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How to Make Zero Waste Cling Film

Bio-Based Zero Waste Cling Film. Here are some instructions for making a reusable bio-based alternative to cling film - beeswax wraps.
Picture of a dish covered in a beeswax wrap with some herbs and flakes of beeswax
© University of York/BioYorkshire
Cling film is used by most of us to wrap our food and keep it fresh. It is able to stick to itself and so doesn’t need any adhesives. Cling film is traditionally made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or LDPE (low density polyethylene). As with all plastics, cling film debris has the potential to contaminate waterways and litter the land. According to Recycle Now “cling film is generally not recyclable and should be placed in the waste bin”.

Bio-Based Zero Waste Cling Film

Here are some instructions for making a reusable bio-based alternative to cling film – beeswax wraps.

You will need:

  • 0.5 metres of 100% cotton fabric
  • 60g of beeswax flakes (or you can use a 100% beeswax candle)
  • Cheese grater
  • Bowl
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or tapemeasure
  • Pen
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Cooling rack

Instructions:

  1. Decide what sizes you would like your wraps to be.
  2. Mark them on your cloth using your pen.
  3. Cut them out – you can fold the fabric enabling you to cut several pieces at the same time.
  4. If you are using a candle, grate it using the cheese grater so that you have about 60g of flakes (you can compost the wick).
  5. Switch your iron on (a medium heat setting should be fine).
  6. Put a piece of greaseproof paper on your ironing board and place your fabric on top. Cover the piece of fabric with flakes of beeswax (be generous – the more beeswax, the better the wrap will stick to itself).
  7. Place another piece of greaseproof paper on top of the fabric.
  8. Move your iron over the greaseproof paper. You will see that the beeswax starts to spread evenly over the fabric. If there are any gaps, you can lift the top piece of greaseproof paper and add more beeswax.
  9. Once all the beeswax is melted, place the whole thing (including the paper) onto a cooling rack.
  10. When they’ve mostly cooled, slowly remove each sheet of greaseproof paper and leave the wraps lying flat to cool completely.
  11. If the edges have flakes of beeswax or need tidying up, you can trim them with scissors.
  12. Test them out! You can help them to stick together using the warmth from your hands, or you could use a rubber band.

Zero Waste Cling Film Care Instructions

To clean them you can wipe them with a clean damp cloth or scrub them with cold water and washing-up liquid before hanging them up to dry.

At the end of their lives they can be rewaxed and used again, cut into strips and used as firelighters or placed in your compost heap to biodegrade.

© University of York/BioYorkshire
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