One day I simply decided to never use plastic cling wrap again. It was easy and I didn’t even need to buy anything new. I made the decision to eliminate plastic cling wrap from my life for environmental reasons, but now I also appreciate the health benefits. The way we store food also has an impact on how much we waste. These reusable alternatives really work and fulfil all my needs. I would never encourage anything that resulted in more food waste.
Plates on top of plates
Placing a plate over a bowl or unfinished meal is a quick and effective way of protecting food in the fridge. You already own plates and bowls, and most people have more than they need, so you will be putting them to good use. If you have plates that fit well together, you also have the option of stacking them to make the most of your space. And it’s a cinch to reheat leftovers.
Containers and jars
Containers get a lot more use in my house now. How many of you have a ‘Tupperware drawer’ of containers that you rarely use? I didn’t have a lot of plastic containers as I’ve always preferred the look of glass, but now everything gets used for storing food, from cheese to leftovers and salad leaves. Reused glass jars also come in very handy for food storage. Stainless steel containers are another light-weight option but clear containers and jars allow you to see what food you have. Again you can stack containers to use space effectively. Pyrex containers are great in that you can cook, freeze, and reheat food in the same container.
Tea towels and cloth wraps
Tea towels and other cloth wraps come in handy for vegetables, ham, and dough, or if you don’t want to use a plate over a bowl. Many people dampen the cloth before wrapping the food. I also use cloth napkins to wrap sandwiches sometimes.
Beeswax wraps are made from fabric coated in beeswax (and sometimes other ingredients) which can be moulded with the warmth of your hands around an object. I made my own beeswax wraps by melting beeswax onto cotton fabric cut from old clothing using this tutorial. I was then given some HoneyBee Wraps so I was able to compare them. They both work well. They will last for one year and are biodegradable at the end of their life. I find beeswax wraps are not essential in my kitchen but they do come in handy when I have run out of containers for lunch boxes or cut fruit like watermelon.
My mum got me on to this Lilypad silicone lid which seals airtight on all smooth rimmed stainless steel, wood, glass, plastic and ceramic containers. She found them in a local homewares store but you can get them online here too. I find it is a good option for parties or other outdoor eating situations. Its microwave safe so it can go on top of bowls for steaming and reheating food. It can even go on pots and pans to retain heat or contain splatters while cooking. Again not essential if you are happy to use your existing containers, tea towels, and plates, but handy to have if you don’t mind the purchase.
‘Shower cap’ food covers
These ‘shower cap’ food covers are also great for outdoor eating situations or to cover bowls of salad in the fridge. They are quick and easy to use being a more secure option than tea towels, beeswax wraps, and plates. They wash easily and are biodegradable at the end of their life. You could make you own ones of these too.
I don’t have any of these pockets but they might interest you for sandwiches, loose snacks and slices of cheese, quiche and so on. I am on the look out for a plastic free and biodegradable version.
So there you have some really easy solutions for eliminating plastic cling wrap from your household. I have not encountered any situation where I have needed to use plastic cling wrap so I am interested to know if you think there are times when it is necessary. Let me know! In any case, use the alternatives as your first choice as much as possible.
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