What alternatives are there to cling film?
Cling film has proven its worth for wrapping or covering food over a long period of time. A sandwich for on the go stays fresh in it, sliced sausages, cheese or vegetables that are stored in the fridge are protected by the thin film from drying out. But what about their environmental compatibility? What is the film actually made of? Is it biodegradable or, as a disposable product, is it harmful to the cycle of nature?
What is the impact of cling film on the environment?
Cling film is made of polyethylene, which is mostly made from petroleum and partly from bioethanol. However, the films made from bioethanol-based polyethylene are not completely biodegradable either. Unrecycled plastic foils that are carelessly thrown away often end up on green spaces or in forests, in water bodies and ultimately in the seas. The proportion of non-degradable parts of the plastic, i.e. the microplastics in the oceans, continues to increase in this way with the known drastic consequences for the sea dwellers.
Microplastics also pose a threat to humans. Although it has not yet been conclusively researched to what extent microplastics ingested in various ways, including through the food chain, cause damage to human health, it cannot be assumed without further ado that they are harmless to health.
Is cling film food safe?
A material used for packaging or preserving food is considered food safe if it is non-toxic and does not alter the taste or smell of food once it comes into contact with it. In particular, the materials must not emit any harmful substances that endanger human health. Cling film is classified as food safe based on these criteria and is therefore marked "For food contact" or the knife and fork symbol.
✨ Made of high-quality stainless steel
♻️ Sustainable alternative to cling film or disposable packaging
🍴 Suitable for cold and warm dishes
💯 100% dishwasher safe, rustproof and leakproof
👍 Doesn't absorb odors or discoloration
Which cling film alternatives are there?
There are already numerous cling film alternatives for sustainable food packaging. Some have been known in households for a long time and have only been forgotten through the use of the practical foils, other alternatives have just come onto the market. In the following sections you can read which alternative methods are well suited for keeping food fresh.
Storage in reusable containers
In the refrigerator, you can easily store food that you want to protect from drying out or loss of flavor in reusable containers that can be closed with a lid. These do not necessarily have to be made of plastic. Porcelain or clay vessels or containers made of stainless steel are also well suited. Food of all kinds also stays fresh in the reusable containers and they are easy to clean after each use. A very simple way to keep food from losing liquid is to place an upturned plate or bowl over it.
Revival of the well-tried bread box
The classic reusable bread box is a good alternative to plastic film. With increasing awareness of nature conservation and the importance of avoiding waste, its use is becoming increasingly important again. You can easily pack sandwiches or fruit and vegetables in the bread box. Some lunch boxes are practically divided into compartments so that different foods can be transported separately. The practical boxes are available in many different colors. Children are particularly happy when they get their snacks for kindergarten or lunch packed in boxes with child-friendly motifs.
Compostable cling film
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have succeeded in developing a cling film alternative that is even compostable. The film consists of shells from crustaceans that are used in food production and plant fibers. The chitin from the crustacean shells is very suitable for preserving food. Chitin and cellulose dissolved in water are sprayed onto a fully biodegradable thin film of lactic acid plastic. This creates a film that is hardly permeable to oxygen and keeps food fresh for a long time.
Beeswax cloths for wrapping food
A new trend in food protection is reusable wipes containing beeswax. Bees' wax naturally has antibacterial properties that are useful when storing food. Food can be easily wrapped in the cloths made of cotton fabric coated with beeswax. You simply warm the cloth in your hands until it becomes supple and malleable and use it to wrap a loaf of bread for on the go. The beeswax wraps are also very suitable for covering food that has been sliced and as lids for bowls. To freeze food, you can wrap it in beeswax wrap. After use, wash the wipes with cold or at most lukewarm water and a mild detergent. Warm or hot water must not be used for this, otherwise the wax will become too soft. The wipes can be reused several times and last up to two years.
Cover hoods and silicone lids
Cover hoods and silicone lids are very suitable for sealing bowls whose contents should remain fresh. The hoods are made of plastic or sewn from colorful fabrics. They are equipped with an elastic waistband, so that they adapt perfectly to any bowl size. The fabric covers look particularly pretty with their different colors and motifs. Flexible silicone lids, available in a variety of colors and designs, are also adjustable in size to fit the bowl's circumference. After use, both the cover hoods and the silicone lid can be wiped off or machine washed and can therefore be used as often as you like.
Alternatives to heat-resistant cling film
For the preparation of food in modern cooking appliances, a heat-resistant foil is often recommended, which keeps the dish nice and juicy. Baking paper can be used as an alternative for this heat-resistant cling film. However, this is also not a suitable solution because it is also a disposable item and usually contains plastics in the coating. It is better, as far as possible, to cover the food with a plate or lid or to use conventional methods of preparation on the stove or in the oven.
Is cling film environmentally friendly?
With regard to environmental protection, the film is questionable. It is made of plastic that is not fully biodegradable. It is therefore better to use alternatives for packaging and keeping food fresh. What is important to protect food from drying out or spoiling?
The food should be exposed to as little oxygen as possible. Keep the oxygen out with a cover or outer packaging. This does not have to be made of plastic, but can also be made of natural materials, porcelain, clay, glass or stainless steel. Can you cover food in the fridge with plates or store it in reusable containers with lids?
Yes, both ways are a good way to protect food from drying out without plastic wrap. What are beeswax wraps and how do I use them properly?
Beeswax wraps are cotton cloths coated with beeswax that can be used to wrap food or cover bowls. They keep food fresh and are washable with cold water and dish soap. Is there compostable film to keep food fresh?
Yes, a foil was developed that consists of lactic acid plastic, chitin and cellulose. This is completely biodegradable through composting.
Sources https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyethylene http://natureplast.eu/en/definition-of-bioplastics/end-of-life-of-bioplastics/ https://www.lundkvist.de/living/7-tipps-um-unseren-planeten-zu-schonen/ https://www.aok.de/bw-gesundnah/nachhaltigkeit-und-umwelt/mikroplastik-wie-schaedlich-ist-es https://ptm-mechatronics.com/themes-2/basic-guide/food-safe/ https://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/forscher-ent develop-compostable-plastic-film-a-1219931.html https://utopia.de/ratgeber/bienenwachstuecher-better-than-fresh-film/ https://www.atrada.de/kuechenhelfer/silikondeckel/https://www.toppits.de/de/abdeckhauben-213.html