Melbourne's #1 Food Market

Beeswax wraps: a sustainable alternative

By Ben Moore (from Ben’s Bees)

It might seem alarming (and it is) that the average Australian uses over 60 kilograms of plastic every year. Due to our hectic lifestyles, that centre on fast food, quick fixes and mass production, plastics, are used in abundance by the local consumer.

However, the ensuing pollution caused by this consumption is being challenged by the environmentally-aware.

First sold for household use in 1953, cling film, gladwrap or plastic wrap was an innovative way to cover food and preserve it, in and out of the fridge.

It is made from a variety of different plastics; however, the original and most popular is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This single-use product is not reusable and ends up in landfill and our oceans, leaching chemicals for years and causing harm to the environment.

So, despite cling-plastics being used in proliferation in the home, as well as unnecessarily in supermarkets to cover fruits and vegetables, many people are turning away from these single-use pollutants.

Using containers with lids, ceramics and glass to reheat, and placing sandwiches in lunchboxes unwrapped are some good alternatives.

Introducing, the beeswax cloth! These natural cotton cloths, embedded with beeswax and resins, are reusable, pliable and washable and can mould to fit foods.

By using non-toxic substances, the potential for leaching is eliminated, and the “throw-away” habit is reduced in the home environment.

Despite their newfound popularity, beeswax wraps are based on ancient preservation techniques, as cloth impregnated with wax resists moisture. The warmth of your hands will mould the beeswax wraps to the desired shape.

They can be washed in cold water with a gentle soap like castile soap; however, as they cannot be washed in hot water due to the wax melting, these wraps are not recommended for meat. Depending on how frequently they are used, beeswax wraps can last for up to one year, and can then be re-waxed and replenished. No need to throw away! 

So how are these handy food protection cloths made? These wraps are made by melting a mixture of beeswax, jojoba oil and powdered pine resin onto squares of cotton fabric. Once the wax solution has melted onto the fabric in the oven, the solution is brushed across the surface until coated. The wraps are then cooled in the air. Alternatively, you can purchase beautiful beeswax wraps in a variety of designs from your local supplier. They are great for your own home, or to give as environmentally-friendly gifts.

You can learn how to make your own in our upcoming Ben’s Bees Beeswax Wrap Workshop on September 22. Find out more, here.

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