Wrapping Responsibly

We’re all becoming horribly aware of how much food is wasted in New Zealand each year: 157,389 tonnes of food go into our landfills annually. There is something we can all do to help: save our leftovers for lunch, dinner or just later. We can help the environment by making sure all of the water, fertiliser and energy that went into growing that lovely food doesn’t go to waste.

Good on you; wrap them in some Glad Wrap and pop them in the fridge, right?

Plastic wrap

Ahh, no. Plastic takes an estimated 500 to 1,000 years to degrade and much of the plastic in our lives we just use once and then throw in the rubbish. By 2050, it is predicted there will be more plastic floating around in the ocean than fish.

Ok, so what about using Tin Foil? No, aluminium foil, as it should be correctly referred to, isn’t exactly the eco-friendliest product on the market either. In fact, it’s pretty much the worst material to save stuff in; it is even more wasteful than plastic wrap.

What exactly makes Tin Foil so bad?

Tin foil is made from finite, energy-intensive resources, namely aluminium, and takes around 80–200 years to degrade in a landfill, apparently. Making the aluminium in this foil has a huge environmental footprint, from the bauxite mining, the enormous amount of electric power required to make it, greenhouse gas emissions, human health impacts and aquatic toxicity.

Tin Foil can and should be reused; you can give it a good scrub, and it can and should be recycled, but for some reason we fail to do so.

The wrap on plastic containers

Reusable plastic containers can work, but how well depends on a few things: firstly, the quality and the type of plastic in the container. Quality is important because if you use a light-weight container, such as one from the takeaway bar or supermarket, that plastic container is the equivalent to a lot of plastic wrapping. And then there are BPAS and phthalates.

What? There are many types of plastics. Chemicals are added to them to help shape, stabilise and change the flexibility. BPA (bisphenol-A) is added to form polycarbonate plastics: clear, rigid, heat-resistant and hard to break and they’re used in everything from reusable water bottles, plastic plates, food storage containers to till receipts. Phthalates are another common substance added to plastics to make them soft and flexible.

Plastics are all tested and are expected to be stable during everyday use. According to the American FDA, BPA is safe. They say this in spite of their 2012 ban on its use in baby bottles and sippy cups. There is also a very large body of research that has found all sorts of health issues associated with exposure to BPAs.

So, we’ve got petroleum that goes into their manufacture, the fact it can’t degrade, and the plastic polluting our oceans and the potential health effects. 

What’s the solution?

As far as lunchtime and food storage goes, there are sound alternatives: eco-friendly wraps, such as our Honey Food Wraps, made from all-natural materials.

Beeswax wraps are biodegradable, compostable, and reusable.

What are Honey Food Wraps, exactly?

Our beeswax wraps are made of kanuka beeswax, and 100 per cent cotton. The kanuka beeswax we use has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and because it is water-tight, the beeswax locks in moisture while letting the food naturally breathe. Honey Food Wraps act like a natural barrier.

What are wraps good for?

You can use beeswax wraps to replace your plastic wraps around fruits, veggies, cheese, bread, etc. They also seal in the goodness on bowls of salad, or leftovers, in your fridge. You can use them to wrap sandwiches or make little pouches for snacks and dried fruits, or wrap wet fruit like watermelon, pineapple or oranges to stop them from leaking into the rest of your lunch.

How do they work?

Just use your hands to mould the wrap around your food. The warmth from your hands will make the wrap grip tightly to the food or the container. Once in the fridge, the beeswax in the wrap hardens around the bowl or piece of cheese, sealing in the goodness even more.

It’s a wrap – hands down

At Manuka Corner, we believe reducing our dependence on plastics is a good way to safeguard our health and to help the planet. While completely eliminating this omnipresent petrochemical material from our lives will be nigh-on impossible, we can all do our bit by eating a little more cleanly. We can pack our lunches and store our foods in natural materials that are healthy for people and the planet.

We love our beeswax wraps because they are natural, reduce waste and are eco-friendly.