Recently a friend of mine from Ermelo, Shareen Rademeyer made some environmentally friendly, 100 percent beeswax wraps that we now stock as part of our product range. Before I talk more about the Zero Waste journey, lets just first look at traditional cling wrap.
In the 1940’s, cling wrap was accidentally discovered in a lab testing the components of a dry cleaning product. It was first used in America to line airplanes and army boots. Later it was advertised as something that could solve the problem of food wastage, by wrapping leftovers in it. Today it is so popular that an estimated 3 million tons of it are made in only 2019 across the world. Americans use so much of it that the huge state of Texas can be cling wrapped every year!
The scary thing is what it does to our health and the environment! The “glad” manufacturers of what we lovingly call Gad Wrap in South-Africa, does not have to state their chemical compounds on the box. So what is it made of? It often contains polyvinyl chloride, (PVC). This is lab proven to cause birth defects, liver problems, hearing problems, skin diseases, and cancer. It also often contains bisphenol A, (BPA). This mimics the effect of the hormone estrogen and interferes with the male and female reproductive systems. Cling wrap often contains plasticizes to increase flexibility. Those also disrupt human hormones and easily leaks into food. PVC was lab-tested only to find that it still does not stop air and water from invading the food, therefore creating a false sense of freshness, whilst bacteria can still spoil the food.
A different kind of cling wrap contains LDPE. Unfortunately, this kind also has an endocrine disruptive effect and is linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, and low sperm count.
Cling wrap chemicals leak most easily into fatty foods like meats and cheese. The toxic effect is compounded if food is microwaved with cling wrap over it.
If we look at environmental issues it is equally scary. Cling wrap has the ability to attract bacteria and metals, and fish mistakes cling wrap for food. Our seas are badly contaminated by it. Recycling of cling wrap is nearly impossible, as it clogs recycling machines. In landfills, the cling wrap releases highly toxic dioxin. Especially bad for the environment. Honestly, cling wrap in any form is not a blessing!
If you want to go with the Good Life philosophy of gentle living, a Zero Waste approach becomes necessary. Different kinds of wax wraps are available. Paraffin, Soy, and Beeswax. Paraffin is a natural emollient that comes from the petroleum industry. I would not use it in connection with food, although I would use it in cosmetics. Soy wax can also interfere with hormones, although it is far healthier than any plastics. 100 Percent Beeswax is what I would recommend.
Beeswax is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, thereby ensuring a genuinely food waste solution. It contains valuable essential oils that are medicine to the body, so it actually enhances health. So what are these Zero waste wraps?
It is a piece of 100 percent cotton that is heat infused with one of the three kinds of wax. It comes in various sizes and you wrap leftover food in it. Cover a salad bowl, juice jug, wrap bread, cheese, cold meat cuts, etc. It can not be used in the microwave oven, as the wax will melt out of the fabric.
You clean it with lukewarm water and a tiny drop of dishwashing soap. It will last over a year before you will need to replace it. The beeswax has a beautiful smell, and whilst using it, you have the satisfaction that you are contributing to the health of your loved ones and the environment. It is also very pretty, and the happy fabric patterns are a delight!