?
- It's long lasting and durable so you're not spending money replacing your containers
- It's non-leaching, non-toxic and safe for food storage
- It resists stains and rust
- It's recyclable
What kind of plastic do you use in your products?We only use PET #1, LDPE #4 and PP #5 plastics in our products. We advocate for using plastic safely (not microwaving or heating in plastic), and getting to know your plastics. There are possible health risks with some types of plastics, so we use plastics that are non-leaching and safe for food storage. We never use #3 (PVC), #6 (Polystyrene) or #7 (may contain BPA) plastics in any of our products, and all of our products are tested free of BPA, phthalates and PVC.
What do the plastic numbers mean?
#1 - PET or PETE: polyethylene terephthalate is used in many soft drink, water and juice bottles. It's easily recycled, and accepted by most curbside programs and recycling centers.
#2 - HDPE: high-density polyethylene is used in milk jugs, detergent and shampoo bottles. It's widely accepted by most curbside programs and recycling centers.
#3 - PVC: vinyl or polyvinyl chloride is a known human carcinogen and often contains and can leach phthalates, and can off-gas chemicals. PVC is not recyclable. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to add flexibility and durability to PVC and vinyl products. They're present in a wide range of products including children's toys, food packaging, cling wraps, backpacks, shower curtains, nail polish, lotions, perfume, air fresheners and candles. Phthalates are listed as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" by the National Toxicology Program, and are considered as probable human carcinogens and endocrine disruptors by the EPA. Studies have also found links to birth defects, decreased and damaged sperm, increased behavioral problems, premature birth, and respiratory difficulties in children. Even though phthalates have been banned from some baby toys and baby gear, they are still allowed in lunch bags and food containers, so always choose phthalate-free! Click here for more information: http://www.ewg.org/key-issues/toxics/phthalates. All U•Konserve products are tested free of phthalates.
#4 - LDPE: low-density polyethylene is used in plastic shopping bags, some cling wraps, some baby bottles and reusable drink and food containers. It's recyclable at most recycling centers and some curbside programs.
#5 - PP: polypropylene can be found in some baby bottles, yogurt containers, and many reusable food and drink containers. It's recyclable in some curbside programs and most recycling centers.
#6 - PS: polystyrene is used in takeout food containers, Styrofoam egg containers and lunch trays, and some plastic cutlery. It has been found to leach styrene, a neurotoxin and possible human carcinogen, and has been banned in many U.S. cities. It is not easily recyclable.
#7: This catchall category includes PC, or polycarbonate, which has been found to leach bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that mimics estrogen. Bioplastics (made from plant-based material) also fall under this umbrella.
Why are your Food Kozy® wraps made of plastic?We use non-leaching LDPE #4 plastic for our Food Kozy® wraps, as a safe and reusable alternative to disposable plastic baggies. Our customers tell us that they like the non-fabric solution because it is easier to clean, dries quickly, keeps food from seeping through, and the slick surface is perfect for messy foods. The plastic surface also makes an ideal placemat.
I lost a container lid. Can I order a replacement?Yes! Lids to many of our containers can be ordered on our website by clicking here.
Where are your products made?Our products are designed in California, and responsibly made in China, India and Taiwan in facilities that are working toward green practices and supportive of our mission to reduce waste. We made considerable effort to keep production in the U.S., while still making our products affordable to a broad market, but we found it very difficult to compete with these countries in both quality and price. Sometimes it can be easier to find manufacturing overseas that conforms to stringent safety standards because many overseas companies support other countries (like Europe) that have far stricter regulations than the U.S.
Our recycled cotton (used in our Napkins, Go-to-Market Totes and Lunch Sacks) is made in India; all Glass/Silicone Containers and Bottles, Stainless Steel Containers and Stainless Steel Bottles, Stainless Steel Accessories, Food Kozy®Wraps and Bags, Ice Cube Tray and Bamboo Utensils are made in China; and our recycled insulated fabric (used in our Insulated Lunch Sacks, Lunch Totes and Ice Packs) is made in Taiwan.
Are your products tested by a third party?All of our products are tested by independent labs to meet CPSIA and FDA requirements. In addition, all of our products are tested on a regular basis to ensure that they are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC and lead, and to ensure consistent and non-toxic quality.
What is your commitment to Corporate Responsibility?U•Konserve was founded on the belief that we can affect our environment and health by the choices we make as consumers. To that end, we not only provide a range of products that embraces this philosophy, but we also strive to impart the values of sustainability and health into the way we run our business:
- We offer non-toxic, safe products that undergo strict quality control and are tested by a CPSIA-accredited lab, as well as independent labs, to ensure that they are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC and lead.
- We offer high-quality, long-lasting products sustainably designed to minimize waste throughout each product's life cycle, and reduce the millions of tons of waste associated with single-serving packaged foods and plastic bottles. We strive to use recycled materials as much as possible, and many of our products are recyclable.
- We offer products that are responsibly made in China, India and Taiwan in facilities that are working toward green practices, and supportive of our mission to reduce waste. Independent agencies audit the working conditions and environmental impact to ensure that the facilities adhere to fair and safe labor practices and environmental standards. We have made considerable effort to keep production in the U.S., while still making our products affordable to a broad market, but we found it difficult to compete with these countries in both quality and price, especially with high-quality stainless steel. It is a priority for us to manufacture our products locally, so our goal is to move toward U.S. suppliers.
- We actively educate our customers about REUSE and the impact of environmental toxins. On our website, we share films, books and other resources about the environment and health, and we provide waste-free activity ideas and advice to daycares, preschools, elementary schools and non-profit organizations quite often! We've found that connecting with our customers by sharing information has inspired positive change, and has helped us learn and grow as well.
- We work with a team that is supportive of our mission to reduce waste. It's important that we advocate for sustainability, and that we are able to educate our customers based on our own experiences and knowledge.
- We offer a discount and advice for schools and have done so since our company's inception. After all, school children inspired us to start our business so it's a way for us to reciprocate. In this economic climate, funds are often not available for school programs related to sustainability, so this is a way to bring awareness to students and their families. Through our Waste-Free Challenge, we donate 20% of every sale back to the school that helps promote this message and offers our products.
- A few years ago we were fortunate to receive a grant from Eileen Fisher for Woman Entrepreneurs that helped grow our business. We pay it forward by giving back to organizations that supports our mission. We are a Shop Healthy Sponsor of Healthy Child Healthy World, a national non-profit dedicated to educating and inspiring parents to make informed choices to create a safer, healthier environment for children. In 2014 we will donate 2% of every sale of our best-selling leak-proof stainless steel Nesting Trio Containers to this organization.