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Cling film, food wrap, Saran wrap, plastic wrap. Whatever you call it I think we can all agree it is super convenient for keeping our food fresh but it is also super bad for the environment. It is the epitome of single use plastic at it’s worst. Because it is everywhere. Even in the supermarkets some vegetables are wrapped in it. Don’t ask me why, I want to say it’s to keep them fresh but I have only ever seen a vegetable wrapped in cling film that would remain fresh even without it. So perhaps it is for ease of the keeping the produce label in place. But whatever the reason I want it gone. From my life at least. So I am on a one woman crusade to rid it from my house and my life.
And I should probably say that this was the one plastic product I never thought I could do without. Seriously, this swap scared me the most as I used it All. The. Time.
Where to start?
Of course it isn’t as easy as “I just won’t buy it anymore”. That is a start but due to our shopping habits of buying for the week or at least a few days, alternatives to cling film were needed, or at least needed identifying. Food needed to be kept fresh. It could be argued that I could change my shopping habits. Buy the food I just need for that day, or batch cook more. But the issue with that, in my case, is that it is neither sustainable, practicable or good for the environment. I could bore you with the reasons I have come to this conclusion but I think I will save that for another day. But believe me when I say; getting an online shop once a week and going to the green grocer once, maybe twice, a week is the best approach at the moment.
So, back to where to start. Start simple. Check what you use cling film for the most and see what you could use instead.
Cling Film Alternatives
This may seem obvious but you would be surprised. Foil is now my most used wrap solution and it can be easy recycled so I don’t mind using it at all. It may not keep some things as fresh as cling film so be cautious when you use it and if you are concerned then use one of the other options below.
You can easily buy or make beeswax wraps, or soya wraps if you require vegan ones. These are made using cotton cloth soaked in beeswax and a jojoba oil for it’s disinfectant qualities. To use this you place it over a container and mould it using your hands. The wax will soften with your body heat and then stick to itself and seal the container. When these have reached the end of their life they are 100% compostable.
If you are anything like me then most of you tupperware has no lids or your lids have no base. By all means keep the bases as they can be used with foil or wax wraps when possible. But instead of rushing out and getting more plastic ones perhaps look into investing in some glass food containers. The lids are still made of plastic but the container part is glass. The glass is oven proof and freezer proof so you can even cook your dinner in the container before storing the leftovers.
When the lid does eventually come to the end of it’s life you will still have a perfectly good glass container to use. These are also incredibly hardy. I wouldn’t recommend putting this to the test but I have dropped a few of mine a couple of times and they have survived. Thank goodness.
Again, this may seem like an obvious one however I used to put all of my jars into the recycling. Now I keep most of them and use them for all sorts of things. If I have made too much pasta sauce it goes in a jar. I put my used razor blades in one, I even made a make up remover and hand cream and put them in a jar. Jars can even be used as snack pots to take to work. And plenty of recipe books now have sections of light and easy lunches you can make in a jar.
Old Tins and Chocolate Boxes
I keep almost all the old sweet or biscuit tins I get given, and the huge plastic chocolate boxes usually around at Christmas time. I don’t often store food in them but they are great for transporting cakes to the school bake sale or for keeping biscuits in once they are open. We even have one as our ‘treat box’ which is full of lovely things the kids are occasionally allowed. Before now I would have just wrapped a packed of biscuits in cling film but not anymore.
It’s been nine months
It’s been nine months since I last bought any cling film and I have not looked back since. In the interest of full disclosure the only time I have actually really missed cling film is when I dye my hair with henna. The cling film helps keep some heat in which brings out the redder tones and it also keeps it from dripping down my face. Now I simply use a plastic bag from a shop and secure it with a hair band and a towel. It seems to work just fine.
Other than that I have barely noticed the lack of cling film in my life. It has gone from something I could never imagine living without, something I was most scared of giving up in my plastic purge to something I don’t miss at all.
What do you use?
So what do you use instead of cling film? Or do you feel more confident to finally give it up? I’d love to hear from you.