*This article has been updated for accuracy and additions April, 2020
Try to live a (mostly) plastic free life.
Plastic ends up in landfills and in our oceans – for centuries. I am trying to avoid single-use plastic items like bags and wrap.
Here are some easy ways to break the plastic habit:
Shop with re-usable cloth bags for groceries and retail – or choose the paper bag if you’ve forgotten to bring your own.
Avoid bottled water.
Bring your own thermos cup to Starbucks.
Avoid K-Cups unless they are re-fillable.
Say ‘no’ to plastic straws and use your own metal or glass ones. See ASE Stocking Stuffer article.
Tell the laundry not to wrap your hanging clothes in plastic.
Store food in glass containers.
Recently, I have found alternatives to the plastic wrap and plastic bags I once used to pack sandwiches or cover food.
Washable, re-usable, and ultimately compostable – Bee’s Wrap is a new, natural alternative to plastic wrap. It is made with organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin. With the warmth of your hands, this new wrap will form around stored food. When is cools, it forms a seal. It is naturally anti-bacterial, and it won’t hold smells – even strong ones like onion and garlic. You wash it in cold water with mild dish soap and air dry it. Bee’s wrap sheets come in several sizes – each with a distinctive pattern so that you can find the size you need. Bee’s Wrap was tested and reviewed positively by Cook’s Illustrated. Bee’s Wrap Assorted 3 Pack, $18. Bee’s Wrap Assorted Variety Pack, 7 Pieces. $42.
Note: Bee’s Wrap is not recommended for storing meat. Bee’s Wrap Video.
Bee’s Wrap Sandwich Bag. Washable, re-usable, sustainable and plastic free. $11 each.
This four-pack of Keeper Bee Beeswax Food Wraps has two small, one medium and one large wrap. They are made with dye-free cotton, with the natural antibacterial & antifungal properties of organic beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. Keeper Bee’s fabric is GOTS certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) and their packaging is made from 100% recycled paper. FDA Certified. Keeper Bee, Beeswax Food Wraps. 4 Variety Wraps. $22.89.
Z Wraps are 100% cotton, organic beeswax, organic jojoba oil, tree resin. They come in four, bright patterns. A set of one small, one medium and one large is $21.95.
If You Care All-Natural Unbleached Soy Waxed Paper 75 Sq. Ft (Pack of 4). Coated with safe, clean, non-toxic soybean wax instead of paraffin. The Paraffin wax used in other waxed paper products is made from non-renewable petroleum resources. Soy Waxed Paper. $4.33 per roll.
Nancy uses Stasher reusable silicone food bags instead of plastic baggies. The bags are air-tight with a pinch-press seal to keep food fresh. They do not leak. They are made from 100% pure food grade silicone and are safe to be used in the freezer, microwave and dishwasher. Unlike plastic bags, they contain no petroleum, PVC or latex. They are sturdy and easy to write notes on with a dry-erase marker.
They come in many colors and patterns. They come in Snack (4.5”), Sandwich (7”) and Storage (10”) sizes. Snack is $9.99, Sandwich is $11.93 and Storage is $19.99.
This Pyrex 18 piece set of glass storage containers has BPA free plastic lids which are easy to use – and re-usable. They were the Wirecutter’s ‘pick’ after testing. Pyrex 18-piece set, $34.99. Pyrex 24-piece set, $56.88.
This Glasslock 18 Piece Oven Safe Glass Container Set has plastic lids that snap on for a tight, spill proof seal. $36.37.
Thinking about reducing waste this holiday? Here are some ideas for swapping single use wrapping for sustainable pieces this holiday.
Use fabric instead of wrapping paper. You can wash it and use it again for another holiday. I am going to indulge in some brightly colored ribbon and maybe add a pine cone or sprig of holly. I’ll re-use the ribbon.
Use newspapers or magazine pages instead of wrapping paper. New Yorker covers can be fun and personalized. Nancy’s mother uses the Sunday comics section from her local paper.
You can decorate the Kraft paper from brown bags to make chic, minimalist wrapping paper. This way, these paper products get two uses and you save on wrapping paper.
Use Bee’s Wrap as a gift wrap which doubles as part of the gift.
I haven’t found an alternative to plastic garbage bags. Do you have suggestions?
Here are more alternatives to using plastic containers;