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Cling wrap has been used for years in the kitchen to cover bowls, to wrap leftover food and to microwave meals. But there are many hidden factors within glad wrap that is not very commonly spoken about. The cycle of cling wrap is very short but leaves a very big impact on our environment. Here are just some of the reasons why switching to reusable beeswax wrap is not only better for the environment, but also healthier for your family.
Life cycle of cling wrap:
The manufacturing of cling wrap, before it hits the shelves of our supermarkets, starts in a large factory and is made by large commercial machines. A range of different chemicals such as butane, benzene and vinyl acetate help assist the manufacturing process of cling wrap along with the key ingredient Polyvinylidene Chloride or Low-Density Polyethylene, a plastic that makes up cling wrap. Once made, it is shipped from China and other international countries to Australia and onto our shelves you; can see this on the back of a box of cling wrap.
There is growing scientific evidence that even at these lower levels of exposure, phthalates may be causing problems such as infertility, obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and diabetes. When cling wrap is used to cover bowls of food and heated up in the microwave, it becomes very harmful for our health. Chemicals leak from the plastic and can contaminate our food without us even knowing. Chemicals used in cling wrap are deemed “low risk,” and that’s how they can get away with using them.
After cling wrap has been used to cover a bowl of food, it is scrunched up and thrown in the bin. This is called single use plastic; after a long manufacturing process, it is only used once. From here, cling wrap may end up in our waterways leaking chemicals, or in our ocean, contaminating them and causing unheard of damage to our marine life. Animals swallow the plastic film, mistaking it for jelly fish, and cannot digest them, causing tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals and turtles to die each year.
The most damaging fact is the amount of time cling wrap takes to break down, and whilst this process is occurring, it ends up in our environment. Some plastics take longer to break down than our lifetime and our grandchildren’s lifetime. Therefore, it is important to minimise the amount of cling wrap we purchase to prevent its need for production and to prevent the need to ship it from overseas, polluting our airways. If we can protect our health, better our use of reusable products and minimise our plastic waste, we can do our part to protect the precious environment that will live in.
Here is where reusable beeswax wraps come in!
They are made locally, reducing pollution that would have otherwise been caused by shipping and travel, whilst also being made from as little as three ingredients: beeswax, coconut oil and pine resin. Another key factor is that beeswax wraps are reusable, and due to their all-natural materials, they can last for years. They can be refreshed by placing them on a sheet of baking paper and placing them in the oven for a short amount of time to re-melt the wax on the fabric. I have some beeswax wraps going on a year strong, and they still work perfectly. This cuts down the cost of having to replace beeswax wraps like you would have to with cling wrap. Finally, once beeswax wraps are no longer needed, they can be put in the compost and will break down in a few months.