Today let’s talk about eco-friendly alternatives to cling film.
Growing up cling film was used ubiquitously in my house (ubiquitously!). However, at some point since leaving home at the age of 17 I stopped using the stuff. I can’t remember exactly when as it has been well over a decade since I last bought cling film. What I do know is that it was no great loss to me not having a roll to hand. Finding alternatives that worked just meant thinking a bit more creatively in the kitchen.
Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Cling Film
Here are the eco-friendly alternatives to cling film that work for us:
The Creative Use of Crockery & Other Kitchen Ephemera
Got some leftovers from dinner time? If the food is in a bowl I’ll cover the leftovers with a plate and pop it in the fridge for later. If the leftovers are on a plate I’ll use an upturned plate to cover the plate with. And if you’re in a pickle and out of plates, then saucepan lids also make pretty good plate and bowl covers too. Pro tip!
For reheating food in the microwave I simply pop a non-metallic plate on top of the plate or bowl. This helps avoid food splatters. So thrifty, so simple, and my favourite cling film alternative. If your fridge is a bit on the full side you can even balance things on top of the plate. Pro tip two!
Food Storage is Your Friend
I have a fairly extensive collection of Tupperware, amassed over the years. I use these to decant leftovers into or to store foodstuffs in the fridge that I might once have otherwise wrapped in clingfilm, such as a block of cheese, a half chopped onion, or something similar.
I’m planning to replace my plastic Tupperware with glass Tupperware as it breaks.
The best glass Tupperware I can find is by Glasslock. You can put the glass trays (without the lids) directly into the microwave and oven (up to 230°C). What’s more, as they’re glass, they won’t stain if you put tomato-based foods in them. They are also 100% airtight and leakproof too. They are even freezer safe. I think they just sound a lot more durable than plastic Tupperware. The only thing is Glasslock isn’t currently widely available in the UK. I’ve found them available on Amazon*. I’ve sometimes seen them on offer at Costco too.
As well as Tupperware I also use glass jars to store food in, rather than wrapping some cling film over a bowl. Leftover soup lends itself to being stored in a lidded jar quite nicely. And if you want to take the soup to work the next day for lunch then you can just cart your soup to work with you in your bag. No spills!
Tea Towels Aren’t Just for, Err, Tea
My partner makes us homemade pizza each and every Friday. If you’ve ever made dough before, you’ll know this means making the dough. Then you need to leave it to rise someplace warm for a few hours. Instead of wrapping the bowl with cling film, we cover the bowl with a clean dry tea towel or napkin. In the summer we set the bowl on the windowsill to prove. And in winter we sit the bowl near the wood-burning stove.
If you don’t like the idea of using a tea towel, don’t worry. If you are handy with a sewing machine then you can make these pretty bowl covers instead.
Mind Your Own Beeswax
If you want to wrap food up – for example, a hunk of cheese – then beeswax wraps are pretty amazing eco-friendly alternatives to cling film. These mould around food with just the heat of your hands and are washable. You can make your own in minutes using beeswax pellets and fabric scraps with this handy beeswax wrap DIY. If you’re time poor you can buy them online* instead. A word of advice – don’t use them on hot food or on meat. Instead, pop the hot food or meat in a bowl and use the wrap to cover the bowl.
Bag It Up
When I think of packed lunches I ate at school, I think of ham or cheese salad sandwich tightly wrapped up in clingfilm. These days I approach packed lunches a little differently. For eco-friendly alternatives to cling film I have a few Keep Leaf sandwich bags* that I pop sandwiches into, before placing them in a lunch bag.
I actually bought the Keep Leaf bags as easily portable snack pouches for my daughter. I’ve found I’ve got to have snacks to hand at all times. As such, I wanted to cut down on single-use plastic from toddler snacks. However, I find I use them for sandwiches a lot too when we’re out and about. You can either wipe down the inside, or hand wash or machine wash the sandwich bags ready for the next use.
For a no-cost alternative, I will also wrap sandwiches in a cotton napkin. Or, if I’m using a Tupperware tub or lunchbox I’ll pop the sandwich straight in – no covering required.
Hopefully, I’ve encouraged you to give these eco-friendly alternatives to cling film a go! Although I have a few things that I’ve bought, these aren’t essential. I hope the takeaway message here is that giving up cling film just means being creative with what you already own. And if you don’t use cling film, I wonder, have I missed any tricks?
I also have a ton of food waste tips right this way, if you are looking for more ideas to cut food waste!