Quick, take a look around your fridge.
Chances are it won't take long to find something wrapped in plastic wrap.
Let's face it: plastic wrap is ubiquitous. We won't lie to you, it sure is convenient and can be used for so many things. From wrapping a sandwich to serving as a cover for baked goods, plastic wrap may seem like a game-changer for your kitchen.
Plastic wrap wasn't even supposed to be invented, it was originally born from a chemistry accident. Unfortunately, that accident (and plastic wrap's explosion as a household product) is not without its ill effects.
Why is plastic wrap bad for the environment?
There are more than 100 brands on the market today selling plastic wrap, and the average American uses one roll every 6 months. That's a serious amount of plastic consumption, and to make things worse here are some fast facts:
- While plastic wrap is technically recyclable, it's nearly impossible to actually recycle meaning it will end up in a landfill.
- Plastic wrap will stay in its plastic form forever, it takes a very long time to break down and when it does, it releases harmful chemicals.
- Plastic wrap that makes its way into the ocean is a magnet for bacteria and metal pollution. It's also mistaken for jellyfish and is a deadly choking hazard when eaten.
- When heated in the microwave, plastic wrap can send off chemicals that cause a range of issues from cancer to infertility.
Suddenly that simple, quick wrap for your leftovers seems less innocent. Don't worry, there are plenty of alternatives to plastic wrap that you can choose from.
What are the different types of alternatives to plastic wrap?
There is a wide variety of alternatives to plastic wrap, and many forms.
Plastic wrap is really just something used to enclose food, or serve as a top to a container. Given that, any food-safe wrap or container will be a handy alternative to a roll of plastic wrap. Our favorite alternatives take the form of:
- Glass containers or jars
- Food-safe wraps
- Tin foil
- Silicone-based bags
Let's browse through some products that are especially handy and serve as a great (and eco-friendly) alternative to plastic wrap.
The best eco-friendly plastic wrap alternatives
1. Beeswax wrap
Price: $18.99 for a 3 pack
Materials: Made of organic cotton, beeswax, organic plant oil, and tree resin.
Brand ethics: Beeswrap is a certified B-Corp, and committed to donating money towards the environment and bee protection.
One of the top plastic wrap alternatives, beeswax wrap is an all-natural, colorful, and green way to preserve your food. Made from organic cotton and beeswax, these wraps are great for wrapping food with a protective yet breathable seal. They can be used for up to a year with regular cleaning and can safely be composted when you are done with them.
2. King Arthur Bowl Covers
Price: $14.95 for 10 covers
Materials: Made of food-safe vinyl.
Brand ethics: King Arthur is 100% employee owned and committed to environmental sustainability and stewardship.
Skip the plastic wrap and use one of these reusable bowl covers to cover your leftovers (or dough when you're proofing!).
Made of food-safe vinyl these bowl covers over the bowl and the strong elastic edges grip tightly to the bowl edges, to keep the insides moisture-locked and more secure. Great for covering leftovers and other refrigerated items right in their serving bowls.
3. Stasher Silicone Bags
Price: $12.99 per bag
Materials: Made of food-safe silicone.
Brand ethics: Stasher is committed to giving back, they pledge 1% of all sales to nonprofits dedicated to protecting the planet.
Stasher bags make for an excellent alternative to the plastic baggies we see far too often. Whether you’re meal prepping or packing your lunch Stasher's bags are an excellent reusable and eco-friendly alternative. These silicone bags are leak free with a patented Pinch-Loc® seal and made with incredibly durable, food-grade platinum silicone. Plus, they come in a ton of colors.
You've probably got a roll of tin foil in your kitchen right now next to the plastic wrap, while it's not the most sustainable on our list it's a much better option. Tin foil can even be washed and re-used (though we don't recommend that if you've used it to wrap up raw meat).
5. Glass containers or jars
Sure it's not a flexible sheet of some material to wrap around food, but a glass jar or container serves the same exact purpose. You've got leftovers and need them to be sealed, a mason jar or glass container is a great, and sustainable, way to do that.