I found out about Bee's Wrap at a friend's house last year. She'd brought home a loaf of bread wrapped in something she said was coated with beeswax. It was stiff-ish but foldable, and she told me they sold this waxy paper-fabric in various sizes, and that people used it instead of plastic bags and plastic wrap. I had enough plastic bags stuffed into my cabinets at the time to keep me and my food covered indefinitely (I still do), but I kept thinking about this mysterious wrap until I looked it up on the internet, bought some and started using it all the time.
My Old Way: Plastic Bags and Aluminum Foil for Everything
I'm not actually a big plastic wrap user, mostly because I can't keep it from getting folded all over itself, but I do use a lot of aluminum foil. I also use the dreaded common white plastic bag for most of my leftovers. (Warranted or not, this has partially absolved me of my guilt about not always bringing a tote to the grocery store.) I'd say I use ... about 15 plastic bags a month and a third of a roll of aluminum foil.
I don't know how bad these plastics are for me, health-wise (are they leaching into my food, etc., and does it matter?), but I'd be happy to generate less trash (as a New Yorker, I apparently generate two pounds of it a day). I also like the idea of spending less money on aluminum foil.
Plus the Bee's Wrap is cute: I like its little honeycomb pattern (they also now have clover and geometric prints, too), and there's something especially appealing about the photos on their website of food wrapped in tidy little packages. I remember not being overly fond of the smell of the wrap in which my friend brought her bread home, though, but maybe I was misremembering...
Anyway, I figured I'd give it a shot.
My Green Clean Small Shift: Bee's Wrap Sustainable, Reusable Food Wrap
I bought the Bee's Wrap in February, in their set of three sizes (7" x 8", 10" x 11", 13" x 14"), and I've been using it almost daily since then. Well maybe every third day. The middle size is my go-to, and I especially like the little bundles of half-finished vegetables I can make in the refrigerator:
It holds its form well over bowls, too, even after months of use and washing. I like how it needs the warmth of your hands to help it assume the desired shape.
And the smell — faintly, sweetly beeswax-y — turned out to be pleasant to me, but it also faded to barely perceptible within a few uses, anyway (and it doesn't infuse its scent into the food it's covering, either).
Washing and drying the Bee's Wrap is a little weird but ultimately fine — you're not supposed to use hot water (or the wax will melt), but a light soap is good, and I've found that the wrap doesn't get all that dirty anyway, since I haven't been wrapping up anything especially messy (the wrap isn't air- or watertight). It's also a little awkward to dry on the rack, visually at least.
I also haven't yet figured out a long-term place to store it — as it stands, I keep my folded squares in a rumpled pile on a rack in the kitchen, but it would be easy to figure something better out. Maybe a little basket?
Overall, I'd say my plastic bag usage is down by a third (those are still good for holding big produce and sliding over plates), and my aluminum foil usage is down by two-thirds (the Bee's Wrap won't help me cook a baked potato, sadly — although, ugh, is that killing me, too?).
I've gotten attached to using something besides plastic to wrap my food up, although it made me feel smug/superior extremely fast. After using it for like two days, I was all, "oh gross who would ever use plastic wrap?" I also started talking about it too much. "Have you seen my Bee's Wrap?"
I also hadn't expected the cuteness factor to weigh in, but folding my half-eaten avocados and onions into little packages somehow makes eating feel more personal and ... hmm, old-fashioned isn't the right word, but maybe something like it. Retro-cute. And I mentioned this above, but the hand-warmth thing (that the wrap takes shape as you handle it) has also been unexpectedly affecting. It makes the whole experience [of ... putting my food into the refrigerator] feel more human.
Cost-Saving: 2 (or 6)
If the Bee's Wrap lasts for a year, as promised, that'll probably save me ... well, it might not actually save me anything, if a roll of aluminum foil costs $4 and I'm buying four of them a year, which still wouldn't cost as much as the $18 three-pack of Bee's Wrap. If I were also cutting down on my plastic wrap and plastic baggie consumption, which I would be if I hadn't hoarded/weren't still hoarding so many plastic shopping bags, I'd probably bump this rating up to a 6.
I'm using fewer plastic bags, throwing away less aluminum foil, and I'm feeling like a champ with my cute little beeswax-y wrapping squares. The square is sometimes not the most convenient shape (it would be especially great if it came in bag shapes, too) — but maybe I can make my own. In fact I know I can and I've already bought all the supplies.
Update: we made our own version of Bee's Wrap! Click on the image below to see our tutorial: