Maybe it’s because I’m 31 or maybe it’s because I have a daughter who’s future I contemplate or maybe it’s because the idea of being “green” seems to be more present these days than I ever remember…but my family and I have been trying to be more aware of earthly matters. Mostly recycling and reusing. It’s amazing the information you can read about landfills, the lengthy decomposition and hazards to humans and animals because of our wasteful and lax way of eating, living and just being. Our earth is kind of precious. It won’t last forever, so while we and It is still here, I say we do what we can to try and give it a boost in the right direction. It’s not always easy or our first thought, but some pretty basic recycling and or alternatives can go a long way. Ya just gotta be willing to remind yourself every now and again. For example: A Plastic Wrap Alternative. We chucked our plastic wrap and made some reusable “sheets” that can easily be used for most non-wet items. Not recommended for things like raw meats, that can’t be easily washed off. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve already used them and love them and how much plastic wrap I HAVE NOT thrown in the garbage! Plus they smell great and also make for great gifts! My mom was inspired and made some for herself and so nicely documented the process for me. Here’s how it works:
* High thread count cotton fabric – think bedsheets. Something melted wax won’t bleed right through. I’ve also seen muslin used.
* Beeswax pastilles (pellets) – found at your local co-op. About 1/2 a pound was enough to make 6 sheets with some left over.
* Old towel
* Parchment paper or tinfoil
Step one: Cut fabric into whatever size you think would be most useful.
Step three: Generously and evenly sprinkle beeswax pellets over the top of the fabric. This step might take some practice. You might not need as much as you think, initially, because it will spread when melted. Or you may need more than you think to cover the fabric completely.
Step five: Turn your iron on (I used the cotton setting) and carefully, from the middle to edges, press down to melt the pellets. I initially pressed down for a few seconds on every section before actually pushing the iron around in a normal type of ironing pattern You want to make sure you don’t push all of the beeswax off the edges of the fabric. I avoided this by going right up to the edge of the fabric, but not over the edge. This step will take some practice too.
Step six: Peel the top layer of parchment paper or tinfoil off the fabric and check for any uneven melting patterns or globs. You want to avoid thick patches of beeswax, but also don’t want dry areas, as the beeswax acts as the sealant for the fabric. Lay the sheet back down to re-iron or add more pellets if needed.
Step seven: Carefully peel the fabric off the bottom layer of parchment paper or tinfoil and allow a few minutes to dry and cure. You may want to set up a small drying station with clothes pins and a string. I just held mine in front of the air conditioner, carefully holding the corners.
Step eight: Loosely roll up your new and improved plastic wrap and store in a cool place. Pat yourself on the back. You just helped create less mess in our landfills. 🙂
To use these handy and beautiful pieces, just wrap a food item up like a little package. Use twine or rubber bands, if you wish. When placing around a bowl, make sure to hold the fabric in place for a few seconds while pressing it around the edges, to allow your body heat to slightly melt the wax into place. The beeswax creates a pliable yet sturdy piece of fabric, but is also known for it’s natural antibacterial qualities, allowing for a safe, reusable product.
Cleaning these sheets is as easy as using them! Using mild dish soap and cool water, gently scrub until clean. Using cool water will help avoid melting the beeswax. Carefully wipe dry or toss in drying rack.
After time, your plastic wrap alternative will look a little worn and cracked. This is just the beeswax separating and possibly crumbling off. To revive them, place them back in between two pieces of parchment paper or tinfoil, iron back to the smooth, wax covered state in which they began and if needed, add more beeswax pellets where lacking.
And there you have it. An easy way to use less plastic and support those hard working honey bees that kept stealing your watermelon this summer.