Looking to swap out clingfilm and single-use plastic? Try Liz Wootton’s DIY Beeswax Wraps – not only are they easy to make, but they’re also much cheaper than store-bought alternatives.
Here at Eco-Age we think beeswax wraps are, well, the bee’s knees really. Not only do they help reduce single-use plastic by eliminating the need for clingfilm and sandwich bags, but they are also washable, reusable and compostable to boot. What’s more, they make your packed lunch look a whole lot jazzier… You’ll be the envy of the entire office, trust us.
All you need is:
A selection of 100% cotton cloth in various sizes (the funkier the pattern, the better).
A baking tray
A coat hanger
A couple of pegs
*Vegan alternatives are available – carnauba or candelilla wax – though the quantities will need to be adjusted accordingly.
Preheat the oven to 90ºC. Cut your cloth into various sized squares, considering the dimensions of whatever it is that you want to wrap.
Line the baking tray with parchment and place a piece of cloth on top of it, pattern side down (if it’s not double-sided).
Generously sprinkle the beeswax pellets onto the cloth, making sure the sides and edges are covered well. Place in the oven for 4-8 minutes.
Once the pellets have all melted, remove the material from the oven and leave to cool. If the wax hasn’t completely covered the cloth, then you can use the brush to even it out. If it doesn’t look like there’s enough wax, then place some more pellets on it and pop it back in the oven.
Once you’re happy with how it looks, hang it on the coathanger to dry. If the wraps need flattening down then pop them under a pile of books (making sure you’ve covered any waxy bits with baking parchment beforehand).
If you fancy getting really crafty, then you can make your wraps into nifty pouches or sandwich bags. Simply fold into rough thirds (making the top shorter than the other two sections), do a little stitching of two adjacent sides and add a bit of twine and a button and tadaaa, your very own eco-friendly lunch bag!
Wash your wraps gently in cool water with a mild soap. Don’t let them get hot as this could cause the wax to melt. When you’re using the wraps, the heat of your hand is enough to seal the wrap around the item.
It’s recommended that you ‘refresh’ your wraps every couple of months to keep them nice and sticky. You can either do this by covering them in baking parchment and ironing over them or by popping them in the oven to remelt the wax. You could also try melting a couple more pellets of wax on them if the waxy layer seems to be wearing thin.
Note: don’t use the wraps for raw meat or fish as you can’t use boiling water to completely sanitise them after.