Cling film. It frequently features on most of our shopping lists, doesn't it? But, Hannah Woolven has some suggestions on how we can ultimately ditch these rolls of plastic...
OK. Cling wrap. Most of us have, in some drawer in our kitchen, a roll of plastic cling wrap. This stuff throws up a whole lot of questions:
- Can it be recycled?
- Is it biodegradable?
- Is it reeeaaaaally safe to use plastic on my food?
Let's take a look at the options:
The thing to note is - most cling wrap is actually recyclable, but NOT through your blue bin. It is usually contaminated with food waste, and apparently it clogs up the recycling machines. So DON'T put it in there.
However, you can recycle most cling wrap at your local recycling depot. So, one option might be to check the box of your plastic cling wrap, ensure that it can be recycled, clean it, store it along with any other plastics that need to be taken to the recycling depot direct and then plan in a regular trip to your local recycling centre.
However, recycling still takes up a great deal of energy and resources, and plastic cling wrap is designed for single use so this is not the most efficient approach in terms of waste of resources.
SWAP TO BIODEGRADABLE PRODUCT
Your second option might be to switch to a biodegradable product, such as Bacofoil's 100% biodegradable cling film:
This apparently only takes 2 years to break down, rather than the several decades of ordinary cling wrap.
However, according to http://www.futurenergia.org/ "biodegradable plastics require specific conditions to biodegrade properly (micro-organisms, temperature, and humidity), and if not managed properly they may be worse for the environment than conventional plastics. When biodegradable plastics are put into landfill (which should always be avoided in any case) they produce harmful greenhouse gases when breaking down."
IS PLASTIC CLING WRAP SAFE?
According to http://www.breastcanceruk.org.uk/ :
"Fortunately, UK PVC cling film is no longer made using phthalates, but research shows that the chemicals used instead, di-2-ethylhexyl adipate (DEHA) and acetyltributyl citrate (ATBC) are just as likely to leach into food contents. Scientific data suggests that whilst there is "limited evidence of carcinogenicity in animals" both DEHA and ATBC have been linked to skin and eye irritations and DEHA is classified as an endocrine disrupting chemical. So it makes sense to try and avoid plastic packaging wherever possible to ensure your child doesn't get a dose of toxic chemicals along with their sandwiches and snacks at lunch time. "
CREATE - OR BUY - YOUR OWN DELIGHTFUL HOMESPUN ALTERNATIVE
To avoid all these issues, you may decide, as I did, that you would rather ditch plastic wrap altogether. Read my upcoming blog post "How to make vegan reusable fabric food wrap" http://justadropintheoceanc.ipage.com/2017/11/20/how-to-make-vega…fabric-food-wrap/ to find out how to make your own, or take a look at online craft shops like Etsy to find some that someone else has made for you.
Hannah Woolven is a frequent contributor to Country Child magazine. She is a keen blogger, avid gardener and busy mum of two young children.