Bento Ninja: Your Stainless Steel Homeware Go-To
Plastic sucks. We all know that! And when we tackle challenges like Plastic Free July, we’re made even more aware of how serious our plastic dependency really is. Sure, we can boycott plastic straws and try our best to balance food in our arms as we exit the supermarket plastic-bag-free, but what about everything else in our lives that is made from plastic?
Bento Ninja are literally karate chopping away those frustrating plastic household products that break as soon you drop them and cannot be fixed once they’re damaged. They’ve replaced your lunch boxes, pegs, soap trays, dish racks, and many more plastic household items with stainless steel alternatives that do good by you and the planet.
“We look after you, if you're ready to look after our earth.”
Why Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is one of the most sustainable, safe, and reusable everyday materials. It’s made from a mixture of other metals, and scrap metal is often a primary raw material in stainless steel. This means up to 70% of the product comes from recycled materials. Theoretically, stainless steel is 100% recyclable, even when it’s rusty. The more it is recycled, the less those elements need to be mined which means less environmental damage associated with mining operations, and major energy savings.
I’m all about keeping resources in the resource loop through recycling, but often when materials are recycled, they loose quality. This is not the case with stainless steel! Stainless steel can be recycled without any degradation.
More about Bento Ninja
Bento Ninja are the original and leading stainless steel (peg) brand. They make their straws in Christchurch, New Zealand, offer repair clips on lunchboxes or sock hangers for free, and encourage you to find local metal recyclers when/if your product is ever unusable. I’ve recycled metal through a local recycler myself, and sometimes you can even make a few dollars back too!
At the forefront of Bento Ninja, is quality. Quality that ensures parents can buy their children lunchboxes just once at the start of their schooling career, and trust they’ll last. Quality that enables you to purchase pegs once in your lifetime, and have food containers that don’t snap when you drop them on the kitchen floor. Bento Ninja’s passion for quality means they’ve chosen manufacturers both in New Zealand and overseas who focus on quality products, while ensuring they don’t use child labour, pay fair wages, and allow for holidays and leave.
Who is Bento Ninja?
Mum of two beautiful boys and wife to Mr Ninja (a stainless steel fabricator), Noriyo is the driving force behind Bento Ninja and she doesn’t take ‘going-green’ lightly. If she’s not up at 2am fulfilling your orders, or working out what extra products we need in our lives to replace plastic, she’s playing roller derby or having fun with her little eco warriors.
I asked Noriyo a few questions about Bento Ninja, so we can see into her world and understand what it takes to run a thriving eco business.
What is one thing you wish you knew at the start of your Bento Ninja journey?
I wish I had more confidence from the start that the Bento Ninja concept (sustainable & reusable stainless steel products) would be successful and popular to become my full-time passion.
What is the biggest challenge of running a sustainable-focused company?
Trying to be the role model of sustainable business. I'm the least sustainable person stay up working till 2am! Jokes aside, it’s challenging trying to educate manufacturers to offer all recyclable or compostable packaging, yet keep products affordable. It’s also a challenge to continue minimising the carbon footprint of the business and our products - something we strive to always do.
If someone were to describe Bento Ninja in 3 words, what would they be?
Noriyo asked her lovely customers to help her with this answer, and although the standout answers were things like "Stainless Steel Magic", the majority of people said 'Sustainable, Durable, and Quality.’
I’m lucky enough to have a few Bento Ninja products in my home, and partnering with Noriyo to spread the message about her work has been such fun!
Below is my review of how Bento Ninja products work in my home, and how they could work for you too.
When your wardrobe means the world to you, having the right coat hangers is important. I’ve always been a coat hanger snob, ever since a certain coat hanger stretched the shoulders of a dress and ruined it completely.
These metal coat hangers will be my forever friends, and I have no doubt I’ll pass them onto my grandkids. When a plastic coat hanger stretches and falls off the rails (literally and metaphorically), there’s not much you can do with it aside from upcycle as veggie posts in your garden- otherwise it’s destined for landfill. Imagine if we all had metal coat hangers that simply didn’t wear away or change shape! We’d need one set for life. Easy.
Plastic pegs are a zero wasters nightmare. There’s no way to salvage them once they’re busted, and when you hang dry only (dryers are major energy wasters), they don’t seem to last long in the sun and rain. Stainless steel marine grade pegs are what Bento Ninja are best known for, and their nationwide reputation has never let me down.
I was excited to hear via Instagram, that many of you are already rocking Bento Ninja dish racks in your kitchen! My flatmates have been ‘wowed’, and even my husband commented positively on this new groovy addition to our home. We used to have an old rusty rack with weirdly spaced rails and nowhere to put cutlery or stack plates properly. This is a TOTAL upgrade. The cutlery holder is superb for ACTUALLY drying our utensils, and I love that I can take the middle rack out, depending on what type of dishes I need to dry.
IMPORTANT: You can rearrange the dish rack in many different ways. The middle tray sits above the rack, and the cutlery holder can sit outside of the middle compartment. I’m still learning new ways to use it! Check out more pictures of how to use it here.
If you’re like me (super thrifty when it comes to buying food on the go, plus you enjoy reducing single use plastic), snack boxes are your go-to. Especially when they are leak proof. I’ve never had a spillage in the few months I’ve used these waste-free food boxes, and most of my friends eye them up in envy when I whip them out. They look super rad, right? As well as looking great, these bad boys can go in the dishwasher, and the triple snack set stacks in on each other like a Russian doll situation.
Ready to hunt through Bento Ninja’s stainless steel goodies?
Note: It’s important you use what you have (even if it is plastic), but if you need something, Bento Ninja is a great place to go.
Use code ETHICALLYKATE for 10% off.
As a rule, I only work with brands I love, use, and can whole heartedly back. I send the brand a large list of questions to answer first, and trial the product properly before saying yes to anything. This is a sponsored blog (I can't pay my electricity bill with free products), but 100% my own words, photos, and opinion.