The Pros and Cons of Beeswax Wraps 🐝
Beeswax has a long history throughout human evolution. Evidence of its use has been dated back thousands of years across multiple cultures- from the Vikings to the Ancient Romans.
With so many uses, it's hard to miss why it's still a staple in many homes across the globe today: being used in beauty, health, art, and writing. While it's preserving properties have always been appreciated, in more recent years, beeswax has gained attention for use in the kitchen in the form of Beeswax Wraps.
In all honesty, I didn't have nearly enough appreciation for these fantastic little things growing up, only using them every now and then when *covers face in shame* the plastic wrap ran out. It wasn't until I'd move out of home and realised just how much waste I was producing, that the benefits of beeswax wraps really clicked for me. Nothing like independence to really get those eco-awareness gears turning!
Now? I couldn't live without them. And I can bet that once you adjust to them, neither will you. And in the spirit of honesty, there are some things to adjust to. Here are some of the pros and cons to introducing beeswax wraps into your life.
Pro: They’re Breathable
Have you ever wrapped something in plastic wrap, only to come back to it a few days later and it’s turned mushy and brown? Well, I am yet to witness this with my beeswax wraps. While plastic wrap prevents food from breathing, the natural cotton fibres of beeswax wraps allow food to breathe.
Con: They Can Leave a Residue
Due to the waxy nature, occasionally you may notice some residue on your hands after handling the wraps. This isn’t anything to worry about, because as we know, beeswax has been used in cosmetics for centuries anyway. If it’s enough to bother you, all you need to do is wash your hands with some soap under hot water and it should melt away. If you’re not too bothered by it, maybe just rub the waxy goodness into your hands and see if it hydrates? You never know!
Pro: They have Antibacterial Properties
While research in the area is still new, studies so far have shown that beeswax has the same antimicrobial properties that honey does. In relation to use in food, beeswax can act as a barrier against overall bacterias of Staphylococcus aureus (Staph infection), Salmonella enterica (S. Typhi), Candida albicans (yeast infection) and Aspergillus niger (black mold).
Con: They can Absorb Smells and Colours
Depending on what you’ve been using your wraps for, I’ve heard reports that they can sometimes start to absorb scents and colour from particularly pungent foods such as onions. It’s generally recommended that you stick to wrapping drier foods such as bread or nuts, and avoid soft cheeses and meats. I’ve never personally had any concerns with this, but if you’ve got a sensitive nose, keep a sniff out as it may be an issue for you.
Pro: They’re Super Versatile. So. Many. Shapes.
You know the expression “The only limit is your imagination”? I’m pretty sure that Tony Robbins was referring to beeswax wraps when he said this. While it obviously depends on what size wrap you have, they can quite literally take any shape. Feeling crafty? Get on that origami folding! You can fold these bad boys into little pouches that can hold your nuts, biscuits, fruit, popcorn- and still fit in your lunch box! Or feeling lazy? Literally smack the wrap over your half-eaten apple, hold it for a few seconds (yes- sorry some work is still involved here) and you’re done! When it comes to storage, I actually roll mine up into little tunnels that fit much better in my kitchen drawer (they can be folded too though).
Con: They Require Some Maintenance
Like many good things in life, they can take some effort. While these wraps will bring you much joy, some of this joy is occasionally sapped when you have a pile of them stacked on the kitchen counter waiting- nay, begging to be hand washed. If you’re in a hurry, and haven’t timed yourself correctly, maintenance can be a bugger. They do need to be cleaned after use, and rather quickly, as any food left on them can spoil if left out.
Pro: They’re Washable!
And now for the other side of the coin! Depending on your angle, being able to wash these wraps and use over and over again is a HUGE plus. All it requires is some gentle soap, cold water and your hands! Here’s a link to the care instructions for my beeswax wraps. (If you’ve only used the wrap for something cleaner like bread, then you’d can get away with just wiping any crumbs off).
Con: The Price Tag
The sustainable price tag might not come as a surprise to you. But if the transition into a more waste-free lifestyle is new for you, it can feel like a heavy deterrent. If you’re in a financial situation where spending a little more money is a simple decision, then good for you and go for it! If you’d rather save some money, beeswax wraps are surprisingly simple to make yourself. All you need is some wax pellets, some cotton fabric and your oven! There are plenty of tutorials online, so give it a go!
Pro: They’re Sustainable
Beeswax wraps are able to be used over and over up to a year, before they need refreshing. Even after that, depending on how often they are used, can go on for much longer. I’ve personally had some wraps last up to two years before I’ve had to reset them, and after a little extra wax added, they’re still going strong. Once your wrap has reached the obvious end of it’s life, they are able to be cut up into little pieces and composted, or even used as fire starters for those cosy winter nights! Natural materials that leave no trace of waste when used! What more could you want?
Pro: Reduces Food Waste
Did you know that the average Australian household wastes 345kg of perfectly edible food per year? That is staggeringly high. The antibacterial and breathable properties of beeswax can help combat the seriously concerning amount of food wastage in households. Keeping your food fresher for longer, means that you’ve got more time to consume the contents of your fridge, and it’s less likely to go moldy in the meantime.
Overall, you really won't know if these wraps are for you until you try them. I personally think that the pros well outweigh the cons. Single use plastic consumption is at an all time high, with an average of 130kg of plastic being used per person each year and food waste is a universal epidemic. If there is one tiny little change that we can make at a time to improve the state of our social practices and ecosystem, why not make that change?
If you have any questions or concerns at all, I am always here to answer them although I am definitely still learning. We are human and by nature imperfect beings. Not everyday is a great, shiny, eco-warrior success of a day, but I try my absolute darndest. And if you can say the same, then props to you friend! We’re in this together.
Check out the Beeswax Lunch Pack on my store now.
Some sources used: