Earth Day is meant to bring awareness to environmental issues and inspire ways in which we can all make better choices for the Earth. During the month of April, people all over the globe participate in small actions to better take care of the planet, and ultimately these actions help change and shape our relationship with consuming, using, and discarding the items we purchase. Actions for the Earth are important every day of the year, not just one day or month, but this time of year is simply used to bring the community together, to discuss the current environmental problems, and bring light to the realization that every single individual plays a part in the solution of these issues. We can’t do it alone.
One of the largest environmental issues we are facing today is pollution in the form of plastic and trash floating in the ocean and congesting the most beautiful natural places on Earth. Our trash from land can travel a far distance through rivers and lakes, affecting all kinds of wildlife along the way. Take Calgary for example. The Bow River, which flows through the city, travels thousands of kilometers until it leads into Hudson’s Bay, the Hudson Strait, and into the North Atlantic Ocean. So the trash landing in the river here, leads to affecting a long line of spaces and creatures, from Ring-necked ducks on the river, to Bowhead Whales and Polar Bears. It affects every species near and far, including humans.
I started using Beeswax wraps to eliminate the use of ziplocks, cling wrap, and other one-use-adventure kind of packaging. Packaging is the largest market for plastics today. Each year, 300 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide, 50% of which is for packaging, used no more than a few times. This is obviously a huge problem as the plastic used every year literally has no where to go, ending up in natural spaces.
Switching to more sustainable packaging is a huge step towards a less polluted planet. Beeswax wraps are a great alternative to single-use plastics and they are also so much prettier (not that beauty is the best reason to use something, but it does make it more fun to use, especially for kids)!
Nowadays you can buy beeswax wraps at many places like zero waste stores or online. They are also super easy to make yourself, plus, if you do purchase wraps, eventually they lose their waxiness and ability to hold shape. This problem is so easy to fix, and you do it the same way you would making a new one.
Making a Beeswax Wrap Beeswax Wrap Care Beeswax Wrap Uses
Making a Beeswax Wrap
Raw beeswax (0.5 oz. per wrap) An old cheese grater An old cookie sheet Brushing tool (old but clean paint brush or even a small piece of thick cardboard) Cotton fabric pieces or other natural fibre – anywhere from 8×8” – 12×12” Scissors Rope/short length of string for a mini clothes line
Note: I usually buy local beeswax from beekeepers at places like a farmers market, but you can also buy raw cosmetic grade beeswax from amazon, online from beekeepers, or in bulk from zero waste stores. The bulk stuff is usually already in pellets which cuts down on work, however I buy the blocks of wax which requires grating and works just as well.
You will also never be using the cheese grater and cookie sheet for food again because the wax does not wash off well, so whichever tools you choose to use, make sure they aren’t your favourite!
Cut your squares of fabric by measuring and cutting one edge, followed by folding it to make a triangle. This will make sure you have a square of fabric. Pinking shears are great to use because your fabric edges won’t fray, however, if you do not own pinking shears, regular scissors are fine.
Set up a mini clothesline in your kitchen. For me, this means a small rope strung from one chair to another.
If you bought a block of wax, grate it using the grater. I use a kitchen scale to weigh the wax, however this is not completely necessary. This is what 0.5 oz. of grated wax looks like.
Heat the oven to 170 degrees F. Place your fabric onto the pan and sprinkle the grated wax over it. You may want to have a little extra grated wax just in case it doesn’t melt evenly over the fabric.
Once the oven has come to temperature, place the pan in the oven for about 7 minutes or until you see the wax has melted completely.
This next part you will need to do quickly as once you take the pan out of the oven the wax starts to set. Take the pan out. Use the brushing tool to brush the wax over the fabric to make sure it is even. If all the fabric is covered in melted wax and you don’t need to add more, flip the fabric over and quickly smooth the other side.
Pick up the fabric with two corners, and hang it over the makeshift mini clothesline you made earlier. Your beeswax wrap will not take long to dry, but hanging it means that it won’t adhere to other surfaces by accident.
If during step #6 your wax starts to harden while you are trying to pick it up or you’re taking too long to spread the wax evenly, just stick it back in the oven for 2 minutes and try again.
Lastly, some beeswax wrap recipes call for other ingredients such as jojoba oil or pine resin, but honestly I never find that I need those ingredients because beeswax seals the fabric and makes it pliable on its own. Usually jojoba oil is for softening and pine resin helps to stiffen and prolong the life a little bit. In my opinion they just cancel each other out and just make it more complicated than the process has to be. Another side note, if you’d prefer to make vegan friendly wraps, it is possible to use other types of wax or food safe resin instead of beeswax.
Beeswax Wrap Care
Wash each wrap with lukewarm-cool water and sensitive or biodegradable soap. Most of the time if it’s just me using the wraps, I will rinse with cool water and dry them off with a cloth. Always keep the wraps away from hot surfaces unless you are trying to re-melt the wax.
20 Beeswax Wrap Uses
Bulk store snack bag
Dog timbits and treats on the go
Thank you gifts
Outdoor cup or carafe covers
Bar soap holder for travelling
Backup versatile lid for any size container
Wrap a flower bouquet
Roll into a funnel for filling containers
Cupboard and fridge liners
Work party leftovers holder
Kids activities for travel (store mini lego kits in a wrap for example)
Crushing graham crackers for baking
Use as an ingredient separator in jarred gift recipes