Cling wrap is one of the most common items made to wrap food, but it’s single use plastic. While aluminum foil might seem like a more eco-friendly alternative, it’s actually just as bad, if not worse, than cling wrap.
Plastic wrap is commonly made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or linear LDPE (LLDPE). Just like with all plastics, there are major drawbacks. It’s single use, and when it is reused, it doesn’t work as well and usually ends up getting replaced anyway. Plastic is also made with non-renewable materials, and this type can’t be recycled.
On the other hand, aluminum foil takes a lot more energy to manufacture (almost 6 times the amount required for cling wrap) as well as uses resources that have to be mined. The carbon emissions caused by foil production and manufacturing exceeds that of plastic wrap. Foil is also more toxic to nature, where it can harm flora and fauna if thrown away and released into the environment. Foil does have its good points, though. It’s easy to reuse, and its impact is reduced with every reuse. Aluminum can also be recycled indefinitely.
For the next two weeks, don’t use any cling wrap or aluminum foil. If this seems too hard, pick one of the two to cut out for one week, and try to do the other during the second week.
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The planet thanks you!
Products like beeswax wraps (made of beeswax and cotton, compostable) and fabric sandwich wraps can be easily washed and reused. They can be used for both covering and wrapping food. Another alternative that cover dishes are silicone lids that stretch over a cup or bowl.
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