May 10th, 2012

6 Eco Alternatives to Plastic Wrap

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Groovy Green Livin plastic wrap alternative

Welcome to Green Questions, Groovy Answers-your opportunity to get your pressing green questions answered each week.

This week’s question comes from a Twitter fan, Ashley (@AEB624) in Boston. Thanks Ashley!

Are there any eco-friendly alternatives to using plastic wrap?

Plastic wrap has been around for generations, preserving leftovers and keeping food from becoming stale. Unfortunately, our convenient, handy plastic wrap is made from a form of plastic called low-density polyethylene (LDPE). After we use plastic wrap it ends up in our overflowing landfills and takes forever to decompose.

If you’re looking for a simple way to green up your kitchen- swapping out your plastic wrap for a more environmentally friendly option is an easy change. There are quite a few plastic wrap alternatives out there. Take a look at these non-toxic plastic wrap replacements:

Glass food storage containers

Glass containers (with tops that seals well) works well for storing leftovers.  In our fridge it’s very important to have a see through container since the leftover situation can sometimes get out of hand.

Glass storage canning jars

Don’t reach for the plastic wrap – put your soups, stews and other foods in a glass storage jar. They are air tight and reusable and a great way to preserve your food.

Abeego Flats

Abeego Flats are made from hemp and cotton fabric and comes in a few different sizes. The warmth of your hands combined with pressure causes the flat to form tightly around the item to be stored. The best part: hand wash your flat in cold, soapy water and air dry.

I haven’t tried them out, but my friend Alicia over at The Soft Landing wrote a review.

Cloth or towel

A cloth or towels are perfect for fresh produce. I gently wrap my produce from our CSA in a cloth or kitchen towel and place it in the refrigerator. Cloth can also be used over the top of a bowl. Just add a rubber band and your container is virtually airtight.  No need for any plastic.

Reusable sandwich and snack bags

Don’t wrap those sandwiches in Saran. Use a reusable sandwich bag to keep those sandwiches fresh on their way to school.

Nothing at all

Could you, would you leave some leftovers on a plate and put them in the fridge without plastic wrap?  I’m guessing there are quite a few things that end up covered in plastic wrap that don’t really need to be covered at all. Think twice before wrapping.

Can you think of any other plastic wrap alternatives?

[Photo used under Creative Commons from dvs/Flickr]

Disclosure: There are a few affiliate links in this post. Any purchases made through the links will put a few pennies in my pocket and support this blog. Thanks!

Linked up with Natural Mothers Network


37 Responses to “6 Eco Alternatives to Plastic Wrap”

  1. I use lots of reusable plastic containers instead of plastic wrap. I have them in all sizes and shapes, from very small (so that several fit neatly in my daughter’s lunchbox) to much bigger ones for refrigerator storage of leftovers. When they eventually crack or are otherwise no longer useful, they’re recyclable.

  2. Yes, our leftovers are much more likely to be eaten if they are in see through containers. Otherwise they seem to get overlooked.

  3. I reuse all sorts of glass jars – from spaghetti, jelly, salsa, pickles – both for dry and fridg storage.
    Those Abeego Flats look really cool! May have to try them for those things that are just really hard to get into anything but a plastic bag.

  4. Oh boy Lori, you know how I love safer product shopping guides and you really hit a homerun with this one. Great work!

  5. old fashioned wax paper

  6. I love the thought of not using anythign at all! Never occured to me! Especially if you’re only leaving something overnight.

  7. Instead of using plastic to cover dishes in the microwave, use a microwave cover — it looks like the stainless steel covers caterers put over plates only plastic. And while it is more dreaded plastic, at least it can be used for years. I’ll have to check to see if it’s recyclable. Mine was only $1.50 from Crate & Barrel.

  8. I use lots of glass, but LOVE Abeego wraps. They’re a bit pricey, but in addition to being terrific, I like the idea that I’m supporting a small biz. When I was eating cereal, I used to save the waxed bag inserts and use them for a long time. They can even be washed and reused.

  9. I like using fabric for produce and sandwiches too, I’ve been using cloth napkins and bandanas and love the natural feel of the fibers.Small glass jelly jars are nice for cut fruits and veggies.

  10. Hi Susan, fabric is a great idea! How do you keep the fabric on the produce or sandwich? We’ve used rubber bands.

  11. Hi Lynn,

    Great idea to save cereal box inserts. We have so many of those over here. Every person who’s tried Abeego Flats loves them. I’ll have to get my hand on a few.

  12. Hi Isabelle, I don’t use the microwave much. When we do, I place a cloth napkin over anything that could possibly explode. What type of plastic is the microwave cover made out of?

  13. Hi Tiffany, If you decide to leave something uncovered it could dry out. I would suggest leaving things uncovered that don’t need the moisture.

  14. Hi Beth,

    Great idea. How would you suggest keeping the wax paper on? Rubber band?

  15. Hi Alicia, I do know how much you love safer product shopping guides! Thanks for your kind words. Happy Mother’s Day!

  16. Hi Kristina, glass jars are wonderful for food storage. I have yet to try Abeego Flats too-let me know if you get to them first.

  17. Hi Marsha, I find the same thing. If leftovers are in a non-see through container in the back of the fridge they won’t get touched.

  18. Hi Carla, plastic containers are a step up from single-use plastic wrap. Have you tried glass containers?

  19. Those microwave friendly reusable plastic containers are great for storing leftovers. Once you’re ready to eat them you can just pop it in the microwave.

  20. We sometimes invert a bowl or second plate over the lower plate for short-term storage, heating in the microwave w/o plastic, or just keeping the food warm until the meal begins.

  21. What a great idea Colleen. Such a simple way to keep food fresh and warm.

  22. I’m not a fan of microwaving with any sort of plastic. I’m very concerned that the plastic leaches into my food. Have you tried glass containers for storage and microwaving?

  23. Great tips! I find I only use plastic wrap for wrapping the end of a cheese block after I have opened it or for half used avocados. If anyone has any suggestions for those I would love to hear them!

  24. I use glass and tin foil which I recycle. I like the sound of Abeego Flats, will have to see whether you can get them here in the UK. Delighted you popped over to link this up at Seasonal Celebration Sunday as always x

  25. Hi Rebecca, I use glass and foil too. Let me know what you find with the Abeego Flats-I’m not sure where they’re sold. Thanks, as always, for having the linkup!

  26. […]       Put your henna powder into a glass mug, dish, or bowl that you don’t mind getting stained (my henna has actually never stained any of the mugs or bowls I put it in, but I still don’t use my favorites).  Using a non-metal spoon or chopstick, mix in lemon juice (or any other acid – lime juice, vinegar, etc.) until your mixture is the consistency of thick yogurt or smooth mashed potatoes (it will be stickier than mashed potatoes, but it’s the thickness that matters).  Once mixed, place an airtight cover over the surface of the mixed henna (touching the surface of the henna).  Plastic wrap is most often recommended for this, but I am experimenting with alternatives because plastic wrap is evil. […]

  27. My friend Rebecca has a great tutorial for a reusable fabric & beeswax food wrap that’s washable and really easy to make!

  28. Thanks so much for sharing Liesl.

  29. Don’t forget about cheese cloth. I use it to cover some foods and wash it in the sink.

  30. Thanks for the reminder Janet!

  31. I wrap my son’s sandwiches in a cloth napkin. Pretty straight forward. I roll the sandwich on a bias and tie the long ends of the napkin together. He tosses the used napkin in the laundry when he gets home. Very simple.

  32. […] foil made its way into our kitchen a few years ago, joining forces with other alternatives to plastic wrap. Plastic wrap has been around for generations, preserving leftovers and keeping food from becoming […]

  33. […] I wonder if plastic wrap is really necessary for packing fruits and vegetables? If packaging is needed for transporting produce there must be a better alternative. […]

  34. Shops used to wrap everything in wax paper. Greasproof paper. My mum would reuse it to cover meat in the oven. Or wrap leftovers or sandwiches. If you wrap it up well no need to tie it with anything. The shops were good at wrapping the food up. This was in the 40s. 50s and 60s. Until self serve supermarkets opened.

  35. […] caught my attention. I was most interested in the proposed plastic bag ban. From water bottles to plastic wrap, I’ve been writing about the detrimental effects of plastic for […]

  36. Bee’s Wrap! Another sustainable, compostable alternative…

  37. […] Plastic wrap is most often recommended for this, but I am experimenting with alternatives because plastic wrap is not environmentally […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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