Life without Plastic Wrap

Plastic wrap got kicked out of our household pretty quickly when we started trying to reduce our waste.  Plastic wrap is technically recyclable in Calgary, but I would guess that a pretty small percentage of the world's plastic wrap ends up anywhere but the landfill. Or in the oceans.

For the most part, ditching cling wrap hasn't been much of an inconvenience. Although widely used in many households, it really isn't necessary, and can be easily replaced by items you probably already have in your kitchen.

Just to start, here is a list of simple replacements for plastic wrap:

  • Leftovers: Put them in a reusable container with a lid, in a glass jar, or left on the plate with another plate on top (upside down). A clean side plate also makes a fine cover for a soup bowl, and dinner plates fit on top of serving bowls nicely.
  • Freezer: Freeze food in reusable containers, or in zipper-top freezer bags. Ideally we will phase out the freezer bags over time, but we have been using the same ones for many years and I see no reason to recycle them when they are still usable.
  • Transport: To take a dish to a potluck or outing, use a casserole dish or bake ware with a lid. Alternatively, pack it in a reusable container and bring a plate to transfer it to on arrival. If your bake ware doesn't have a lid, a clean dishtowel held in place with a rubber band also does the trick.
  • Wrapping Banana Stems: I've provided a link in case you, like me, had never heard of this usage for plastic wrap. I don't have a replacement for this one. I would suggest not buying more bananas than your household can eat before they get too ripe.
  • Cleanliness: Various Internet sources suggest using plastic wrap as shelf liners in the fridge, drawer lines, or elsewhere to catch mess and aid the cleaning process. If this is a concern for you, I would use a tea towel that can be swapped out and thrown in the wash. Or keep the mess off your shelves by putting the food in your fridge in containers or on plates, which can be thrown in the dishwasher.
  • Baking: Many recipes suggest covering rising bread dough with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Instead, wet a clean dish cloth and lay on top of the dough as it rises. Adjust the dampness of the cloth to how long the dough needs to rise. My standard dough rises overnight, so I wet the cloth just short of dripping. For only a couple hours, I would make it just barely damp.
I should mention we also have some beeswax cloth covers that we use for covering bake ware for potlucks. These were homemade by a friend and given to us as a gift. There are versions of them available to buy online or at places like Community Natural Foods, or you can make your own.

We have gone several years without cling wrap now, and never miss it.

Do you have tips to replace plastic wrap? Leave a comment!


  1. I love your ideas! I have them implimented at my house. I reuse my ziplocs all the time!


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