Thinking about going zero waste in the kitchen, but aren’t sure where to start? One option is to reduce single-use plastics by switching from plastic wrap to a reusable alternative like beeswax or soy wax wraps. They have recently gained popularity in the low-waste world, but can be an expensive investment if you aren’t sure that they will fit into your new kitchen routine. Luckily, they are simple to make and require few ingredients, so if you want to try them out, you can DIY.
You can find a couple of methods and varying ingredients in recipes online, but here are the basics of what you’ll need:
- A thin, tightly-weaved 100% cotton cloth (reused is best!), your choice on the size and shape. To prevent fraying, cut a rectangle, square, oval, etc. with pinking shears or sew the edges.
- A heat source, e.g. an oven or iron
- Pure beeswax or soy wax, and optional ingredients like jojoba oil and pine resin
- A non-stick surface like parchment paper or a silicon mat on a cookie sheet
You only need up to a few tablespoons of wax per wrap, so this is a great item to seek out in a bulk bin if you only want to try a little. The main idea is to coat the cotton fabric completely with melted wax, whether you sprinkle the wax on top and then melt it or double boil it and use a brush to apply it to both sides. It cools and dries in a few minutes and is ready to use immediately. Sew on a button and a string to create a sandwich wrap or leave it as is. This can be a great craft to do with kids or to make as gifts!
Waxed wrap does a great job replacing plastic wrap for many uses. Simply use the heat of your hands to mold the fabric and make it stick. Use beeswax wrap to:
- Cover bowls or oddly shaped containers
- Wrap up snacks (instead of using a plastic baggie)
- Cover cut fruits and vegetables
Waxed wraps should not be used to cover meat and don’t create quite as airtight of a seal as using plastic wrap, so keep that in mind for certain applications.
To care for your beeswax wrap between uses, wipe it clean with warm soapy water. Don’t use hot water as this may impact the wax coating. If your wrap starts to crack up or lose its structure, you can always restore it by reheating it to redistribute the wax, and add more wax if needed. If it’s eventually beyond hope, pure beeswax and soy wraps can be placed in your organics recycling.