Cling film or plastic wrap has become a common household product and something that most of us use every day to keep our food fresh and protected. It has been highly convenient for many decades, but have any of us really stopped to think about the harm it is causing to the environment? Plastic food wrapping that we buy at the supermarket is non-recyclable and non-renewable. Whilst this isn’t the most pressing environmental crisis, as I started writing this article it struck me the amount of times that I use this product on a daily basis without even considering the consequences. Many of us, including myself have become detached from the environmental harm it creates and only recognise it for its function. Made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the material ends up in landfill sites and our oceans across the world where it is likely to stay. Fortunately, some companies are responding to our need for more sustainable alternatives.
Earlier this month, FKuR developed a new plastic which biodegrades in garden compost at low, variable temperatures. The bioplastics specialist in Germany have also produced thin and puncture resistant compostable film bags which are also certified home compostable. FKuR is a producer of Bioplastic-Compounds for flexible packaging solutions and technical applications. Their extensive Bio-Flex products range from bags to packing and films to food packaging. The various bioplastic compounds that the company have been developing are moisture resistant because they do not contain starch derivatives; which offers a great advantage in comparison to other commercial starch-based plastics. Additionally, the other grades which are not transparent can be coloured.
Julian Schmeling, head of development at FKuR said: “Aside from the use of renewable resources, material reduction is an essential pillar on the road to achieving greater sustainability. This applies to conventional plastics as well as to bioplastics. Thanks to the use of novel polymeric additive systems and an adapted compounding process, FKuR now provides converters with the possibility to follow the trend using bioplastics and combine significant material savings along with compostability.“
Another innovative solution filling this gap is ‘Bee’s Wrap’ ( @beeswrap ) which has been designed by the American entrepreneur Sarah Kaeck to promote a sustainable and organic lifestyle. Bee’s Wrap is an eco-friendly, reusable alternative to food wrap. It is made from an organic muslin cloth that has been coated in beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. Designed for a number of sizes, it can cover bowls, sandwiches, half used fruit etc. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it is malleable, water resistant and airtight which keeps food fresh from the antibacterial properties the natural oils produce. What’s more is that the Bee’s Wrap products can be used for up to a year.
The mum of three wanted to create a product which was sustainable and toxic free to store her half eaten fruit and vegetables. This was until she discovered a lost tradition - beeswax sealing. When the business first started in 2012, Sarah hand-painted wax onto every wrap, then as the initiative started to develop and grow in size, the firm expanded to a new site where a custom machine now coats the wraps with the organic fibres. Her products are now sold in over twelve countries internationally.
Bee’s Wrap can be used by the warmth and pressure from your hands which enables it to wrap around the food or bowl. Once the wax is cooled, a seal is created keeping the food airtight and secure. Bee’s Wrap’s products also include a strong and wooden toggle to fasten and protect many a packed lunch! Sarah’s range is reusable, biodegradable and compostable. At the end of its life cycle it can be disposed in a compost heap or used to make an effective fire.
For other plastic alternatives you might be interested in: