We’re always being told that plastic is bad for us and the environment. The chemicals contained in them can leach onto our food and also damage our environment. I’ve always been conscious of our impact on the environment as human beings and it annoys me a lot when I see people who don’t care about our planet and who feel entitled to litter, damage, and waste as they please, not really thinking of the consequences.
Now I don’t pretend to be the Earth’s saviour, I do also have my faults in this, but I will try as much as is feasible to reduce my impact. Some people feel that their contribution wouldn’t have much of an impact but everyone’s contribution, no matter how small, will ultimately help the environment. I could go on all day about all the things we could be doing but…..
I came across this idea only last year at a design event. But looking online it seems it has been around for ages and has been around everywhere. But once again, the response I get from people is one of surprise and disbelief. Plastic food wrap is the norm but why should it be?
There are several people who have started making them and selling them from their own homes because of this realisation. Essentially they are all very similar in composition. I chose this one especially because it is made locally in Devon, in the UK using locally sourced organic and natural materials.
I mainly use clingfilm for storing food by covering bowls, wrapping up cut pieces of vegetables or cheese, wrapping up snacks to go and wrapping up bread. Some types of clingfilm are good at this because it sticks to itself, but others are not so good at this. I’m not sure why some are good and some are bad at being clingy but that’s another issue altogether.
The sticky ones are great at sticking together but this itself can pose a problem trying to unroll it and then cut it without ending up with a ball of plastic. This also makes it difficult to find the start of the roll.
Plastic food wrap is commonly made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), LDPE (low density polyelthylene) or PVdC (polyvinylidene chloride). All of these are obviously man-made materials and there are some concerns that the chemicals in these plastics can transfer onto the food we eat. I’m not sure how much of it would be transferred but it’s reason enough for me to stop using it at home. Of course, a lot of the food we buy in supermarkets is already wrapped in plastic and who knows how much of that leaches into the food. We don’t need cucumbers individually wrapped in plastic! Another good reason to buy from your local farmer’s market!
After I received my Buzzcloths in the post, I began to use them straight away. They feel very stiff at first but all you need to do to mould or scrunch them around the food you want to keep and it will hold its shape.
They are easy to clean using soap and cold water. Because of the potential for the wax to melt, you need to keep them away from hot surfaces and hot water. The oils in the cloths provide inherent antibacterial properties.
I’ve had one unfortunate incident occur when I rested a (cold) saucepan lid onto a folded Buzzcloth. I hadn’t realised when I lifted the lid up to put it on the saucepan, that it had stuck to the inside of the lid. When I came back to stir my curry, I didn’t recognise the square-shaped thing floating in my pot. It was only after I lifted it out that I realised it was my Buzzcloth! Needless to say, it was ruined despite my attempts under hot water to redistribute the wax over the cloth. The stickiness was still working but only in patches. I could probably salvage it by cutting it into a smaller piece where the wax is still evenly distributed.
After all that my curry was still edible! YAY! I was extremely excited by this. As the weather is getting colder I had a craving for it and it took me a while to make (it was actually going to be the base for a noodle Laksa, with tofu and fried onions and beansprouts….Mmmmm). Anyway….the organic cloth, wax, oil and resin are all non-toxic and it didn’t add any extra flavour to my curry, thankfully!
The cloths are covered in beeswax, plant resins and oils so they do have a smell but the smell doesn’t seem to transfer onto food. But you can have some transfer from food onto the cloth itself. Strong smelling foods like cheese and onion shouldn’t have direct contact with the cloths. The same goes for raw meat. Also acidic foods such as pineapples and lemons shouldn’t have direct contact either. Place them in a bowl first and then use the cloth to cover the bowl.
It has so far worked well for avocado, cucumbers and other vegetables, bread, cheese, sandwiches, cookies and other snacks and also for covering bowls. The freshness has been kept without causing the food to sweat and go soggy or dry out.
Once I started to use the Buzzcloths, they started to show all the fold lines after scrunching them up around food and bowls. This doesn’t seem to affect the cloth at all, at least not straight away. Their lifespan is estimated at up to 12 months depending on how often you use them.
Once they have reached the end of their effectiveness, you can cut them up and throw them away in the compost because they are completely biodegradable.
Buzzcloth supplies them in 3 sizes and they come just in the natural cloth colour. I have found many others online such as Abeego (CAN), Bee’s Wrap (USA), Bee Eco (AUS), Gingham and Wax (AUS), Honey Wrap (NZ) and NIL (NZ) and not to forget Etsy. Some of them also use organic cotton and have patterned fabrics which look lovely but Buzzcloth was the only one I could find in the UK. I would love to see more patterns and colours but my guess is that it would be more difficult to source organic cotton fabric with these colours.
I have also found online DIY instructions for making them at home however the reviews have been mixed because of the unevenness of the wax and lack of other ingredients like resins to keep the cloth malleable. It has been easier for me to use a local brand who uses local ingredients.
Remember, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!