Posts Tagged ‘Plastic wrap’

Break The Plastic Wrap Habit!

Plastic wrap is convenient, inexpensive and deeply ingrained as the way to cover and store food. According to, “we use enough plastic wrap every year to shrink-wrap the entire state of Texas.”  Yikes! Plastic wrap is also non-biodegradable, rarely recycled, a derivative of petroleum, and can leach chemicals into the food especially when heated. With a little knowledge and some imagination, you can cover and store your food far more safely and just as conveniently without plastic. Here are some ideas:

  • Glass storage containers like Pyrex, which are stackable, sturdy and microwave safe are a good solution. You can buy them new at any kitchen or home goods store, or take a trip down memory lane and look for the colored pyrex dishes from the 1950’s found at flea markets or consignment shops.  
  • Reusable silicone lids that fit most bowls are another good solution.  They are 100% airtight and are dishwasher and microwave safe.  They come in a variety of sizes and are even sold in the shape of lily pads. You can find them at most kitchen shops.  
  • Bee’s Wrap is a clever new product made from organic cotton muslin infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. The anti-bacterial properties of beeswax and jojoba oil keep the food fresh and allow the wraps to be used over and over. Bee’s Wrap comes in 5 sizes and can be found at most specialty kitchen stores or on line.  
  • If you need to cover food after preparing but before serving, why not simply place a dishcloth over it? No need to waste plastic wrap.
  • When transporting a salad or a dish to a friend’s house, cover the bowl with a lovely dinner plate. It makes a much more impressive presentation than plastic wrap!

The challenge is breaking the plastic wrap habit! It’s easy if you remember that food and plastic don’t go together. I’d love to know your ideas for alternatives to plastic wrap. Email me!

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 Some information compiled from,

Sustainable Food Storage

I’ve just discovered the most wonderful product called Bee’s Wrap. Handmade in Vermont by a young mother and her team, it’s the perfect alternative to plastic wrap for food storage. Bee’s Wrap is made from organic cotton muslin infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. The anti-bacterial properties of beeswax and jojoba oil keep the food fresh and allow the wraps to be used over and over.

Use Bee’s Wrap to wrap sandwiches, cheese, baked goods, bread, a half avocado, cucumber or lemon, or to cover a bowl of leftovers. It is not recommended for meat. With the warmth and pressure of your hand, the malleable sheet easily molds around the food to create a seal. To reuse, clean with a mild soap and air dry. With proper care and usage, it should last up to a year.

Bee’s Wrap comes in five sizes – small, medium, large, bread, baguette, and an assorted 3 pack.

Not only do food and plastic not go together, plastic wrap is not easily recycled. Here is at last a clever, easy, reusable and safe alternative for food storage. Congratulations to this creative young entrepreneur!

Minimally and attractively packaged, Bee’s Wrap can be found on line at and at natural food stores and specialty shops all over, even internationally. For you readers on Cape Cod, Farm Fare Market at 68 Tupper Road in Sandwich carries them.

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You’re Kidding – Eliminate Aluminum Foil and Plastic Wrap?

I try to avoid single use products like plastic wrap and aluminum foil and rarely use them, but when I do, I cringe when I have to throw them away knowing they won’t biodegrade.  If it’s not too dirty, aluminum foil is easy to wash and reuse, but eventually it has to be thrown away. If it isn’t too soiled, you can recycle it (wash it first).  The same is true for plastic wrap, although many curbside-recycling programs won’t accept it.

According to, “more than 1.3 billion pounds of aluminum foil is produced in the U.S. annually….we also use enough plastic wrap every year to shrink-wrap the entire state of Texas.”  That’s a lot!  It’s true, aluminum foil and plastic wrap are convenient kitchen staples you almost can’t live without, but happily there are alternatives.

Plastic wrap on top of a vessel.

Plastic wrap on top of a vessel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plastic wrap and foil are regularly used to cover food, but it’s better to store leftovers in microwave safe glass pyrex dishes.   Look at flea markets for the colored pyrex dishes with a glass top from the 50’s – they are fun, stackable and sturdy.  I don’t know why they quit making them.   Reusable one-size silicone lids that stretch to fit most containers are another perfect solution.  They are 100% airtight and are dishwasher and microwave safe.  A set of three lids costs $14.95 and can be ordered from

Aluminum foil is convenient for keeping food hot at a buffet or while you wait for everyone to come to dinner, but it’s wasteful.  Chef’s Planet makes a reusable, silicone thermal food cover that can withstand heat up to 475 degrees and is machine washable.  Bed, Bath and Beyond sells them.

I usually line my cookie sheets with unbleached, totally chlorine-free, FSC-certified parchment paper, but it’s still single use.  Many people use aluminum foil to line a cookie sheet, but a better choice is a reusable parchment baking mat that can be cut to any size for a perfect fit.  It doesn’t absorb flavors or odors and can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees.  Reusable silicone-coated baking sheet liners developed for French pastries are another great alternative.  There is no need to grease them and they roll up for compact storage.  Both can be found at Williams-Sonoma.

Even if you don’t entirely eliminate aluminum foil and plastic wrap from your kitchen, just substituting some of these cool, eco-practical alternatives some of the time, makes a difference.  Give them a try – I am!

Information compiled from




Plastic wrap on top of a vessel.

Image via Wikipedia

Some of my readers emailed me with questions, which hopefully will be pertinent to you too.

Question:  Several of my colleagues microwave their lunches with plastic wrap.  I’ve heard this isn’t a good idea, but these people are intelligent professionals.  What do you think?

Answer: Intelligence doesn’t have anything to do with it.  It’s a matter of being informed.  Both the plastics industry and government health industries maintain that plastic wrap is safe to use, though consumer and environmental groups say otherwise.  Some plastic wraps could contain PVC or other chlorinated substances that can release dioxin, a known toxin and health hazard.  Saran Wrap has been reformulated to remove PVC and I imagine others have too.  But, who knows what’s in the new compounds? I always err on the side of caution and prefer to cover the food with a paper towel (unbleached) or natural wax paper. I also use glass microwave containers instead of plastic.  It is always important to use cookware specially manufactured for microwave use, and if you do cover with plastic wrap, the plastic should not touch the food.  Otherwise it could melt on your food.  You don’t want that!

Question:  I am a textile artist and wonder what to do with my leftover fabric scraps.

Many Ukrainian Christmas decorations are home ...

Image via Wikipedia

Also, how do I recycle wood and cardboard with paint on it?  Good for you for not throwing them away!  Every seamstress has the same problem I imagine.  One obvious solution is to reuse them for other projects such as fabric flower cards, bookmarks, pillowcases, beanbags, or gift-wrap.  There are endless suggestions online.  But you could also donate them to a preschool, kindergarten or arts school for their craft projects or contact a sewing shop to see if anyone needs fabric scraps for quilting, for example.  What about putting a notice on craigslist for an artist who might want fabric scarps? As far as recycling wood and cardboard with paint on them, it’s not a good idea to recycle painted wood.  Recycled wood is usually used for fuel or chipped for mulch.  Either way you wouldn’t want the paint toxins leaching into the soil or the air.  You can dispose of wood with latex or water-based paint in your trash, but wood with lead or oil based paints should be taken to hazardous waste collection.

Readers, send me your questions!  I’d love to answer them.


Information compiled from:;


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