By Andrea Tomkins
In a previous post I shared some easy ways we can reduce plastic in our home.
It’s sobering to consider the fact that plastic never really goes away, and more of it is produced every year. According to this article in the Globe and Mail, an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic, “the equivalent of approximately 630 billion single-use plastic water bottles, finds its way into our oceans every year, posing a deadly threat to marine life. At the moment, more than five trillion pieces of plastic litter the oceans.”
Recycling plastic is one way to start solving the problem, but it’s also smart to reduce the amount of single use plastic we use every day. For my family, not buying plastic straws and not grabbing them at our favourite restaurants is a no-brainer because it’s so easy to do. You know what else is easy? Reducing the amount of plastic wrap we use.
Reusable containers and jars are getting more use than ever before, but sometimes I don’t want to dirty a container (or, let’s be real, the lid is missing) and all I want is cover a bowl of leftovers. What’s an environmentally friendly gal to do? Enter beeswax wrap. It’s a great replacement to plastic wrap!
Given that I’m writing this post right before Thanksgiving, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Abeego reusable beeswax food wrap might make a really nice hostess gift. I wouldn’t normally advocate giving food wrap as a gift – it’s not exactly as traditional as a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates – but I’m making an exception here because (a) I like this stuff so much and would love it if someone gave it to me and (b) I know that if you gifted this to the right person, it would be really appreciated because it would be used over and over again. It’s a gift that keeps giving!
Pros and cons of beeswax wrap
There are many pros to this kind of wrap. First, it’s reusable. It makes me happy knowing we’re not using as much plastic wrap as we used to!
It’s flexible. I often use it to cover a bowl before popping it in the fridge. It’s also a great way to wrap cheese, which tends to get fuzzy if it stays wrapped in plastic for too long. Half a cabbage? Abeego to the rescue. You can also use it to wrap sandwiches so they conform to “litterless lunch” rules that are set out by the school boards.
It’s made out of good stuff. Abeego wraps are made of hemp and organic cotton cloth soaked in a mixture of tree resin, organic jojoba oil and beeswax to give it strength and flexibility. That’s it!
When you first unwrap them you might be a little mystified. You might find yourself thinking that because you’re buying a cloth it should feel a bit more like fabric but beeswax wraps are on the stiffer side.
What about the cons? There aren’t many, but there are some best-practices you should keep in mind as you use the wraps so you can prolong their lifespan. For example, you can’t use beeswax wraps in the microwave (but then again, you shouldn’t use plastic wrap in the microwave either). You should not wrap a slab of raw meat with beeswax wrap. Also, and maybe this is obvious, but beeswax wrap will “hug” a bowl but not provide a 100% seal. This isn’t an issue unless that bowl of leftover soup in the fridge will be travelling to work with you the next day. If that’s the case, you should pour it in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
If highly pigmented foods like freshly chopped beets or tomato sauce come into contact with the wrap, you will probably get some staining. But that’s ok! I don’t see it as a “con.” It’s more like a badge of honor. Stains don’t mean the wrap is dirty, it just means that the wraps aren’t soaked in a chemical stain repellant, and that’s a good thing. Maybe just rinse the wrap if it’s been in contact with food to prevent it from absorbing any pigment. Speaking of which…
How to clean beeswax wrap
It’s best to wash the beeswax wrap like you would wash a dish, not a cloth. (In other words, don’t wring it out like you would a dish rag.)
If it’s just been used as a bowl cover and hasn’t come into contact with food, I run a damp cloth over it and put it away. If needed, I wash my Abeego in cool water. Then I let it dry on the counter before rolling it up and putting it away in the drawer. Don’t soak it in hot water with your dishes. Scrubbing will wear down the waxy coating and will decrease the lifespan of the wrap.
For a heavily soiled wrap, the folks at Abeego recommend filling your sink with cold water, adding an eco-friendly dish soap, immersing it, and washing like a regular dish. Just don’t let it soak for too long.
It’s time to get a new one if the wrap starts to lose its waxy coating and is feeling a bit threadbare. Apparently they last about a year, but I think it really depends on how many you have in rotation and how frequently you wash them.
When you’re done with it, you can pop in in your compost. I’ve also heard of folks cutting their old beeswax wraps into strips and using them to support plants and flowers in the garden.
Beeswax wraps in Canada
Abeego is a Canadian company (yay!), and there are four different sizes of Abeego available in-store and online at terra20.
So how about it? Maybe this year, when you show up at your parent’s place for Thanksgiving dinner, you should give the gift of wine, a bouquet of flowers, and beeswax wraps for all the leftovers. What do you think?