Eco-friendly plastic wrap alternatives including bowl covers, beeswax wraps, silicone food bags, reusable food storage containers & more, to help you move toward zero waste in the kitchen.
Let’s talk about plastic wrap today, shall we? If you’re like most people, you probably have a bright yellow box of plastic wrap in your kitchen drawer. It’s one of those kitchen staples that’s always there for you – and when you start to run low it immediately goes on the shopping list so you won’t ever be caught without it.
What if the next time the plastic wrap container got low, you just never replaced it? Is it possible to live without plastic wrap? You’ll be surprised how easy it is to skip the plastic wrap once you discover the many reusable alternatives to plastic wrap!
If you are looking for an eco-friendly alternative to Saran Wrap or other cling wrap and disposable plastic bags, I’ve got you covered with beeswax wraps, bowl covers, silicone bags and more!
(Full disclosure: I am not a zero-plastic eco-hero. My kitchen drawer usually contains one of those ubiquitous yellow boxes, it just doesn’t get used very often.)
Why Plastic Wrap Alternatives are Important
Plastic wrap hasn’t always been in our kitchen drawers. It was invented in the 1940’s by a chemical company (red flag #1) and was originally made with toxic PVC plastic (red flag #2). Plastic wrap is now made primarily of LDPE (low-density polyethylene) which is deemed safe by the FDA but safety concerns about plastic wrap still exist (red flag #3).
Here are some good reasons to ditch the plastic wrap:
Health Concerns of Plastic Wrap
- Chemicals in plastic wrap can leach into food
- Migration of chemicals is greater with fatty foods like meats and cheese
- Heat increases chemical transfers (never use plastic wrap in the microwave!)
Environmental Concerns of Plastic Wrap
- Plastic is not biodegradable
- Plastic production creates pollution
- Single-use items add up in landfills (reusable is always better than disposable!)
Eco-Friendly Plastic Wrap Alternatives
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It’s odd how we feel like we can’t live without plastic wrap since people survived without it for ages before it was invented. Check out this big list of eco-friendly alternatives to plastic wrap – I bet there’s one or two here that will work for you! Let me know your favs in the comments!
1.) Beeswax Wraps
If you are looking for a reusable plastic wrap alternative, beeswax wraps are a great solution! Beeswax infused cotton creates a pliable cloth that can be molded around food and over bowls. The warmth of your hands softens the beeswax and helps it “stick” but without leaving behind any unwanted residues.
Wash beeswax wraps in cold water to use over and over again. Beeswax wraps are biodegradable, so you can toss them in the compost or organics recycling at the end of their useful life. Beeswax wraps can be purchased as flat sheets or as sandwich wraps with a tie closure. I’ve even got a tutorial for DIY beeswax wraps if you are so inclined.
Check out some of the best beeswax wraps:
2.) Reusable Bowl Covers
Bowl covers are another super easy substitute for plastic wrap. Reusable cotton bowl covers come in colorful prints with stretchy elastic edges that slide easily over bowls of all shapes and sizes. I love my reusable bowl covers from Etsy because they are made with food-safe laminated cotton that is easy to wash, but you can find bowl covers made with untreated cotton if you prefer.
Reusable bowl covers are perfect for covering food in the refrigerator for short periods of time, and for taking to a potluck or picnic as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap. My husband uses bowl covers to cover bread dough while it is rising.
Check out some of the best reusable bowl covers:
3.) Silicone Food Bags
Reusable silicone food bags are self-sealing, air-tight bags made from durable silicone. Silicone is a rubber-like material (different from plastic) and food grade silicone is considered safe for food storage. Silicone bags can be used in the freezer, fridge or cupboard and are great for storing both dry or wet food. They are dishwasher safe too – a major bonus!
I use silicone food bags instead of disposable plastic bags for storing everything from cheese, to fruit and veggies, to snacks and more. Since they are translucent, you can see what’s in the bag and you can use a dry-erase marker to label contents if you want. Beware of knock-off brands made of thin silicone material and that do not seal properly. Stasher Bags are high-quality silicone bags that I recommend highly!
Check out some of the best silicone food bags:
4.) Silicone Bowl Covers & Lids
Silicone covers and lids are affordable alternatives to plastic wrap that can be used over and over again. Food-grade silicone is dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe. Silicone bowl covers and silicone tops can be stretched tightly over bowls and food items. Silicone lids create a tight seal and suction on top of bowls. I recommend buying a set of silicone covers in a variety of sizes so you can skip the plastic wrap as often as possible.
Check out some of the best silicone bowl covers:
5.) Reusable Sandwich Wraps
Instead of grabbing yet another plastic baggie, switch to a reusable sandwich wrap made from washable cotton, beeswax infused fabric or reusable #4 plastic. Unlike those single-use plastic bags, sandwich wraps can be used over and over again. Bonus: they double as a placemat for school lunch or other lunches on-the-go!
Check out some of the best reusable sandwich wraps:
6.) Reusable Food Storage Containers
Pop leftovers into food storage containers with lids and there will be no need for plastic wrap. Reusable food storage containers made from glass or stainless steel are durable, food safe and dishwasher safe. Durable, reusable plastic containers with recycle code #5 are fine in a pinch as well. Remember, reusable lunch containers can also double as food storage containers for leftovers.
Check out some of the best reusable food storage containers:
7.) Reusable Cloth Bags
Reusable bags are great for storing food and come in all shapes and sizes – from the classic reusable snack bags to cloth produce bags to large food storage bags made from food-safe ripstop nylon.
Check out some of the best reusable cloth bags:
8.) Dishtowels & Dinner Plates
Long before the invention of plastic wrap, food was stored in dishes (a bowl with a plate on top) and wrapped in dishtowels. I keep a set of large flour-sack cloths in my kitchen for all sorts of food-related purposes.
Check out some of the best dishtowels and cloths:
What are your favorite plastic wrap alternatives? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Ready to tackle your bathroom next? You’ll find lots of zero waste bathroom swaps here!