Beeswax Food Wraps. Can They Replace Plastic Wraps?

In a typical household, we wrap or cover almost everything that goes into the fridge with plastic cling wrap, anything from cheese, onions, leftovers, etc. It is inexpensive, there's minimal fuss and mess in usage, and it keeps things you want, in, and anything else unwanted, out. The problems is the same one we've talk about extensively – plastic pollution. Plastic cling wrap, though we've gotten used to its convenience, it is not reusable and super unfriendly to the environment.

Beeswax wraps are a natural, eco-friendly, and reusable alternative to plastic wrap for food storage. Typically made out of just beeswax and cotton/linen cloth, they can be used to wrap cheese, half a lemon, a crusty loaf of bread, as a cover over a bowl, or to pack a snack for your next adventure. Here, we shed light on what the benefits of switching are, how to use and care for them.

Benefits of switching

  1. Reduce plastic waste
  2. Environmentally friendly
  3. Washable, reusable and compostable

How to use Beeswax Wraps

If you're wrapping a food item (e.g. half an onion bulb or lemon):

  1. Place the beeswax wrap on a flat surface and put item in the center of the wrap
  2. Depending on your personality type, you could either fold in the corners into a neat pouch, or you could scrounge the fabric up into a ball. 
    NODo not use to cover raw meat. 

If you're using it as a cover,

  1. Place wrap over the bowl/jar/bottle, and fold down the sides of the wrap around the storage container
  2. Apply pressure and leave the palms of your hand over the edges of the storage container to warm up the beeswax wrap so you can shape and mold over or around your food. If you can't be fussed about that, you could use a string or rubber band to hold the wrap in place. 

NOTE: Because beeswax wraps are made from natural beeswax they need to be kept away from all sources of heat, including hot water, steam, hot food and flames. Wait until the food is cool and then cover with it with your wrap.  Avoid putting them in the dishwasher, microwave oven, or anywhere they can get hot.

Now you know the benefits and uses of beeswax wraps and you've decided to purchase (or DIY) a bunch of wraps, yay! Next you'd need to know how to maintain these wraps.

How to wash & store

  1. Remove the beeswax wrap from the food item or container
  2. If it was used for dried foods, you can either wipe with wet cloth or just shake out any crumbs
  3. If the wrap has dirt or oil, you can wash it with cool water and eco-friendly washing liquid, rinse, and wipe/hang dry after. The natural coating on your wrap will dissolve in alcohol so check your dish washing liquid before washing your wraps.
  4. Store flat/rolled up/folder in a cool, dry place as heat will strip the beeswax from the wrap (and create a really un-sexy waxy mess)

Super easy to clean! No excess waste going into the trash after every use!

Beeswax Wrap "How-to" Info-graph

How long can i use these wraps for?

The primary content of these wraps is beeswax (some use oils), so what happens to the wax after repeated use?  

With day to day use, stains and creases may appear, but these don’t affect your wraps ability to do their job. If you follow the above care instructions, your beeswax wrap will last up to a year. If you find that the wrap is losing its ability to waterproof, or if the wax has worn off in places, you can either throw them in a compost bin or refresh them by sparingly sprinkle some grated beeswax on the cotton and heating the wrap in the oven (see beeswax wrap DIY videos and articles). Refreshing your beeswax wraps is really simple, and makes them truly sustainable and reusable for a very long time.
 

So.. can beeswax wraps replace plastic cling wrap?

Whilst there are many obvious benefits for the environment if we all swapped plastic for more sustainable options permanently, it is undeniable that plastic may be essential in certain situations. We might, on occasion, find that we still reach for that plastic cling wrap when we need a more water resistant, non-porous, or mess-free option, and in all honesty, that's fine! Using plastic doesn't make you an evil, Earth-hater, but we can definitely all do our part to preserve our natural habitat by reducing the use of materials and substances harmful to the planet. 

What you read here is combined knowledge of personal experience of myself and other beeswax wrap users. Try them for yourself and tell us what you think!