I understand. The handiness. The cheapy cheapness. You need to cover the leftover potato salad from Christmas so you whack a sheet of plastic fantastic over the bowl and voila! When you next need to chow, you take the wrap off and it doesn’t matter that it has mayonnaise on it because you can just chuck it away! Easy.
But where does it go after you’ve popped it in the bin, out of sight out of mind? Collected by the garbage truck and taken to the nearest landfill? Swept up by a gust of wind and blown into a stormwater drain and taken out to sea? Picked up by a scavenging seagull or other animal?
My zero-waste motto for this year is “There is No Away”. It reminds me that everything I use has a life cycle. What happens to a product once it is out of my life, and how does this affect others and the earth?
When I ask that question about cling film, the result is not positive. For such a small and unnecessary purpose, it has a long lasting and negative impact.
So what can we change?
– Does it need to be wrapped at all? Sammies and other lunch goodies can just as easily be popped in reusable containers. Using a plate or bowl as a lid over your leftovers is also awesome.
– Alternatives. There are many out there! Reusable containers, damp covering cloths, paper bags, jars, wax wraps, and baking paper are all preferable to cling film. Many people turn to aluminium foil, though a quick search will tell you that this may actually be less environmentally friendly.
Personally I am a huge fan of wax wraps. We’ve already talked about the wonderful Honeywrap, and there are other brands out there too (although the added bonus of Honeywrap is that it hasn’t got plastic packaging and has therefore been my first choice.). However I decided this year to make my own Christmas gifts and I ended up making my own wax wraps! Yippee!
I needed: cloth, bees wax, a sewing machine + accessories, baking paper, an oven, a cheese grater, string + pegs, and a partner in crime.
I am very lucky to have Henrietta in my life. She’s a cool chickadee who is also interested in environmentalism and conveniently has a family that keeps a few beehives. Having recently harvested honey, Henrietta set about separating the leftover wax and then bringing it over to my house to play! This was our method:
1. We cut our cloth into variously sized squares, then Henrietta ironed and I sewed up the hems. I imagine there are ways of avoiding fraying but I was in Christmas sewing mode, so we just went for it.
7. Tidy up is a bit of a mission when it comes to wax. Henrietta’s tip is to use boiling water and paper towels, which worked like a charm. Still, I don’t recommend using any precious kitchen items on a project like this.
So that’s that! They work great, they look, great, they smell HEAVENLY. And as a plus my Christmas presents went down a treat. I made reusable hessian bags with denim designs and inside went an assortment of goodies: the wax wraps and candles, bamboo toothbrushes, homemade lemon, honey, and ginger cordial, jars of Henrietta’s honey, and reusable metal straws. I reused bits of paper collected throughout the year as wrapping/labelling paper and tied them up with leftover hessian threads and reused rubber bands. Went down a treat 😀