Are Beeswax Wraps Eco Friendly?
There is a saying, 'once used, lasts forever'. A perfect description for conventional clingfilm, of which we use a whopping 1.2 billion metres of a year here in Britain.
In theory it can be recycled if its clean and your local recycling centre will accept it. However, most advise that clingfilm should be placed in the waste bin, which means it goes straight to landfill. Some companies have started to make 100% biodegradable clingfilm. This apparently takes 2 years to break down. But to biodegrade properly, it needs specific conditions which aren't always available.
Even when clingfilm does break down, it reverts to microscopic nurdles. What is a nurdle? The dreaded nurdle is a small plastic pellet, about the size of a lentil. These are melted down to then create the plastic products we use every day. When these products are disposed of and break down, the nurdles end up in our landfills and quite often in our soil and waterways.
Studies have found more than 220 marine species to have ingested plastic debris. Chemicals can also leach out of these plastics once they are in the environment, creating even more problems.
How do we stop plastic pollution?
We can recycle responsibly as much as possible
We can take part in litter picks and beach cleans
We can campaign for companies to be more responsible with their processing to avoid accidental spills
BUT if we can reduce the demand for plastic products, especially single use plastics, by switching to more eco friendly alternatives, we are making a direct impact on the problem.
Which takes us back to the question, are Beeswax Wraps eco friendly?
Yes they are!!
Keep reading to find out why...
Switching from a single use product is great, but we want to ensure that what we switch to is a good alternative. Tin foil and greaseproof paper can both be recycled, so are a better option. But both tend to be used only once.
Beeswax and plant wax wraps are reusable. They can be cleaned in cold, soapy water and once dry are ready to be used again and again. Some of our customers are using wraps which they have had for 2 years! On the whole, we say they can last for up to a year. Even when the wax coating has worn off, they might not need to be thrown away. If the fabric is still in good condition, the wraps can be rewaxed with our rewax blocks and then be used for even longer.
When they are ready to be replaced, the old ones can either be used as fire lighters, or can be put in a domestic compost heap.
What about the cotton industry?
The cotton industry is known to use pesticides and to be very water intensive. Traditionally, cotton crops are grown in areas with limited rainfall which puts significant pressure on the ground water supplies and affects access to water for local communities. We didn't want to contribute to these problems, so we use 100% GOTS certified organic cotton to make our wax wraps, bread and produce bags.
Why is organic cotton better for the planet?
There are many reasons why organic cotton is better for the planet. The World Economic Forum has identified water scarcity as one of the top ten global risks to society over the next ten years, and the majority of cotton is grown in countries facing water shortages. Organic cotton has significantly fewer negative impacts on water than non-organic…
Healthier soil - organic farmers use natural methods like composting to create healthy soil. Healthy soil acts like a sponge, soaking up water during floods and holding it for longer during droughts.
No polluting pesticides - hazardous synthetic pesticides need to be diluted to bring them to 'safe' levels when they enter waterways - over one fifth of water used to grow non-organic cotton is used for this purpose. This is not the case for organic cotton because hazardous synthetic pesticides are banned in organic farming.
The way cotton is watered - most organic cotton is grown in rain-fed areas, this mean farmers rely on rain to water their cotton, instead of having to extract water from the ground which can put pressure on water supplies in local communities.
(Information from the Soil Association Organisation)
What about the other components?
We source as much beeswax as we can from local beekeepers. We have two very helpful and busy beekeepers who have a lot of hives between them who work hard to keep us supplied! This means we know that the wax we use has been cleaned without chemicals and has travelled the shortest distance possible. One of our beekeepers has hives very close to where we live which means some of the wax may have come from bees who visit our garden.
The jojoba oil we use is organic and the pine resin comes from European pine forests and is WW grade which has been authorised for use on articles intended to come into contact with food.
All of our packaging can be recycled and we use a local printer to reduce transportation. They print on card which has FSC certification. This ensures that their products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
When we send our products out to you we will either use 100% recyclable materials, including paper tape used to seal the envelopes or we will reuse packaging that has been sent to us. It would be great if you could either place the packaging in your recycling, or better still, save it and use it again!
You may even find that some of our fabric scraps (we try to keep these to a minimum) are used instead of bubble wrap!
Our other products
All of our bread bags and produce bags are also made with organic cotton. The bread bag is a great way to bring your bread home from the shops or market, avoiding the need to use a plastic or paper bag. Wrapped in our big beeswax wrap, your bread will then stay fresher for longer, helping to reduce food waste.
The produce bags are a great alternative to the plastic bags you find in supermarkets for loose fruit and vegetables. Weigh your fruit or vegetables, print your label and then pop them in your bag. If you use a refill shop for your dried foods, these bags are also great for bringing home your rice, pasta, popping corn etc. You could take your glass or tupperware containers instead, but they are a bit bulky! Most shops offer paper bags to fill, however, a paper bag needs to be reused at least three times before its carbon footprint is less than a plastic bag. Cotton produce bags can be used over and over again and can even be used as snack bags or lunch bags for days out in between.
Our reusable make up removers are a more sustainable option than cotton wool pads. Most cotton wool pads won't be made from organic cotton and are single use. Our version is made with organic cotton on one side and a super soft organic bamboo fabric on the other. Bamboo is a fast growing crop which when organically grown is a fantastic product to replace cotton.