In trying to find a eco-friendly lunch bag for my son that is good for the Earth and good for his health too, I came across "neoprene". There are some beautiful snazzy bags made of neoprene, all claiming to be eco-friendly... but how? Neoprene is a petroleum-based product that is not biodegradable. Worst, when it degrades, it tends to break down into dust-like particles that float into the air and end up in your lungs. As far as I know, neoprene is not recyclable. In trying to understand where the eco-friendly claim comes from, I found this quote on a page describing neoprene lunch totes "(...) this safe, eco-friendly bag is free from lead and contains no PVC or vinyl."
Now I understand... neoprene is eco-friendly in what it is NOT. It does NOT contain lead. It does NOT contain PVC. It is NOT made of vinyl... I prefer products whose claim to eco-friendliness is about what they are... durable, natural, recyclable, biodegradable, healthy, rather than what they are NOT.
So, in order to get a truly eco-friendly plastic-free lunch bag for our son, we went to a women's co-op in Ottawa (Ontario), just south of Wakefield (Quebec) where we live and asked these wonderful women to develop a truly plastic free lunch bag. What they came up with is astounding. Finally a truly natural, durable, biodegradable, healthy and stylish lunch bag completely non-plastic made of cotton and insulated with wool. Even the buckles and zipper are metal... NO PLASTIC! And the best of all, it is NOT made in China. Check it out here: Insulated Completely Natural Lunch Bag.