The 5 best plastic wrap alternatives
There's no doubt that using plastic wrap is an easy way to pack your lunch or preserve leftovers, but if you're looking to keep things eco-friendly, there are plenty of great alternatives that do the job just as well, without going straight into a landfill. When it comes to the best plastic wrap alternatives, the most common options are beeswax wraps, silicone lids, and cloth covers. The right one for you will depend on both the task at hand and your personal preferences.
- Beeswax wraps: Typically made of cotton, this option often features a combination of beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin that makes them easy to mold and bend. Beeswax wraps aren't designed to last forever, but the best ones are biodegradable or even compostable. Just note that you can't use them with raw meat or fish, and they'll degrade if exposed to hot temperatures or warm water.
- Silicone lids: When you have a bowl, jar, or mug to cover, a silicone lid can be used to create an air-tight seal. It's usually heat stable, too, so you can put it in the microwave, freezer, or dishwasher.
- Cloth covers: While they aren't airtight, simple cloth covers work well to keep dishes covered for a short period of time. They also do an excellent job of preventing insects from invading picnics — another thing you might ordinarily use plastic wrap for.
Below, I've rounded up a variety of the best plastic wrap alternatives out there. They're all durable, easy to wash, and effective, according to Amazon reviewers.
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1. The basic beeswax wraps
With hundreds of positive reviews, this set of beeswax wraps is a popular choice on Amazon, and for good reason. Made of organic cotton fabric, they're coated with USDA-certified organic beeswax, tree resin, non-GMO soy wax, and a blend of jojoba, clove, and cinnamon essential oils. The set includes three wraps in varied sizes, so you can use them to cover a large bowl, wrap up a small handful of trail mix, and everything in between (just no raw meat or fish).
After each use, simply wash them with an ethanol-free soap and cold water, and hang them to dry. Each set will give you between 120 and 150 uses, according to the brand, and the wraps are biodegradable.
One reviewer says: "These are awesome! Confession: I'm not normally a fan of anything that can't go in the dishwasher, and I'm not exactly an eco-warrior. However, I figured I'd give these a try (every little bit helps), and they are surprisingly low maintenance. They work well (cling to themselves), wash easily, and are brightly colored to boot."
2. The beeswax sandwich wraps
Whether you take your lunch to school, to work, or out for a picnic, these beeswax food wraps will keep everything fresh until you're ready to eat it. The three-piece set is specifically designed for sack lunches, with one sandwich-sized wrap (with a button and string), along with two medium wraps for smaller items like veggies, crackers, or cheese. Similar to the previous set, these wraps are made with organic cotton, plus sustainably harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin.
Also, like the last set, these wraps should be washed in cold water with a mild dish soap; and they should not be used to wrap up raw meat or fish. Even better: they're compostable.
One reviewer says: "These are VERY WELL MADE! They last through many, many, (probably a hundred) washes (cool, soapy water). Dry easily and fold up to use again later. This lunch kit is perfect for all pieces."
3. The silicone lids
Made with stretchy silicone, these reusable food covers are another great alternative to plastic wrap. With 14 lids in varying sizes, this set is tough and durable while still offering enough stretch to provide an airtight seal. You can use these lids to cover a variety of cookware and dishware, including pots, pans, bowls, and cups. And, unlike the other options on this list, they can be put in the microwave, dishwasher, and freezer. Best of all, they can be reused over and over again, making them preferable to plastic wrap by a long shot.
One reviewer says: "No more searching for the exact lid that is supposed to go on that exact bowl. NO more struggling with cling wrap that doesn't cling or wasting my expensive non-stick tin foil to cover a dish I have no lid to fit. The things are Amazing!"
4. The cloth bowl covers
If you hate using plastic wrap but you get too lazy to transfer your food into a storage container after you eat, these cloth bowl covers are just the solution. Made with durable cotton with elastic edges, they come in a set with three different sizes. While they aren't airtight, they work well as a temporary cover for dishes, as well as for more niche tasks like covering dough to let it rise or protecting Jell-O while it sets. The soft, stretchy covers are also an efficient insect deterrent at picnics or barbecues. Like the beeswax wraps, these should be hand-washed in cold water and hung to dry.
One reviewer says: "These are amazing, I mainly bought them because I marinate chicken in a big bowl every week and I always used aluminum foil. Well that was such a waste and not good for the environment. So now I use the earth bunny fabric bowl and then just throw it in the wash. The size's work well and the big one can actually stretch and comfortably fit onto very large bowls [...] I think they are great, and I highly doubt anyone would be disappointed."
5. The cloth jar covers
Similar to the previous selection, these elastic cloth covers are perfect for covering jars, whether you're making kombucha or sourdough starter. They're universally designed to fit any jar ranging from 2.5 to 5.5 inches in diameter. With three identical covers in a set, they're made of 100% unbleached cotton with elastic around the perimeter to keep them secure. Between uses, just hand wash them with a mild soap and line dry.
One reviewer says: "Love the jar covers. These are perfect for the sourdough starters I have. Sturdy and actually fit more containers than just jars."