02 Jul, 2018

It’s a wrap! Beeswax wraps as an alternative to plastic wrap

Beeswax wraps are a great option to include in your mix of solutions to avoid cling wrap or other single use packaging.

Swapping out single-use plastic wrap is easy with these natural wraps that are hygienic and look beautiful in your fridge or on a table.

To find out more about these versatile, reusable alternatives, including some fantastic tips on how they can be used, Living Smart caught up with Matt Devine, co-founder of Sunshine Coast business, Bee Eco Wraps.

LS: Bee Eco Wraps is a family-based business. What inspired you and Geraldine to start creating an alternative to plastic wrap?

MD: We live on a 50-acre property which is completely off the grid and has been for 12 years since we purchased it. We lead a minimalist lifestyle in terms of the amount of waste we consume, power we use and the amount of plastic that woven into our daily life. Living off the grid, we are responsible for the waste generated, so sought to come up with an alternative to using single-use plastic to wrap and store our food.

We also have five children so we wanted to make a choice that was going to impact our children’s future by giving them an opportunity to use an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic wrap at home, for outings and school lunches.

LS: Without giving away your business secrets, can you please tell us a little about how beeswax wraps are made?

MD: I love to see the DIY beeswax wraps that people are making, primarily using fabric and beeswax. There are video tutorials on YouTube and blog posts on how to make them yourself and I encourage people to check out the tutorials and try it for themselves.

When we first approached the idea, we researched ancient food storage and preservation methods. We found that when they first came to Australia, the drovers wrapped food in oilskins; the French have used wax to preserve cheese for centuries; and the Egyptians used jojoba oil for its antibacterial properties.

Finding a formula derived from nature was important to us, so we took these ancient methods and developed a specialised formulation of jojoba oil, beeswax and tree resin. Small pieces of certified organic cotton and hemp are hand-cut to size and individually infused with that special formula, let cure for a few days and then the wraps are ready to use.

Bee Eco Wraps are lovingly hand-crafted, biodegradable and compostable. Our special and unique formula, perfected over time, make them superior to DIY wraps and ideal for anyone who wants a long-lasting, reusable alternative to plastic.

LS: What makes beeswax wraps such an ideal alternative to plastic?

MD: If people could comprehend how highly toxic plastic wrap is due to the petrochemicals used in its manufacture, I believe they would immediately cease using it.

Beeswax wraps offer an alternative to plastic which is made from completely natural ingredients. The beeswax and jojoba oil have powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties which help to preserve the food so it keeps fresher longer.

Their beauty is in their reusability. They are very easy to clean and can be rinsed under a tap or scrubbed in an eco-detergent and rinsed under cold water, then air dried before reusing. With proper care, some customers have kept their wraps for two years.

LS: Beeswax wraps are highly versatile. How can they be used to replace single-use plastics in the kitchen?

MD: They come in various sizes so can be used to wrap anything from half an avocado, to covering a large bowl.

Beeswax wraps are the best alternative to plastic for wrapping cheese, bread, cut fruit and vegetables, sandwiches or for covering a bowl of salad for the table. Cheese doesn’t go dry and bread will stay fresh.

Some suggested uses are:

  • wrapping greens such as kale, herbs, celery and any other vegetables before placing into the crisper
  • for kids’ (or adult) lunches: make the wraps into little pockets and fill with carrot, celery or fruit. Wrap a sushi roll, bread wrap or sandwiches. We use them every day for school lunches. In Queensland, a lot of schools are embracing plastic-free or nude-food school days so there’s a broader move to encourage parents to pack zero-waste lunches.
  • covering bowls of leftovers in the fridge
  • covering salads for the table prior to serving
  • packing nuts or snacks to take on hiking adventures, camping or picnics (make a pocket or a little pouch)
  • covering salads or desserts to take to a friends’ place
  • wrapping half an avocado
  • wrapping blocks of cheese
  • keeping whole loaves of bread fresh, especially sourdough
  • as a vessel to hold snacks for young children

Use the warmth of your hands to engage the wax when covering a bowl or wrapping a food item. The beeswax is malleable so the wrap will mould around any shape or form using the warmth of your hands. When placed back in the fridge, the beeswax hardens, retaining the shape and sealing in the goodness.

LS: Are there any foods beeswax wraps are not suitable for?

MD: Avoid acidic foods like pineapple and citrus as they eat into the beeswax. I also don’t recommend them for meat. It is fine to cover a bowl containing cooked curry or meat but don’t use them to wrap raw meat. Avoid smelly cheeses like blue cheese.

LS: Some of the solutions to overcoming our reliance on single-use plastics are remarkably simple.

MD: Yes! Beeswax wraps are just an old-fashioned solution that feels miraculous in this modern world. To be able to retrain ourselves in the way that we use and reuse some items is necessary for our future.

Every individual is making these small incremental changes - getting a keep cup, a beeswax wrap, a stainless-steel straw, boomerang bags, not buying food wrapped in plastic - these are all great ways to simply reduce the amount of plastic we are consuming. It is fulfilling and empowering to know that you as an individual can make a difference.

Bee Eco Wraps are available at Eumundi Markets or direct from Bee Eco Wraps.

Other alternatives to single-use plastic wrap include having a good range of sealable containers - stainless, glass or a durable plastic (BPA free) or even simply using a plate on top of a bowl or cup of food. Living Smart recommends that you explore the various options and find what suits you and your lifestyle or household.

For more ideas about how to reduce single-use plastics in the kitchen, check out 14 tips for reducing plastic in the kitchen

Images: Bee Eco Wraps

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