What a better time to get make handmade DIY beeswax wraps then plastic free July!
Bees wax wraps are amazing creation. Basically they are a beeswax infused cloth that provides a water resistant coating, this helps keep food fresh while still letting it breathe. These wonderful simple wraps help reduce the need for cling wrap or film and aluminium foil reducing our chemical exposure and the amount of waste we produce.
However so many bees wax wrap on the market are made from cheap non-organic material that have been coloured with chemical filled dye's, as well as the actually wax containing pine or gum resin.
The pine or gum resin ingredient is used to create the tackiness that you will find with the store bought wraps that gives them the similarity to cling wrap. However when it comes to DIY Pine or Gum resin is not a readily available ingredient and as it is used in carpentry etc. if you do find it you need to confirm that is a food grade product.
On top of the un-accessible nature of this ingredient is also has its own list of possible dangers and health concerns.
Pine resin or sap may cause people severe reactions such as ....
not recommended for use in pregnant or lactating women
not recommended for use on children under 6 years of age
avoid with people who suffer bronchial Asthma
investigations show that ingested in large quantities may cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and stomach, and produce gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea and vomiting
repeated or prolonged skin contact with the solid state can cause contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction. It can also cause eczema
HUGE TOXIC health hazard for pets, especially cats.
Another controversial issue is the fact that Turpentine oil is extracted from Pine and argued that traces may be found in the sap or resin. Turpentine is a highly toxic oil that is used for its soothing properties in vapour & muscle rubs and should NOT be taken internally.
You might think the type of material used is not really important as it is protected by the beeswax mixture however if looking after the environment and reducing chemicals is your thing then their is a few things to consider.
Choose a natureal dyed fabric!! Synthetic Dyes can contain a nasty cocktail including....
Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEOs, Alkyphenols, Alkylphenyls) APEOs have been linked to reproductive health issues this chemical is slow to biodegrade and they tend to bioaccumulate; become concentrated in the body of living things. They also biomagnify; they move up the food chain and ultimately to us. Although APEOs are not carcinogenic themselves, when they degrade, their byproducts have a higher toxicity and estrogenic activity.
Azo dyes which are considered to be hazardous, and have been classified as human carcinogens
Toxic Heavy Metals Heavy metals such as chrome, copper, and zinc are known carcinogens, yet are widely used in the production of synthetic dyes.
Dioxin may cause cancer of the liver and lung, and interferes with the immune system. Dioxin is mainly found as a result of the pesticides used in the growth of cotton and is known as one of the strongest man-produced poisons.
Formaldehyde known as a human carcinogen may cause damage to the nervous system by its known ability to react with and form cross-linking with proteins, DNA and unsaturated fatty acids.
On top of the chemical risk these ingredients pose to our health as you can see they also have an environmental risk as well. One day this wrap might end up needing to be thrown out! If you do have to dispose of your wrap wouldn't you rather be able have a non-toxic product break down?
Choose a Bio-degradable organic natural fabric ...
The choice as to which fabric you use very much depends on YOUR beliefs and priorities. Environmental impact on the production of organic materials is often an issue for many people.
Organic Cotton although free from pesticides and fertilisers is a very thirsty plant with around 256.6 gallons of water required to grow enough to make a single t-shirt.
Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant in the world. Requiring no chemical fertilizers or pesticides and needs four times less water than cotton.
Hemp is more resistant than cotton. Hemp is one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics currently available. The plant is very naturally resistant to pests and growth and does not require the use of any insecticide or pesticide to grow and requires little water. As a fabric Hemp is also naturally resistant to mold.
So to create the healthiest & most environmentally friendly wrap I have created this DIY beeswax wrap recipe.
What YOU need:-
15cm x 15cm organic hemp fabric - you can use any size piece of material required
4-6 grams of grated Bees wax
1/4 teaspoon organic Coconut oil - Anti bacterial properties (you can use carrier oil of choice)
Pre-heat oven to 100°C.
Lay the fabric flat on baking tray. If you are using a large piece of fabric you can fold it in half as the beeswax will soak through.
Spread your beeswax evenly over the fabric (see picture below)
Place tray in the oven and watch until semi-melted **Do not leave wrap in oven unattended**
Once beeswax is semi-melted, add coconut oil and using your basting brush spread evenly over material.
Place tray back in oven and watch until left over wax has melted.
Once completely melted, remove tray and allow wrap to cool slightly. This should take approx a few seconds.
Carefully pick up the wrap and hold vertically and allow any excess wax to drip off.
Once excess wax ceases dripping, hang wrap to cool. (this can be done over coat hanger, dish rack etc.)
Once cool, scrunch & rub the wrap in your hands, you will notice the wrap will start feeling slightly sticky. Remember without the inclusion of pine resin it will not be sticky like some store bought wraps.
If you find the coating becomes flaky you can re-melt and again allow excess drip off alternatively you can place wrap between baking paper, cover with an old tea towel and lightly iron
DIY Bees wax wraps can be used to wrap, vegetables, bread, fruit, fresh herbs, and baked goods. DIY Bees wax wraps are not recommended for use with raw meat.
Use the warmth of your hands to wrap your bees wax wraps around food or bowl etc. Once cools — within seconds — it holds its seal
Avoid sources of heat, such as hot water and microwaves
Wash your DIY Bees wax wraps in cool water with a mild dish soap, air dry, fold and store
What YOU can is enough
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***These statements have not been evaluated by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and The Clean Living Clinics product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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