Good Question: Eco-Friendly Sandwich Bags?

Here's a good question from Ayse, who is looking for a better way to pack her sandwiches.

Are there any eco-friendly sandwich bags out there? I was thinking something along the lines of the biobags that I use to collect compost in my kitchen.

As much as I would like to try to reuse my Ziploc sandwich bags, a smear of yesterday's avocado does not look very appetizing on today's sandwich. And nothing hold a messy sandwich together like a good baggie. If you think about it, this baggie would only have to remain waterproof for about 5 hours until lunch time and then it can start biodegrading right away!

Ayse, yes, there are some better plastic baggie options out there, but first we're going to redirect your question and give you some alternatives. We like baggies too, but when it comes to sandwiches, there are plenty of options.

• First of all, have you considered a washable, reusable container? You could use a plastic container or even a glass box with a lid, if you want to avoid plastic. Here's an Aladdin Lunchbox that is especially good for sandwiches.

• Secondly, did you know that you can wrap sandwiches very securely in wax paper or freezer paper? Here's a great tutorial at Tipnut on wrapping meat securely. It can also be applied to sandwiches. The Drugstore Wrap, at Tipnut.

• Wax paper is compostable, so even if you don't want to wrap your sandwiches, you could also just use wax paper bags, like these: Natural Value Unbleached Wax Paper Bags. You can also put a waxed paper bag inside of a plastic bag to make it more airtight and to let you reuse the plastic bag more easily.

• You can also buy reusable, machine-washable wraps for sandwiches, like this lined Wrap-N-Mat (also available at Whole Foods), or these oilcloth wraps at Etsy. Also check out these Kootsacs.

For better plastic alternatives, try cellulose bags:

Cellulose Bags at Green Home. These can be recycled with other paper products and are not made of petroleum, and the biodegrade in 30-90 days.

And finally: did you know that Ziploc plastic bags are actually recyclable at some recycling centers? Check your local recycling guidelines to see if they accept plastic number 4. This is not very common in city recycling programs, but Lime.com says that Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, and Wegman's Food Marts will also accept plastic bags for recycling.

Related: Gallery: 9 Cool Lunch Boxes and Bags

(Images: Lime.com; UnMaskIt; Etsy seller RickRackQueen)