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Plastic wrap has many uses, whether it’s keeping food fresh or using it as a sealant for baked dishes. However, there's no denying that plastic wrap is also incredibly wasteful. Every time you use plastic wrap to cover your sandwiches and food bowls, you're creating a piece of waste that will contribute to global warming and the destruction of precious ecosystems. And that’s not all – most plastic wrap is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic linked to an array of severe and widespread health problems, including cancer, infertility and immune system damage. (Hence, the nickname, “the poison plastic.”)
Fortunately, there are plenty of plastic wrap alternatives that can get the job done and help pave the way towards a more eco-friendly kitchen. Whether you’re a budding chef hoping to green up your cooking process or a busy parent looking for a waste-free way to preserve leftovers, we’ve got you covered with this list of plastic wrap alternatives!
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Beeswax wraps are one of the newer plastic wrap alternatives to arrive on the sustainability scene. Made from all-natural ingredients such as beeswax, tree resin, jojoba oil and cotton, this zero waste kitchen staple can be washed and reused for up to a year.
One thing to be aware of is that beeswax wraps don’t always create an airtight seal. They can also melt in hot temperatures, so you should never wash them in hot water or heat them in the microwave.
If you prefer to eat your meals hot, look no further than reusable silicone bowl covers. A low-hassle alternative to plastic wrap, this unsung kitchen hero is made of flexible silicone that stretches to fit over the rims of your bowls, creating an airtight seal to keep your food fresh for longer. Unlike beeswax wraps that can only be washed by hand in cold water, silicone bowl covers are dishwasher-safe and can withstand high cooking temperatures.
Glass jars get a lot of love from the zero waste community, and for good reason. Glass is a better choice environmentally because it’s 100 percent recyclable and doesn’t lose its integrity over time. And, unlike plastic, it doesn’t leach toxic, endocrine-disrupting chemicals into your food when you pop it in the microwave. Wide-mouth jars are particularly useful for holding soups, oatmeal and salads.
Why wrap your half-eaten piece of fruit in plastic when you could store it in a reusable food container instead? A good snap-top container is durable, easy to clean and creates an airtight seal to keep your food fresh. To keep your kitchen eco-friendly, invest in food storage containers made from glass or stainless steel.
Pro tip: When the lid breaks on your storage container, as they often do over time, you can use one of your reusable food covers as a replacement lid until you order a new one!
Skip the harmful plastic wrap by covering your dish with an extra bowl or plate instead. If you don’t want to use your fancy plates and bowls as food covers, you can often find reusable glass lids at Goodwill or other thrift shops.
Banana leaves are incredibly versatile. You can use them as food wrappers, mats for grilling or a creative way to display your food. They’re waterproof, bendy and compostable, making them a great alternative to plastic wrap. (Indeed, some grocery markets in Thailand are using banana leaves as a replacement for plastic packaging!) Find them at your local Asian grocery store or buy them online in bulk.
If you find storage containers too bulky, consider storing your food in reusable silicone bags. These plastic zipper bag replacements are perfect for packing lunches, storing leftovers and taking snacks on the go. You could also use them to pack travel essentials in your suitcase.
Do you enjoy sous vide cooking? A mega-sized reusable bag can serve as an excellent alternative to a wasteful sous vide bag.
When you’ve grown up with plastic wrap all your life, it can be difficult to imagine a life without it. The good news is that The Earthling Co. has an array of sustainable kitchen products — from silicone food covers to solid dish soap — to help you break up with plastic for good. Check out the entire collection of plastic-free products and kickstart your low waste journey today!