The main reason we might want to start using beeswax food wraps is to reduce our use of disposable plastics. We can keep our food fresher for longer, support pollinators, and avoid tossing plastic by trying this versatile solution.
This is a product review post that I wrote based on free samples I received. I only recommend products that I have tried and found to be useful.
Food Wrap Arrival Stories
Beeswax food wraps are now available in many shops, and I will recommend some places to find them. But for some readers, that might not be feasible. Wouldn’t it be nice if we receive our plastic-free wraps without getting plastic in the mail? For each brand, I’ll give a score of 1-5 for how zero waste their packaging was. Here we go!
The first brand to send me a sample for review was Abeego, the original beeswax wrap product that launched in 2009 in British Columbia. Although they’re across the Canadian border, this brand is most local to me and deserves kudos as the original, brilliant wrap that has done so much for the zero waste community. I love the paper box that actually holds the wraps – I still have it in my drawer, as I can roll the wraps and but them back in their for storage, transport or safekeeping. However, I’ll have to deduct a point for their bubble wrap mailer and another for the sticker sheet packing list, so they get a 3/5 on this criterion. [edit: They assure me the plastic mailers are not the norm and will check in with their shipping folks about this. Maybe it was being reused?]. Of course, you can avoid these problems by buying in a store like Recology, which has locations all over the Puget Sound and sometimes mails coupons to their municipal garbage customers.
The second brand that came in the mail was Z-wraps, sent by a newer food wrap maker (since 2017) in my home state of Massachusetts. Their package was much smaller – a compostable paper envelope and eco-plastic sleeve. I’m not sure where I stand with the eco-plastic. Not my fave, but since their beautiful patterns are so important to their product, I see why they do it. They get a 4/5. The Z-wraps website has a handy store locator, where you can search for gift shops that sell them. Find these wraps around metro Boston and at Culinary Essentials in Ballard (Seattle), as well as a Thriftway in Tacoma.
Superbee, the last brand to arrive, took a while because it was coming from Thailand. I don’t really recommend ordering such a small item from overseas, but they do get a 5/5 for packaging: all rough, natural paperboard, and it looked like the shipping envelope had been opened and re-sealed, so maybe it was re-used? So cute, too — they wrote a note to me on a piece of cardstock that definitely looked like a DIY notecard. Maybe Z-wraps could adapt their idea of showing their cute patterns through small honeycomb cutouts in the paperboard envelope?
I chose this brand because they have a social mission as well as a zero waste one: creating jobs in Thailand’s rural north. Find them in stores in Europe, Australia, Korea and Southeast Asia (check out their store locator).
This brand bribed me the most (two bamboo straws and a super cute carry case, too?!), but I will try not to let that influence my review of their products. Trying so hard…
Food Wrap Appearances & Stickiness
If your Instagram palette is a minimalist white with highlights of bamboo and charcoal, than Abeego is the way to go. Its understated, natural look will spark joy in the most minimal of minimalists’ heart. It also seems to be the least sticky wrap so far, but this was only an issue the first time I used it, when I tried to cover a large, wooden salad bowl. If I had chosen a smaller bowl, the wrap would’ve had more chance of sticking to itself. It covered my rice cooker insert without issue. And for those who prefer that their veggies not to get sticky while in storage, this could be a real benefit.
I know I flunked drool-worthy blog photo class — forgive me! This is an honest picture of what an Abeego wrap will look like in your kitchen after you’ve been using it for a week or two. Wrinkles do start to show, but that’s ok! As you can see, it’s sticking to itself here and does a fine job.
Here is a slightly prettier picture of Abeego wrapping a cucumber. You can see it’s not totally sticking to itself everywhere, but it’s keeping the cuke covered.
The Z-wrap is celebration of saturated color, of sticky beeswax texture, and of fruity art of the most loving kind. This was the stickiest wrap I received. It required the least “heat of my hands,” which is good because I usually have pretty cool fingers. My fingers got a bit sticky using it, and my cucumbers & celery came out of their Z-wrappers feeling a bit sticky, too. But I just rinsed them with warm water and it was not at all noticeable when eating.
SuperBee‘s colorful patterns brought the energy of their native Thailand across the ocean with them. They were of medium stickiness, but the texture of the cloth felt a bit rougher, which seems to help it stick to itself. The zigzag edge is an interesting feature, too. Maybe helpful for clinginess.
Food Preservation Performance
To aid you in learning about beeswax food wraps, I did a few experiments on purpose and a few by accident… Here is what I learned.
These food wraps are better than plastic or cloth bags in the crisper drawer. Today I cleaned out that drawer of my fridge. I had pretty fresh celery in a cloth produce bag that had gone somewhat limp and was starting to dry out. Last week I had my celery in the Z-wrap and it stayed crisp enough to eat. I didn’t have to soak it in cold water to revive it.
I also found carrots and scallions in a plastic bag. Those scallions had definitely started to go slimy and I had to remove several layers. Last week when my scallions were in the Abeego wrap, I used the whole bunch, one at a time for miso soup each morning, without having to peel or deal with rotting layers. I guess I did trim them a bit before storing so they’d be small enough for the wrap, but I doubt that would have helped in the plastic bag setting. One scallion had fallen out and was in the bottom of the crisper drawer uncovered — it was totally dried out. Wax food wrap wins!
Finally, I found a mystery package at the very bottom of the crisper: a large packet neatly wrapped in the Z-wrap. What could it be? It was a bunch of asparagus, a finicky vegetable in my experience. I can’t remember when I bought it (less than a week ago, though), but it was fine! Just a few of the tips had started to go soft, but the stems were not dried out, and there was no slime.
A more extreme case of such embarrassing neglect was the 1/4 cucumber that somehow got put away in the deli drawer. We forgot about it for a month. I happen to know this because I took the picture above when I wrapped it, and my phone sorts pictures by date. I’m frankly really impressed that this thing was not gross. It had some moldy spots that stuck to the wrap and was definitely not good for eating, but there was no mess. The Abeego wrap was easy to wash off with my scrubber. I used a bit of soapy water, draped it over some plates to dry, and I am ready to use it again. So wax wraps cope great with rotting food. Not that you ever let food rot, right? I’m definitely the only one who does that.
In a head-to-head comparison against a pyrex bowl, the wax food wraps did just as well. Pyrex is nice because it’s see-through, but it takes a lot of shelf space. These wraps roll up into small, thin bundles that I keep next to my cutting boards, and there are no lids to keep track of. I can fit more veggies separately wrapped in these than in glass, so I do find them quite useful.
Whichever of these brands sparks joy for you and is easy to find, go for it! I have heard cautionary tales about the stiffness of Trader Joe’s brand (they never replied to my request for a sample), but I can heartily recommend the ones I tried: Abeego, Z-wraps, and Superbee. Using them will give you a sense of what a successful formula feels like, and then if you want, you’ll be able to try making your own with beeswax and tree resin someday soon. Please leave your insightful comments below, and happy wrapping!