Environmentally-friendly replacements for cling-film and sandwich bags
I really dislike cling-film on every level, it is hard to use, always gets stuck on the roll, rips too easily and is just unnecessary plastic. For years I've been fighting with the stuff, not knowing there were any alternatives out there!
Apparently cling film is technically recyclable in parts of the world as it's a stretchy plastic, but in most cases won't be recycled due to the food contamination and who cleans cling film before throwing it?
I also have a big dislike for disposable sandwich bags - because they are exactly that, disposable. Most people (including myself in the past), use sandwich bags once before throwing out. They just end up in landfill or even worse in our oceans harming sea life, who try and eat them as they think they are jellyfish and end up dying as a result.
So I am delighted to have discovered so many different products that can be used instead of cling film or sandwich bags. They will reduce your plastic in the household, and so I'd really recommend you look into switching to one or more of these products below.
Beeswax wraps are so popular at the moment. Many companies are making them so in terms of which one you opt for, I'd recommend you choose a brand that is local to where you live. Using different pieces of materials, the wraps are made with beeswax to form a coated layer on the material. You simply put the wrap over the bowl or piece of food you want covering and then the warmth of your hands will help the wrap to mould around the object and stick in place. Beeswax wraps will last you about 1 year if you look after them well. To clean they are just put in warm soapy water and wiped clean.
These beeswax wraps are more than just a food cover though. You can use them to open jars when the lid is stuck, or similarly act as a jar cover too. You can re-shape the beeswax wraps into bags to hold either snacks, sandwiches or as a salad bag. You can also buy different sized ones, so larger wraps will cover perhaps a freshly baked bread loaf or homemade cake perhaps.
If have tried the beeswax wraps from BeeBee and Bee Zero Waste - both have been really great products. BeeBee do offer their products in large sizes which is helpful for covering large baking bowls and larger pieces of bread etc. Both brands sell the beeswax wraps in lovely designs and the quality from both has been brilliant.
Nom Nom Kids snack bags
The Nom Nom Kids snack bags are a great alternative to sandwich bags and really appeal to kids (or us big kids!) due to their funky monster designs. The designs make kids want to eat what is inside - hopefully some healthy snacks, whilst the reusable plastic material means they can be reused, are dishwasher and freezer safe. I've used these snack bags and think they're really great for storing snacks or pre-made healthy muffins or sugar free pancakes etc that you can batch make and freeze. It is just much more helpful during the weaning process and allows you to spend more time with your children playing and spending quality time together.
Silicone toppers can be bought again from a wide array of places and many online too. You just need to find ones that fit your bowl or cup size, so it may be worth buying a set that has some different sizes within. These are reusable and again if looked after well can last you a lifetime so worth investing in rather than clingfilm; and they will keep your food perfectly fresh.
Hands up who has a load of tupperware in that bottom draw? Yes these are plastic but they are single use plastic. And if you have them in your house already, then the most sustainable thing you can do is keep on reusing this instead of buying more disposable clingfilm or sandwich bags.
Reusable material sandwich bags
Re-usable sandwich bags and wraps come in a whole handful of pretty coloured designs these days and are a fantastic alternative to sandwich bags. They are versatile to hold a wide array of sandwiches, snacks and fruit. The ones I have my eye on are from Roll'eat and think they are brilliant as they open up into a table mat too which would be perfect for summer picnics! Depending on your brand you go for and therefore how these are made you either would just wipe these clean or pop in the washing machine to be used time and time again.
Another product that I'd seen a lot of recently but not used myself yet are the silicone bags. They can be reused over and over again and easily cleaned. The only watch out is depending on the brand you go for I've seen reviews that some of these have been too small and so don't fit a lot in. So just really do your research before buying and check it is the right size bag you need.
Okay so foil whilst it is a better product than cling film and can be recycled if cleaned and in the size of a tennis ball before you throw it in the recycling bin - however it is still disposable. So for me, I'd encourage you to use the above products first but if you can't then this would be the smallest change you can make in the first step to avoid buying more cling film or plastic sandwich bags.
So whatever you choose - any of these above options will be a step in the right direction to reducing your plastic consumption in the home and becoming that little bit greener. If we can all make some of these tiny changes, it really will make a big impact globally.