You take reusable shopping bags to the store, you put a stop to catalogs and junk mail, you compost and recycle, but when trash day rolls around, you still have so much garbage. What’s an environmentally conscious individual to do?
One way to further reduce household waste is by using a product that is now readily available at many cooking supply and health food stores, as well as online: beeswax food wraps. These reusable coverings are made of beeswax, jojoba oil, tree resin, and either cotton or cotton and hemp fabric. The beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin are natural ingredients that possess preservative properties to help food last longer, thereby, reducing food waste. In addition, beeswax food wraps decrease household waste overall by taking the place of plastic bags, containers, and plastic wrap. Unlike many other types of food storage, they allow some air circulation, which is especially nice when wrapping fruits and vegetables. And if foods are stored properly, they won’t go bad as quickly.
Here a few things you should know about beeswax wraps:
- They are malleable. You can mold them to fit over a glass bowl or container, or wrap them like a package. The wraps adhere, so they won’t unwrap in the cupboard or refrigerator.
- They develop “character” over time. Expect creases, fraying, and stains. Like antique furniture or old jeans, these imperfections become part of their charm.
- They are easy to clean. Simply wash them in cold water and soap (eco-friendly, gentle ones with low alcohol content are best).
- They are NOT heat-resistant, therefore, they can’t be cleaned in the dishwasher or used on the stovetop. Hot foods must be cooled before being stored in bees wax wraps.
- They last about a year, and after that, they are compostable.
- When in doubt, they should be used with a glass bowl or container. Foods containing certain enzymes, such as pineapple, may damage the wraps. Raw meat or poultry should not come into contact with the wraps.
Among the best-known brands of beeswax wraps are Abeego, based in Victoria, British Columbia, and Bee’s Wrap, based in Bristol, Vermont. Both companies sell the wraps in different sizes to accommodate items as large as baguettes and watermelon halves and as small as cut fruits and vegetables. Both companies are devoted to reducing waste and promoting sustainability.
All this information begs the question, “Can you make your own?” Yes, if you have the time and the inclination. Plenty of instructions are available online, but most don’t include information about the jojoba oil and tree resin, so you miss out on the preservative benefits of those ingredients. Also, production of the wraps requires a bit of trial-and-error finesse to get the ratio of beeswax to cloth just right.
Whether you decide to make your own or purchase some of these, you’ll be taking a honey of a step toward reducing household waste. Sweet!
Farmers’ Almanac makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. This information was not sponsored by or paid for in any way by the manufacturers or agents working on their behalf.