Want to Be More Sustainable in 2019? Try This One Simple Swap
Borrowed from the bees.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:23 AM
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The quick and easy replacement for plastic wrap is taking Pinterest by storm: Searches for beeswax wraps are up 146 percent on the site just this year. The rise in interest is also translating IRL after the coveted Trader Joe’s Waxed Cotton Food Wraps option quietly showed up in stores late September and were sold out everywhere within days.
All this hoopla for just a plastic wrap alternative? It seems many of us are trying to quit our single-use plastic habit, and beeswax wraps are the new wave of easy, convenient solutions to help us valiantly step in the right direction. First reusable bags for your groceries, followed by using glass or metal straws in place of plastic, and now beeswax wrap instead of saran wrap.
While it obviously won’t singlehandedly stop climate change and ocean plastic waste, these small acts are steps to living less wastefully. They can potentially make changes in the world, but they most definitely can have a huge impact on the environment within your home. “Less plastic, less garbage, and less packaging means a home that feels lighter, brighter, and, I’m going there: way prettier,” wrote Erin Boyle, the founder of Reading My Tea Leaves, a site dedicated to sustainable and simple living (and winner of the Best Small Space Design Blog in the 2017 Domino Design Blog Awards).
So what exactly are beeswax wraps and how do you use them? It’s rather simple. They’re made from beeswax, jojoba oil, tree resin, and organic cotton, and to make the wraps, they combine the wax, oil, and resin and paint it onto sheets of organic cotton to create beeswax wrap. The antibacterial properties of the beeswax and jojoba oil keep the wraps clean while also enabling you to reuse them.
To use, allow the heat of your hands to soften and mold the material, as you press the wrap around the food or item, and then as it immediately cools, it’ll create a seal over the food or dishware you wish to cover. Once you’re done with your wrap, just wash it with gentle soap and cool water (hot water can melt it), then let it air-dry to use it again.
The reusable wraps are great for covering fresh bread, vegetables and fruits, cheeses, and baked goods. That being said, it’s not pliable enough to get a complete seal, so it’s less ideal for things that need an airtight seal. It’s also not ideal for wrapping things like raw meat or other items you would need to completely sterilize.
Eventually, the wrap will lose its seal and coating and wear out, and then you can just simply compost it. It should last around a year, as long as you wash and dry it properly.
Psyched about beeswax? Try out a few of the wraps we’re eyeing right now.
If size(s) matters…
The name you’ll see most often in the beeswax wrap world is Bee’s Wrap, started in 2012 in upstate Vermont by a foodie mom trying to find a sustainable, attractive option to popular plastic food storage. They work beautifully, and this assorted three-pack—one small, one medium, and one large—is perfect for storing food items big or small sustainably.
If you want it large (and in charge)…
Abeego claims to be the original beeswax wrap, so trust the originator to create a supersize version to store any fresh loaves of bread or cover large mixing bowls. The brand says its wraps should last over a year, so your $18 will not go to waste.
If you like sandwiches…
If you rely on a daily plastic Ziploc to keep your sandwiches sealed up until lunchtime, this handy sandwich wrap by Bee’s Wrap is perfect for you. The cute honeycomb print and clever wooden button with a string closure will keep your sandwich safe and sound until hunger strikes.
If you like patterns…
Bearflox Large Beeswax 3 Pack, $16.97
If you’d love to be more sustainable, but the subtle print versions aren’t really your style, try out a polka-dot print that spices things up. The mint green, Millennial Pink, and fresh yellow colorways are anything but shy, and you’ll be able to show off your passion for sustainability in style.
If florals are more your speed, peep these Z Wrap Beeswax Wraps, $21.95, for a bright, poppy print that we kind of wish was available as a wallpaper option too.
If you’re making it a habit…
Bee’s Wrap Lunch Set, $46
Think you’ll love this sustainable option? You’ll need a lot of wraps then, say about six or so. This set of two sandwich wraps and four medium wraps should be great for a plethora of daily uses, from breakfast to lunch to dinner and all the snacks in between. Bonus points for the cute navy blue bee and bear print, which was inspired by the black bears and busy bees in the Vermont woods.
If you’re at a store…
Heading to your local TJ’s? Check out the kitchen aisle and cross your fingers and toes that the popular wraps have been restocked. The TJ’s version is on stripe-printed cloths with three size options—small, medium, and large. Stock up if you see them, and send a few of ’em our way!