I find myself using Ziploc bags quite a bit when I’m storing leftovers that just don’t fit into my tupperware (or when I can’t seem to find lids for my tupperware).
I started thinking about a way to remedy this, as I don’t love the idea of buying plastic bags, although I do wash and reuse them, in order to keep my kitchen organized. I figured there must be some alternative that was just as convenient but more sustainable.
Then I came across waxed food wraps, which are essentially a piece of cloth treated with beeswax so they are water and food repellant and shapeable. You can wrap up a sandwich, cover a roast, or wrap up a dinner plate so it’s ready to serve again tomorrow. They can function as both plastic wrap and as Ziplocs, so the need to buy plastic for your kitchen really plummets.
Some more great news is that Trader Joe’s now carries these in packs of three, so it’s even more convenient to get a little greener in your food storage. You can also get some nice variants in sizes and functionality at Bee’s Wrap, and Amazon carries some as well–though Trader Joe’s definitely offers the best price.
Another option is to go DIY and make your own, which is what I’ll be attempting and documenting below:
First, I chose my fabrics. Ideally, I would have liked to get organic, but I saw these adorable kitchen cloths at Daiso and thought they’d make the perfect wraps. Then I grabbed a big block of beeswax from Amazon. So far, we’re at about $11.
Since the cloths aren’t organic, I washed them several times before I got started to rinse out any chemicals that I don’t want around my food. You can avoid this by just using organic cloth.
- Grater (unless you bought Beeswax pellets)
- Cookie sheet you will only use for this purpose going forward
- Large paint brush also just for this purpose
- String and clothespins
- Preheat the oven to 190F
- Spread cloth on cookie sheet
- Sprinkle with grated beeswax (not much!)
- Place in the oven for only a few minutes and keep your eye on things. We’re looking at about 5 minutes max
- When wax is melted, remove and immediately spread with large paintbrush. If wax hardens before you can spread, pop it back in
- Hang on string with clothespins to harden
Once you’re done, your wraps are ready to go. The hardest part of this whole process was probably grating the beeswax. In retrospect, beeswax pellets might’ve been a better choice.
Since I have a ton of beeswax left over, I can use cloth I already have such as old bedsheets, pillow cases, kitchen towels, and scrap fabric from sewing to make more. This puts me at even more cost-effectiveness than Trader Joe’s!
On top of that, this is a fun project to do with the little ones. My little guy in particular loves getting in the kitchen and creating things, edible or not. I love sharing this kind of activity with him not only for the bonding, but it’s an opportunity to teach about chemistry (not only the beeswax but the plastic and what’s in them) and sustainability.
Most importantly, it develops his consciousness that the earth has finite resources and that making effort to reduce our impact is an act of compassion to the planet we live on and the people who occupy it with us.
Oh, and in the interest of being imperfect, I haven’t sworn off plastic wrap. Until I get myself a critical mass of food wraps, the plastic wrap is sticking around in my drawer. We’re going for a little progress, not perfection. Maybe by the time the plastic wrap runs out, we’ll have our little food wrap collection to replace it.
Be soft with yourself as you are soft with the earth!