Entering left field is plastic wrap… versatile, indestructible, mindless, and easy… a destroyer of the environment and filler of landfills. Entering right field is beeswax wrap… the new kid on the block, ready to go head-to-head with our old time standard and armed with a gold ribbon in eco-consciousness. Who wins?
Imaging this: You’ve been gifted an infant-sized zucchini. You’ve made 4 loafs of chocolate chip zucchini bread, but that sucker is still not used up. So, you reach into the cupboard for your trusty box of plastic wrap to cover the oozing cut end before you bury it in the back of the fridge.
Sure you could probably store it in a plastic container. Assuming you have a Tupperware large enough for your newborn baby, do you have room in your fridge for it, and still have space for an alphabet of condiments, questionable meatloaf, and 4 school lunches? Probably not.
Hence the plastic wrap. But, what if you had an alternative to plastic wrap?
What if you could reach for a square of trendy reusable beeswax wrap instead?
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What are beeswax wraps?
Very simply, beeswax wraps are pieces of cotton which have been coated with a combination of beeswax, oils, and sometimes resins. Once coated, the fabric becomes water-resistant and airtight.
You can use beeswax wraps as an alternative for regular plastic wrap. From on-line reviews, it sounds like beeswax wraps can be reused for about a year before they loose their magic powers. But, at that point you can cut them up and add them to your garden compost.
These beeswax wraps are a must if you’re on a mission for a more eco-friendly, reusable, and sustainable kitchen and way of life.
(Update: I’ve had my beeswax cloths now for about 3 years. I use them less now than I did a few years ago. I still find them handy in certain situations, but I don’t find them as effective as I did when they were new.)
How to use beeswax wraps?
You can fold this coated fabric around foods or cover bowls and cups. It holds its shape relatively well and does a good job of keeping foods fresh.
Beeswax wraps are perfect for wrapping onto the cut ends of odd shaped fruit and vegetables, for packing up your peanut butter sandwich, and covering last night’s tuna casserole.
They’re reusable. They’re compostable. They’re pretty and smell nice too.
You can also use these beeswax wraps as gifts! They’re the perfect gift for everyone… because everyone eats and everyone needs to keep their food fresh and (I’d like to think) that everyone cares about their plastic consumption and waste. Think teacher gifts, hostess gifts, college care packages, new baby, new job, new home, and all those other gift-giving holidays.
So, where do you buy these handy-dandy beeswax wraps?
A quick beeswax, bee wrap review
While these wraps do a good job of sealing, I’ve had a hard time getting a complete seal around a bowl. Popping on an elastic band helps keep that seal firm if you’re concerned.
For sandwiches and snacks, you could use a pretty string or ribbon to secure your wrap. You can even purchase wraps made specifically for sandwiches with clasps or already shaped into bags. Like these:
Overall, I’m finding the bigger sized squares do a better job of sealing since there’s more fabric for folding and holding, and less need of an added string or elastic.
I have currently had my set for a few years. I admit that my family frequently forgets we have them and my kids have a hard time getting a good seal or forget to use an elastic.
I’ve also discovered that in the summer heat they tend to form and hold better than in the cold months.
Pros and cons of beeswax wraps
- No plastic waste!
- Smell lovely
- Endless colors to choose from
- Easy enough to make at home
- Compostable after they’re reached their usage limit
- Can be used to preserve freshness of almost all foods
- Might need to use a string or elastic band to make a tighter seal
- Can’t be disinfected with hot water, so you shouldn’t use your beeswax wraps with raw meats
- Foods must be completely cool before covering with beeswax wrap
- The cost (before considering the overall cost savings of a reusable product) can seem high to some.
Want a longer bee wrap review? Kitchn shares more pros and cons of using beeswax wraps in your own kitchen.
How to make beeswax wraps?
I haven’t tried to make my own wraps, but I’ve done a quick search and it seems the process is pretty straightforward:
- Spread melted beeswax directly onto good quality cotton
- Add some Jojoba oil and let it dry
Of course, there’s a little more to it than that. If you want to give it a try, this is a well-written detailed article by mommypottamus on making your own beeswax wraps
Overall, these beeswax wraps are a great addition to any kitchen. I’d declare them a winner over plastic wrap any day!
What should you do now?
- Order a few packages of beeswax wraps for yourself and to keep on hand for gifts. Think hostess gifts, teacher gifts, new home, college care packages, as well as holidays and birthdays.
- Check out this gift guide on other reusable and handmade kitchen and household items.
- Join the Take Them Outside Newsletter to help get you and your family connecting more with nature. You’ll receive news, tips, activity ideas, and more sent directly to your inbox.