Plastic wrap has been around for generations, used to preserve leftovers and prevent food from becoming stale. While it’s definitely convenient, it’s also made from a form a plastic known as low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and after we use it, it ends up in our already overflowing landfills and takes hundreds if not thousands of years to decompose.

1. Glass food storage containers

With a multitude of outstanding options available on the market these days, glass food storage containers are an easy swap for that plastic wrap. They can easily go from your oven to kitchen table to the refrigerator, which means using them can also reduce the need to wash so many different containers too – saving you time and further lessening the impact on the environment.

2. Mason jars

Mason jars have been used for preserving foods more than 150 years. Quart and half-gallon size jars are great for storing things like soups, sauces, broth, and even leftover casseroles and sides.

3. A dishcloth

A dishcloth is ideal for fresh produce. You can wrap it up in a cloth and place it in your refrigerator, or put your produce in a bowl and lay the cloth over the top. By adding a rubber band, your makeshift container will be airtight without the need for plastic.

4. Bee’s wrap

Bee’s wrap is a relatively new invention, created by an avid gardener and cook Sarah Kaeck as a reusable, sustainable alternative to plastic wrap. It uses cotton muslin cloths which are dipped in beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. The material is still until the heat of your hands, when wrapping up whatever food you might have, warms them up, creating a seal. The beeswax and jojoba oil contains antibacterial properties to help with preservation too. You just use the warmth of your hands to form the wrap over the food or the top of a container, and the wrap will hold its shape when it cools to keep it sealed and fresh. When you’re done, wash it with gentle soap and cool water and it can be reused.

5. Parchment or (Soy Derived) Wax Paper

You can also use parchment or soy derived wax paper to wrap your sandwiches for a picnic or office lunch instead of using plastic wrap or plastic baggies.

6. Make your own non-plastic wrap

Making your own nonplastic-wrap is an option too. To do so, you’ll need the following:

  • Beeswax
  • A heat-proof container to melt the beeswax
  • Fabric cut to any size, like 8″ X 8″ or 12″ X 12″, in the thinnest, tightest weave material you can find (tightly woven muslin is ideal)
  • Tongs or chopsticks

Place enough beeswax in your heat-proof container so that, once melted, there will be about a half-inch of melted wax in the pan. Place the container over very low heat on the stovetop and allow it to slowly melt. Once it has all melted, carefully place a piece of fabric inside of the wax, making sure that it’s thoroughly coated. Then, lift it out and let the liquid wax drip off until the wax has cooled, typically just a minute or two. Once the wax has hardened, set it aside to cool completely, then re-dip the edges or any spots that were missed, if necessary.

To use it, cover or wrap your item, using the warmth of your hands to slightly soften the beeswax, and then press and seal the wrap into place. You can re-use it by washing with cold water (hot will melt the wax) and a small amount of dish soap. Let it dry completely before using.

Read more: