After some of the posts I’ve done on green ideas I received a question about options for green plastic wrap. And since plastic wrap is on my shopping list, I thought it was the perfect time to do a little investigating. Here’s what I found.
First, the most green-wise option for plastic wrap is not to use it. Period. Most types of plastic wrap include trace amounts of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Just because there are only trace amounts doesn’t mean it’s OK—PVC can be incredibly toxic and is dangerous even in small doses. Plus, plastic wraps often include softening chemicals called phthalates too, which can leach into your food and may cause a slew of health problems as well.
I’m not a scientist or a doctor and I’m not going to play one here—more educated people than me are better qualified to discuss the hotly debated problems with plastics. But I encourage you to do research on the potentially harmful effects of storing food in plastic. (Here’s a great place to start.) And consider the environment too—petroleum-based products like plastic are bad for the environment on a number of levels, especially when they’re disposable ones intended to be used once and then tossed in the garbage.
At home, store your food in reusable (preferably glass) containers with lids rather than covering them in plastic wrap. Or wrap sandwiches in wax paper and cover leftovers in aluminum foil instead. Aluminum foil is an especially friendly option because it can be recycled in many places and is even sold in 100% recycled form.
In the off chance you’ve decided you can’t live without plastic wrap (or you run a catering business and it’s an evil but necessary item), there are some safer, more environmentally friendly options out there.
In fact, a number of sources I rely on for green info say that some of the plastic wraps found on grocery store shelves are actually PVC-free, including Glad Cling Wrap and Saran Wrap.
But if you want to go a step beyond PVC-free plastics, look for wraps that are non-petroleum-based and free of plasticizers, chlorine, and carcinogens too. Plastics labeled recyclable or biodegradable (some are called biodegradable film) are even better. Learn more about the safety of green plastics (options include corn-based plastics, starch-based plastics, and BioFilm) here.
A few options I found:
• Natural Value clear plastic wrap, which is certified Kosher (bonus!) and contains no plasticizers or PVCs. (Plus the core and boxes are made from recycled paper.) Buy it.
• Diamant Food Wrap, a plasticizer-free stretch food film that is recyclable and certified by the Environmental Choice Program. You can purchase 2,000-foot rolls of it online.
• BioWrap, a three-layer, co-extruded polyethylene film that is recyclable and biodegradable. (This is a UK-based website, so keep that in mind should you choose to order.)
KNOW-IT-ALL NOTE: I have not personally tried any of the products listed above or investigated the validity of their claims beyond some basic web research, so please use your sensible consumer know-how in determining which product to purchase.
Now go enjoy those PVC-free leftovers!
The Home Know-It-All