Jennie Stoller is a Silver Lake mother who got tired of throwing out yet another plastic bag from her children's school lunches, so she and two other mothers came up with Lunchskins, designed to replace the traditional plastic sandwich bags.
"These are exactly the same size. One will end up in your landfill. The other you can bring back home and reuse," Stoller said.
"We were sitting around the kitchen table one day and we realized that between us we throw out about 12, at least 12 bags a day," Stoller said.
The group -- which includes Kirsten Quigley, Cristina Bourelly and Stoller -- estimates 20 million plastic bags from school lunches are thrown into the trash daily. The company began in 2009.
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Stoller, a graphic designer and the creative director for Lunchskins, is in charge of the designs, which range from large colorful graphics to simple monochromatic looks.
The mother of a 9-year-old boy and 12-year-old daughter said the bags are water resistant and are made from a thick cotton fabric coated with a polyurethane liner imported from Germany. They are certified as lead, Bisphenol-A and phthalate-free, according to the company website.
"Because it is made from this European pastry bag material, which is food safe, it withstands high heat," Stoller said. "So all you have to do is turn it inside out and throw it in the dishwasher."
Lunchskins aren't just about fashion and function. In fact, they are also educational tools.
"It's empowering a lot of our kids, like my son is one of the guys in school who separates the trash and makes sure that people are throwing things in the right place, questioning the overuse of kids plastic bags because he knows it doesn't need to be that way," Stoller said.
While perfect for the little ones, the sub, sandwich and snack sized bags are also good for moms and dads. Adults have used them to hold receipts, makeup and even dog treats, according to the company.
The bags are available online and in retail stores such as Whole Foods and the Container Store. They are priced between $7 and $11 and can be found in local shops such as Kelly Green in Silver Lake and Eco by Design in Pacific Palisades. A percentage of the sale of each bag also goes to environmental groups and causes.
More information about Lunchskins is available at www.lunchskins.com.