DIY: How to make your own beeswax wrap
Cling film or aluminium foil are common products to store food or cut veggies and fruits in the fridge, to wrap sandwiches to go or to keep flies away from salads when having a garden party (this could also easily be made with a wooden cutting board or a cotton cloth).
So why switch to reusable diy beeswax wrap?
Plastic cling film is in many countries not allowed in the recycling bin, it will go straight to landfill, in many others it will get sorted out to get burned in the incinerator.
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Aluminium foil can get recycled in many many cities around the world (just because I visited recently I know it belongs into the trash in Toronto (August2018, maybe it changes in the future).
While plastic foil is made out of fossile fuel/oil, aluminium is made out of Bauxit.
Aluminium is a very valuable resource because it is not so safe to produce and needs a lot of energy too.
The working process to get to the Bauxit is destroying rainforest and wild life.
The further processing of bauxite to aluminum is also very harmful to the environment.
The toxic red mud remains as waste and can destroy and kill nature around it.. Between one and six tonnes of hazardous waste product are produced per ton of aluminum produced.
So if you want to use aluminium foil try and make sure it is made out of recycled aluminium**.
just to make it clear that we always should check the recycling rules when visiting another country/city:
- In America they say: no food grease in the foil! They won’t get recycled if the foil is too greasy.
- In Germany and Switzerland they say: that doesn’t matter because it will get burned in the recycling process of aluminium anyway. It is obligatory but would be nice for the workers if it’s clean and not so smelly.
Alternatives to cling film
- To store food in the fridge you can easily use bowls with lids, stainless steel container**, or glass jars**, or you can just cover it with a plate or a cotton bowl cover**. Cut fruit and veggies can just get put cut side down on a plate or wrapped in beeswax wrap**.
- To take sandwiches or cookies to work or on a hike (check my favorite healthy hiking snacks) you can use stainless steel container** too, you could use paper sandwich bags that are compostable, sandwich bags made out of cotton**, or use bought or diy beeswax wrap**.
DIY beeswax wrap
During my stay in Montreal it was so easy to find organic beeswax pellets in bulk and I could bring my own bag, so I couldn’t resist to buy some to try to make my own wax wrap. (If you like it vegan you can use soy wax too.)
I also had a T-Shirt I couldn`t mend anymore. The hole got bigger and bigger when I tried to mend it, so I thought this is great timing to make my own wrap 😉 Also I am training for a 100km in 24hour walk at the moment, and to reduce the weight in my backpack it would be awesome to have the wrap instead of small container too.
I made my wrap in the oven, but I know some people use a flatiron too.
How to make beeswax wrap:
- precut cotton fabrics (old cotton T-Shirt, cotton pillowcase, bed linen..)
- organic beeswax (in pellets or if you get a block it needs to get grated), the amount depends on how many wraps you like to make. I can’t really remember, but I think I used about 60-80gram for 3 wraps.
- parchment paper
- baking sheet
- optional: a brush, but if you use it for the beeswax it will remain a beeswax brush forever
- Preheat oven to lowest heat (or 200°degreesF/95-100Celcius)
- cut your fabrics in the favorite size. Just make sure that it still fits into the baking sheet. If it is too big, you need to use the flatiron instead.
- Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper. If beeswax gets on the sheet it won’t really get off, so be careful.
- Sprinkle the wax (grated or pellets) onto the fabrics. You don’t need to much.
- Let it melt for about 5-10 minutes. You will see when it’s all melted and then you will see if you might need more wax to cover the whole fabric.
- you can use a brush to to sweep the wax around and cover all corners of the fabric.
- Take the cloth from the sheet and be careful not to get burned. Let it hang somewhere to cool down and then it is immediately ready to get used.
- To use your beeswax wrap, just place over a bowl or container, wrap around food like cheese, or fold into a snack bag. (I even used a cotton produce bag to make a sandwich/nut beeswax bag.) The warmth from your hands will mold the wrap into the desired shape.
- Items like cheese, vegetables, fruits, nuts, sandwiches, etc. can be wrapped up. Items that contain a lot of moisture (like jello) should not be placed in snack bags.
- They can be washed with cold water and a mild soap.
- Please note: Since they cannot be washed with hot water they are not recommended for meat out of hygienic reasons!!
- Depending on how frequently they’re used, they can last for up to a year. After that you can easily re-wax them in order to keep using them.
- For the big sheets: put the fabric plus beeswax in between parchment paper and iron with a flat iron (on warm/wool setting) until every pellet is melted.
- Where to find beeswax for your diy beeswax wrap? Ask your local bee keeper, some zero waste stores have it in stock, or in stores where they offer all the products for beauty DIY. Last but not least (but also with packaging included) you can find it online**.
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