You’ve just cooked a delicious meal. You’ve cleaned your countertops and started to load the dishwasher. Now it’s time to put away all of those tasty leftovers to be reheated and enjoyed another day. So, do you reach for the plastic wrap — or an environmentally friendly plastic wrap alternative?
“Everyday” single-use products like plastic wrap can take a big toll on our planet. Plastic is not as recyclable as many people believe, with a sizable portion ending up in landfills — where it degrades slowly and leeches harmful chemicals into our ecosystem. Plastic is also a major contributor to the pollution in our oceans and other waterways, and is a major source of carbon emissions.
Fortunately, there are still all sorts of eco-friendly reusable options that can help make clean-up in the kitchen a breeze, allowing you to safely store your food while feeling good about lowering your impact.
Here are some of my favorite eco-friendly and sustainable plastic wrap alternatives to try in your kitchen:
Beeswax and Soy Wax Wraps
Rather than opting for fussy, disposable, single-use cling wraps, go instead for kitchen wraps made from reusable eco-friendly materials.
Beeswax wraps are a go-to favorite for many eco-conscious home chefs. Generally made from materials including organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin, these wraps are easy to work with and are naturally antibacterial. Better yet, they can be washed with just a bit of cold water and dish soap, to be used again and again. And once they’ve reached the end of their usable lifespan, these wraps are naturally biodegradable and compostable.
For a vegan alternative, try soy wax wraps — typically made from soy wax, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and resin. Like the beeswax wrap, this kitchen wrap can be reused repeatedly, and is biodegradable.
Glass Jars and Containers
Glass is considered to be a far more recyclable material than plastic, since it can be processed and recycled more times without losing its integrity. Better yet, glass is more versatile and longer-lasting, without posing any known health risks — meaning that you’ll be able to find countless uses for your favorite glass containers and storage pieces.
Shop for beautiful and functional glass storage containers in your favorite store, or, to minimize waste, look for vintage and previously used glass pieces at your favorite local secondhand store or antique shop. Mason jars are a go-to storage option that are flexible, functional, and beautiful all at the same time.
Stainless Steel Jars and Containers
What if, rather than busting out feet of plastic wrap after every meal, you could simply slide your leftovers into a clean, airtight, easy-to-manage, and endlessly reusable storage container? To make this dream come true, consider investing in some stainless steel pieces — think lunch pails, bento boxes, stackable bowls, and trays from brands like U-Konserve or Happy Tiffin.
As we’ve noted before, stainless steel is a great tool to have in your eco-friendly arsenal. It is durable and easy to care for — while also being endlessly recyclable, energy efficient to produce, and non-toxic to humans and the environment.
Fabric or Silicone Bowl Covers and Lids
On top of being wasteful, plastic wrap is often extremely tedious and difficult to work with. Why struggle with sticky, clingy, unpredictable wrappers when you could easily cover all of your favorite bowls and storage containers with seamless, environmentally friendly toppers?
There are lots of options for eco-friendly covers out there that can be washed and reused again and again. Try out a stretchable, fabric-based bowl cover made from food-safe laminated cotton, or a reusable silicone lid.
Food Bags Made from Cloth or Silicone
While it may be tempting, a zippable or sealable plastic baggie is not a sound alternative to plastic wrap. (I’ll give you one hint why — plastic is still right there in the name!) However, there are some extremely functional alternatives out there that you can start using right away. Reusable fabric snack and lunch bags are great for storing small food items, and you can wrap your produce in food-friendly organic cotton when bringing it home from the store.
Silicone food bags are another option worth considering, offering all of the functionality of traditional plastic bags — with the added benefit that they can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher in order to be used again and again.
Ready to Make Sustainable Swaps Throughout Your Entire Home? We’re Here to Help
Here at Sweeping Dimensions, one of our primary goals is to make cleaning less stressful for our clients — and more healthy and sustainable for our environment.
We also believe in passing along our green cleaning knowledge, whenever we can. We love to talk all things cleaning and organizing, including the strategies that can make taking care of your home a more sustainable and enjoyable practice. The more people we can bring together in our mission for a healthier world, the better off our planet will be!
So, if you ever have a question about comparing cleaning products, starting a new recycling practice, or making a sustainable swap in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch — we’re always happy to talk shop and try to make a difference, however we can.
At SDCS, we’re sincerely passionate about these issues, dedicated to finding real solutions, and always eager to keep the conversation going.
Curious about what steps you can take to have a positive impact on the environment, in your kitchen or beyond? Want to talk about the best ways to set up an environmentally friendly cleaning for your Chicago home? Contact us today for your free service estimate!