It’s been at least a year since I last used plastic wrap and I didn’t even notice

Glad wrap, alfoil and baking paper. In my own kitchen, it’s been at least a year since I needed to use any of these products.

When I first started recycling my soft plastics, I thought glad wrap couldn’t be included (it can, as long as it is dry), but I thought it would be too hard to stop using it.

However, while visiting a honey shop in Far North Queensland just after getting married, I decided it was time to try the alternatives and bought myself a starter pack of beeswax wraps.

Now is a good time to let any vegans know that there are vegan wraps available online as well. I think they mostly use candelilla and soy wax.

These ones are reasonably expensive to buy (whether beeswax or vegan), but fairly easy to make. You don’t even need to be able to sew.

To buy them – jump online to one of Australia’s many eco stores (Biome or Flora and Fauna are two of my favourites). To make them, cut up some cotton fabric to the right sizes (if you have pinking shears it will prevent fraying – if not, just be prepared to pull or cut off some threads every now and then) and get yourself some beeswax.

Place the cotton on a baking tray, sprinkle it with grated beeswax (or small pellets if you can buy it that way), and heat in the oven at a low temperature (85 degrees Celsius) for about 5 minutes or until the wax has melted. Be careful not to overheat and burn the wax.

Then, using a clean paintbrush (or, as it shall be hereafter known, your ‘beeswax’ paintbrush), spread the wax evenly over the fabric on both sides. Hang it up to dry and you’re done.

These wraps are very easy to take care of : because of the wax, you need to wash them in cool-warm water, not hot water, and use a mild soap.

For about 9 months, these wraps exclusively replaced my need for glad wrap. I just had mild dissatisfaction with their ability to cling to the sides of bowls when putting them into the fridge. But then I found something I like far better: Agreena.

Agreena is a silicone reusable wrap. Of course, being silicone and not cotton & natural wax, it’s not quite as good for the environment. However, if you like your wraps to be able to behave the same way as glad wrap, this is for you. They come in a pack of 4 with 2 set sizes – small and large. They are wobbly and stick to themselves, like glad wrap, so they can be a bit tricky, but they will stick themselves to bowls and cups.

So, the above has all been about replacing glad wrap, but what about alfoil or baking paper?

Because Agreena wraps are silicone, they can be used in the oven (no hotter than 220 degrees Celsius). I’ve just tested this for the first time baking an amazing earl grey sponge cake and lined my cake pan with the Agreena wraps instead of baking paper. As you might imagine, it didn’t give the neatest finish on the edges of the cake, but it was super easy to clean the cake off the wrap and it worked really well overall. However, for baking things that lie flat on a tray, I still prefer the thicker silicone baking mats, because they are big enough to cover a whole baking tray. I’ve been using the same one for about 3 years and, while there are some burn marks I can’t seem to get out, it’s still going strong. I have two more now so that I can make multiple things at once. I use these for everything from baking biscuits to roasting vegetables.

As for alfoil… personally I have just stopped using it altogether. The only time I ever really cooked with it was when I needed to cover a lasagne or something, and I’ve just stopped covering them. I don’t think it’s made much difference to the outcome.

Comment below if you have any other ideas on how to substitute for any of these items, or if there is a use that you can’t think of a substitute for.

To finish, I’d like to leave you with a table that shows my thoughts on the pros and cons of the various alternatives to glad wrap I mentioned in this post. Hooray for summarising information visually! Must be the teacher in me.

Beeswax wraps Vegan wax wraps Agreena silicone wraps
alternative to glad wrap

alternative to baking paper

easy to use

easy to clean

very mouldable/clingy

withstands high temperatures

can make yourself

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