There is nothing quite like the joy and satisfaction that can be found in finding a creative solution to the simple life problems or quandaries. A part of learning to living more sustainably is finding eco alternatives to many of the every day items that we use are single use or have a negative impact on the environment.
Making lots of these little changes all adds up to the bigger picture of looking after our planet. I often find that living ‘eco’ gets confused sometimes with ‘having to manage without’. Whilst I think there is real merit in reducing waste in using less, living more economically within means, I also believe that eco choices can actually be enriching too and not a struggle. Finding good alternatives means that we don’t have to miss out in some way but can be better by making some positive eco swaps in our daily lives without compromising on product performance or the pleasure of using it.
A simple eco swap for anyone beginning their sustainability mission is looking for an alternative to clingfilm. Plastic food wrap is made of treated PVC or LDPE is a plastic stretchy film that is used for its many benefits such as hygiene and flexibility of the polymer being food safe. The big issue is that it is not readily recyclable and is thrown into the main household bin, taken to landfill sites where it takes hundreds of years to degrade. Plastic particles can end up getting into the ground and can pollute the oceans entering the food chain when fish digest them. It is a global problem, where the plastic film discarded is too often washing up on shores many miles from where it was used. According to statistics:
“More than 1.2 billion metres, equating to 745,000 miles of cling film is used by households across Britain every year – enough to go around the circumference of the world 30 times over!“https://beebeewraps.com/blogs/news/what-is-the-problem-with-cling-film
This has to change. A starting point for replacing clingfilm with alternatives like aluminium foil. This can be recycled if the foil pieces are big enough to be picked out of the mixed recycling we leave out for the the councils to collect and process. I found that it is quite good to collect all the little bits into a ball and place then in the recycling bin when they get to the size of about a small melon.
This will make sure that the big magnet will pick them up at the recycling sorting centre. I also buy the thicker more durable foil that can be used a few more times before it rips and is no good anymore. Although this is a good start, it is still single use and therefore an even better solution is to use an alternative.
A super invention is a natural food wrap made of cotton or hemp fabric and beeswax with natural resins and oils to make a beeswax wrap. Beeswax has natural antibacterial and anti-fugal properties, which means that it can create a natural covering for food that protects the food and unlike clingfilm still allowing it to breathe. It not only is an alternative to clingfilm, but a better option. These food wraps have been around for a few years now, but I particularly like the ones made by BeeBee Wraps.
They come in a whole range of different sizes and beautifully organically printed patterns, all made by hand. The type of wrap depends on the size of what they are being used for like a chunk of cheese, some leftover cake or for wrapping sandwiches. The one I have is a bread wrap that is 45cm x 55cm, large enough to wrap a whole loaf. I’ve been using it for about a week now and its lovely, the bread is staying fresher for longer and so we can all enjoy Daddy’s homemade loaf for another day before being made in to a pudding. The wraps can be washed in cold soapy water and allowed to drip dry. They last for about a year when they start to go a bit crumbly and then they are fully compostable or suggested to be used as firelighter. A year represents lot of yummy bread loaves being wrapped!
I have also discovered that there are places you can buy the beeswax wraps on a roll and cut to size, or even make them myself If I am brave enough!
With a bit more planning to get them to cost in for the price we need these could be made into a lovely gift for a school stall. In the meantime, I will enjoy using them and will certainly be buying more wraps as gifts for others to enjoy!