Honestly, this far in my green journey, I am not sure why I still remain stubborn in regards to trying new environmentally-friendly swaps….but somehow, I still am. Maybe I am actually an elderly person that scoffs at all the new-fangled green technology that I just can’t figure out? Luckily I have two forms of stubbornness–that which I have already described and also a stubbornness to make eco swaps. Eventually, the second version of my stubbornness won out and I finally purchased my first set of beeswax wraps.
What are they?
Beeswax wraps are wraps that you can use in place of plastic cling wrap, sandwich baggies, and other plastic items in your kitchen. I actually take them in my carry-on luggage and use them as makeshift plates for eating snacks! So really, the uses for them are limited only by your imagination. How do they work? Well, the heat from your hands warms up the wax on the cloth enough to make it stick to bowls or to itself.
At their core, they are made up of two parts: cotton cloths cut with pinking shears and beeswax. If you have time, an oven, and have beeswax readily available in your host country, you can actually easily make these at home! Unfortunately, I had neither an oven nor readily available beeswax when I needed the wraps so I ended up purchasing a set online. If you are in a similar situation or don’t have the time to make your own wraps, you can order some here (for the US) or here (for the UK).
The list of pros is quite long for me. I’ve been using them in my kitchen for a couple months now and mainly used it to wrap cheese; I feel like I only really started to tap into the wraps full potential on my recent trip to Mexico. For the road trip down to St. Louis airport, I used one to pack myself a sandwich. After eating it and cleaning it in my hotel room, I stowed it in an easy-to-grab spot in my carry on. From there, I used it as a plate for my to-go snacks on my airport tray, to carry snacks with me from my Air B&B to my various destinations around the city, and to bring home whatever food I couldn’t finish whenever possible.
While I like most things about these wraps, there is one major drawback: you can’t use hot water to clean them. Now, this isn’t a huge problem for me. I know that heat is an issue for these so I clean them immediately after use; however, I had an issue when I was staying in a private room Air B&B (that had a shared kitchen area). I had cleaned my beeswax after breakfast and it was drying in the dish rack. Apparently, the owner came home and thought it was trash and threw it out into the organic trash.
I asked her about it later that day as I was on my way out the door. She said she would look for it (no matter how much I insisted that she didn’t need to dig through her compost pile for it). When I came home, she had used hot water to wash it and nearly all of the beeswax had melted off of it. Now, if you have an oven and beeswax available to you, this is an easy thing to fix (keep an eye out for my post on this coming soon!). Unfortunately, those two items are not easy to get your hands on in some areas of the world. If you are living in a country or town where beeswax is not readily available or you don’t have an oven, this is something to consider. Of course, this can be easily prevented by making sure all of the people in your household are aware of the proper way to clean the wraps.
Another minor issue is that these don’t create a leak-proof seal so they cannot completely replace zip-top baggies for snack items with leaky bits–peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, for example.. For me, this isn’t really an issue because my snacks are usually just nuts or fruit, but this could be an issue for some people.
I really enjoy using these both at home and when traveling. Now, there are lots of cute pattern options to choose from–there were not that many options when I got mine. I do plan on making some of my own while I am back in the States so I can have a bunch of them. I hope to keep some in my kitchen, purse, and office. Never know when you might need one! Keep an eye out for my post on how to repair or make your own set!
What environmentally-conscious ways do you store food and take snacks places? Share your tips below!