No More Plastic: Reusable food wraps
If you're looking to cut down on your waste and find plastic-free alternatives there's one easy swap I recommend you make first: Ditch the plastic cling wrap!
After seeing it in our parents' kitchens growing up, as if operating on autopilot, we all learn to use this plastic wrap for short-term single use with little thought into the bountiful alternative methods of covering and storing food.
I haven't used it personally in years as I've found there's no viable use for this form of plastic in my life when I have access to things like tupperware containers and tea towels, yet this product is still seen as commonplace or somehow "necessary" for many people.
Cling wrap is traditionally and still predominantly made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a type of plastic that is typically unable to be recycled in Australia, and which is increasingly known to be unsafe for food. PVC is used because of its permeability, but the very properties that make it permeable for water and air are the same properties that allow it to transfer dioxins to whatever it touches. (Dioxins are very toxic pollutants found all throughout our environment and food, but due to the danger WHO encourages us to actively avoid exposure. More on this in the documentary Trashed (2012).)
Fortunately, thanks to a rise in consumer awareness there are more sustainable alternatives being brought out. For a long while now, beeswax food wraps have been very popular amongst the zero waste community and increasingly promoted as the eco alternative to single-use products. These food wraps are used to conserve leftover food by covering it with a wax-coated cloth that simply needs to be wiped down between uses.
However, the exploitation of bees to harvest their wax has left this option unavailable to vegans, in some cases even discouraging vegans from finding eco alternatives to their PVC at all. (Harvesting beeswax or honey from beehives requires the process be fundamentally sustained on the exploitation and violent treatment of bees. Bees put a lot of labour into creating these resources themselves, so to prevent bees from fleeing these hives they routinely kill the Queen Bee, leaving them stranded until a new Queen takes her place.)
WRAPPA Reusable Food Wraps have come to fill this hole in the market, and now offer a vegan alternative: Australian-made cotton wraps sealed with candelilla wax, soy wax, tree resin and jojoba oil.
They're designed to wrap your sandwiches, snacks, cut fruit and to seal around jars, bowls and plates. Using the heat of just your hand, you're able to mould the wrap to the shape of the vessel you are covering or sealing. Cool, huh?
I particularly enjoy the snide use of bees on the wraps as a poke at the conventional beeswax wraps that until this point had solely been available to us. As a vegan, the cute bees are a nice way to celebrate this bee-friendly alternative!
As the average person consumes 100kg of plastic per year, attempts to kerb our individual household use are vital. To save the resources used in production, reduce the volume of our landfill, and for the safety of our own food.
To grab your own set of three WRAPPA wraps for $37, head here. Each wrap is designed to last up to twelve months, drastically cutting down on the amount of daily plastic you toss away annually.
Can't invest yet? No problem. It's easy as pie to use what you have already to cover your food. Place leftovers and chopped fruit and veg in containers with lids for up to a week, or wrap them in a tea towel if they're just going to sit out for a day or two. Alternatively, leave your cut veg open on the shelf most available to your eye line to use it up first - no cover needed!
There are so many easy swaps we can make in our lives to reduce our plastic use, and ditching cling wrap is one of the least intrusive on our lifestyles. Why not start today?
NB: After shopping here for years, Biome have asked me to become part of their affiliate team. So if you make a purchase through one of the links in this post, I will get a few dollars per sale to help cover the costs of running this website!