Reusable wax wraps are a great eco-friendly alternative to clingfilm and foil. They are an easy swop to reduce your use of plastic and eliminate the need to buy clingfilm or foil. The following product review of beeswax and vegan wax wraps looks at the pros and cons. In my shop, you can find both beeswax wraps and vegan wraps.
What are they?
Wax wraps are an eco-friendly, and very pretty, alternative to clingfilm and foil.
How do they work?
The wraps come in different sizes and can be used for a variety of purposes. They become pliable from the warmth of your hands and can easily be moulded to fit any shape. By sticking to the object, or itself, the wrap forms a seal and keeps food fresh for longer. Here are a few examples of how to use them:
- Wrap any cut veg or fruit, such as half an onion, the end of cucumber or half an avocado;
- Wrap cheese (you can also take it to the supermarket or your local cheese shop);
- Wrap a sandwich to take to work or when you are out and about;
- Cover a bowl with any leftovers;
- Bigger wraps can be used to keep a loaf of bread fresh or cover a large baking dish.
What are they made of?
In the case of beeswax wraps, the wraps are made of cotton that is coated with a layer of wax (a mixture of beeswax, natural resin and oils). Alternatively, you can get vegan wax wraps that are coated with plant-based waxes (plus tree resins and plant oils).
What are the pros and cons?
As with many eco-friendly, reusable products, the wraps require an initial investment, but will save you money in the long run. When out and about, I think that the wraps are better compared to clingfilm / foil and even containers for the following reasons:
- You won’t have to carry waste around until you find the next bin or get home;
- Once eaten, you can fold up the wrap and have gained a little bit of space in your bag;
- You are producing less waste!
I don’t think the wraps have many downsides, but here are some issues that you might find irritating:
- If you wrap cheese or cover a bowl, you might forget what’s underneath it as the wraps are not see-through;
- Depending on the size of the wrap, it might be difficult to find a space to hang them to dry (they dry very quickly though);
- After a while the wax will come off in which case you can either refresh the wrap (see below) or buy new.
The wraps can be refreshed by putting them into the oven on a low heat for a couple of minutes to spread the remaining wax. If there is not much wax left, you can grate a block of wax and sprinkle some on before putting the wrap into the oven.
In the end, you will have to weigh up the benefit of reducing waste and saving money against the hassle of cleaning and refreshing the coating, or buying new.
What makes them eco-friendly?
Using wax wraps instead of clingfilm and foil can avoid the use of large quantities of plastic and aluminium. Plastic clingfilm is not recyclable and will sit in landfill for many years. Aluminium, in turn, requires a lot of energy during the extraction process and therefore has a high carbon footprint .
At the end of their useful life wax wraps can be composted by cutting them up into smaller pieces.
Who makes them?
Many wraps are made by small companies and there’s probably one local to you, especially if you are looking for beeswax wraps. Mrs B’s Bees wraps, which you can find in my shop, are made in Alton near Winchester and they only use honey from their own hives in Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex.
Vegan wraps are not as common as beeswax wraps, but I found very good ones from Rowen Stillwater.