Plastic wraps are kitchen staples that are convenient, easy to use, and great for storing food and saving leftovers. Yet, with all the good reasons we use plastic wrap, there are also major downsides.
With over 300 million tons of plastics produced every year, we know that plastics have damaging effects on our environment. Plastics release harmful chemicals that can poison sea animals, threaten human health, and largely contribute to climate change.
You can help reduce your contribution to plastic waste by simply switching from conventional plastic wrap to other eco-friendly plastic wrap alternatives.
And whereas a little plastic wrap may seem inconsequential, it’s hard to recycle due to its lightweight nature that prevents correct sorting in the mechanical machines most facilities use. And every little saved all adds up.
We have curated a list of some of the best alternatives to plastic wrap that you can choose from. From reusable bags, glass jars, and other plastic-free options. These plastic wrap alternatives can also help you save money while protecting the planet.
Plastic wrap (also known as cling wrap or saran wrap) is a single-use plastic made with low-density polyethylene. Most homes likely have a roll in their kitchen drawers (at least before switching to plastic wrap alternatives), and it’s best known for covering and keeping leftover food fresh. However, this comes at a harmful price for our environment.
We know that plastics do not break down but instead break up into microplastics. Studies reveal that in 2015, out of 6.9 billion metric tons of plastic waste, only 9% have been recycled. 12% end up incinerated, and a massive 79% find their way into landfills contributing to climate change.
Read more: Plastic pollution facts and statistics.
Manufacturers make single-use plastics from low-density polyethylene, making them hard to recycle. Most recycling centers do not accept them because these types of plastics can clog sorting machines. These plastics then end up in landfills and can take hundreds of years to break up.
Also, manufacturers make plastic wraps using chemicals like polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These chemicals make plastics flexible and soft. However, these chemicals could contribute to health problems like cancers and infertility if they penetrate foods1.
With these concerns, it is easy to see why we need to consider eco-friendly plastic wrap alternatives for a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
You can say goodbye to your plastic cling wrap with these eco-friendly alternatives. Here’s a list of our top choices for eco-friendly alternatives to plastic wrap:
Below, we will examine each plastic wrap substitute, paying attention to its material, weight, color, and why we recommend each of these plastic wrap alternatives.
Related: You might also like to check out our recommendations of alternatives to Ziploc bags for more food storage ideas without plastic waste.
Material: Beeswax, GOTS certified organic cotton, organic jojoba oil, tree resin
Weight: 0.12 pounds
Colour: Honeycomb print
Beeswax wraps are a natural alternative to plastic wraps and work great as a more natural food cover. They work similarly to soft plastic wraps but are biodegradable. From wrapping your snacks to lining them in glass containers, these beeswax wraps are versatile. You’ll love the fact that you also wash, fold and reuse them repeatedly.
The beeswax food wraps we’ve featured by Bee’s Wrap are a natural blend of sustainably harvested beeswax, organic cotton muslin, jojoba oil, and tree resin. You can easily wrap your leftovers or wrap dry foods like bread and other snacks when going for a picnic.
They hold their shape when cool, and you can wash them with cold water and dish soap. These wraps are soft, so you want to make sure you avoid exposing them to any form of heat. They are also naturally antibacterial.
Tip: A rubber band works perfectly to hold these in place.
Bee’s wraps make their natural beeswax wrap range with the highest social and environmental standards. To further exemplify their commitment to good business, they’re a certified B corporation. Its materials come from sustainable beehives, certified organic cotton, and responsibly sourced jojoba oil and tree resin.
Material: Borosilicate glass, removable silicone loop
Weight: 12.53 pounds
Food storage containers are a classic way to store and keep food fresh. They come in different sizes allowing you to store anything from small to large amounts of food.
This glass food container set from ROSOS comes in 24 pieces to meet all your food storage needs. They make these containers with strong borosilicate glass that is durable and doesn’t break easily. For utmost versatility, you’ll find ROSOS containers dishwasher, oven, microwave, and freezer safe, withstanding a temperature of -20℃ to 400℃. However, you want to make sure you remove the lids when putting them in ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers.
With these containers, you don’t have to worry about food leakages as these food containers have a leak-proof lid with a silicone loop and four side locking. They also preserve food and prevent odors. You can store anything from wet food to dry food on the go. You can reuse them repeatedly. All you need to do is wash and store them after use.
These glass containers are 100% leakproof and airtight. They are also BPA-free meaning they store your food fresh and free of any toxic chemicals. They are also easy to clean and go well in dishwashers, ovens, microwaves, and fridges.
Material: glass, steel
Pieces: 6 jars
Mason jars are a sustainable and convenient way to store food leftovers. They are also great alternatives to plastic wrap. These 32oz mason jars from Ball are transparent, making it easy to distinguish between food items in your kitchen.
Each jar comes with an enclosed lid to preserve food and prevent leakages. They are durable and made from high-quality, non-toxic materials, ensuring food-grade quality.
With these mason jars, your homemade food can stay fresh for months. You can also store them in your kitchen cabinets or use them as a decorative gift item. They are easy to clean, dishwasher safe and replace plastic wraps with looks and function for completely plastic-free storage.
They are made with high-quality, durable glass and come with a lead-free air-tight lid. They are BPA-free, and you can use them repeatedly.
Material: Soy wax, cotton
Colour: Designer prints
These vegan reusable food wraps are a must-have in your kitchen drawer. This vegan reusable food wrap consists of sustainable materials like organic cotton and non-GMO soy wax. Its texture is dense and tough, making it effective for covering bowls and wrapping food for storage. They are vegan-friendly and 100% cruelty-free.
Unlike plastic wrap or aluminum foil, you can easily wash and reuse these food wraps. They are also biodegradable, meaning they turn into soil nutrients when you dispose of them. They come in different sizes, from small to large making them perfect for keeping leftovers fresh no matter how much you might have on hand.
This reusable food wrap is 100% vegan and free of animal cruelty. Ecozied makes these food wraps using sustainable materials like cotton, coconut oil, tree resin, and non-GMO soy wax. Customers boast that these food wraps are of high quality and simply cover your bowls perfectly.
Weight: 9.9 ounces
Cloth bags are a great reusable option for storing food and leftovers. They are durable, lightweight bags that can hold out a good number of food items without wear and tear. These cloth bags come in degradable mesh polyester that is BPA-free, keeping your food 100% healthy and free of chemicals. It also has a drawstring for convenient opening and closing. You can wash these bags using a washing machine and use them repeatedly.
They are more eco-friendly than plastic wrap and BPA-free, keeping your food and leftovers fresh and healthy. They can store other items like cosmetics and accessories, making them durable and versatile.
Material: Laminated cotton, elastics
Colour: Blue designer prints
If you want to store food for a short period, reusable fabric bowl covers are the way to go as an eco-friendly substitute for plastic wrap. These reusable bowl covers from Anne Riggs Designs come in food-safe laminated cotton and stretchy edges that cover your bowl perfectly. They are great for storing food on the go and in refrigerators.
You can wipe off stains with a damp cloth or wash them using a washing machine. These bowl covers come in various designs, colors, and sizes. You can also get them as an eco-friendly gift for family and friends.
Ann Riggs makes these handmade bowl covers with laminated cotton that is food safe with the environment in mind, and you can use them again and again.
Tip: These bowl covers make the perfect accessory for proving bread or pizza dough to replace the plastic wrap you might have otherwise reached for.
Weight: 10.8 ounces
Colour: Multiple colors
Silicone lids and bowl covers are an affordable alternative to plastic wrap. These silicone lids are versatile, coming in different sizes that fit different pots, bowls, and containers. They are freezer safe, microwave and oven safe, and can withstand temperatures from - 40°F - 500℉.
You can easily clean them using a dishwasher and store them. These silicone lids come in various sizes and colors and are perfect for all your food storage needs.
They are 100% food-grade silicone, lead-free, BPA-free, Phthalate-free, PVC-free, non-toxic and safe for kitchen use.
Material: Cotton, ripstop nylon
Colour: Sharks blue
If you need to wrap your sandwich or a small snack to take to your office, then the sandwich wraps could come in handy. You can ditch the plastic wrap and go for these eco-friendly wraps.
Made with 100% cotton fabric on the outside and nylon on the inside, these sandwich wraps can keep your food fresh and healthy. It also comes with an adjustable hook and loop to fit any size of your sandwich. You can easily clean them using a washing machine, dry and then store them.
These food wraps are non-toxic, free of lead, PVC, phthalates, and BPA, making them completely food safe.
Silicone bags are self-sealing bags perfect for storing a wide range of foods, from fresh fruits and veggies to dry foods like baked foods. Crafted from durable silicone, these food bags are freezer safe, microwave, and oven safe. They do not stick to stored food and are impermeable. They are also transparent, allowing you to distinguish stored food easily. You can wash and use them regularly. ,
These silicone bags are 100% food-grade silicone, airtight, and odor-free. With these bags, you are sure to keep your meals healthy, save the planet and save money you would otherwise spend buying several plastic wraps.
Material: Parchment paper
Weight: 2.48 pounds
This parchment paper has got you covered for quick wraps of sandwiches, baked foods, and small snacks. These papers are non-toxic and environmentally friendly. They can fit into any container, including ovens, microwaves, and air fryers. They are thick, waterproof, and perfect for baking, freezing, and wrapping. They come pre-cut, so you don't need to measure and cut.
LOHOTEK makes its parchment paper from natural wood pulp, unbleached and free of toxic chemicals. These parchment papers also do not stick to the pan or container even under high temperatures.
Plastic wrap contributes to the damaging effects of plastics on our environment. By switching to more eco-friendly plastic wrap alternatives, you can store your food safely while saving the planet. With this article, you can figure out wrap alternatives that are just perfect for you.
Rustagi, N., Pradhan, S. K., & Singh, R. (2011). Public health impact of plastics: An overview. Indian journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 15(3), 100–103. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5278.93198
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.