Cling wrap is unsustainable because it’s a single-use item made out plastic – a petrochemical material that isn’t always recyclable because of food contamination. It’s also fiddly when it works, and useless when it doesn’t. Don’t even get me started about how frustrating it is to finish the end of the roll!
However, cling wrap is a good invention because it can stick on itself and other surfaces to keep food really airtight. Air is bad for most food, especially fresh fruit and veg because it leads to oxidation, aka rotting. So reviewing the utility of a cling wrap alternative, establishing if it can keep the food airtight is important.
Different uses, different winners
As you can read in each product review below, each product has its pros and cons. In my experience, a combination of a few of them works the best.
This is the cling wrap alternatives I recommend for different uses:
- TO COVER BOWLS – A silicone suction lid, bowl covers, or the Agreena wrap.
- TO WRAP FOOD FOR THE FRIDGE – The Agreena wrap, beeswax wrap, or soaking it in water.
- TO WRAP FOOD FOR LUNCHES – In resealable silicone bags, beeswax wraps, or the Agreena wrap.
- TO FREEZE – Agreena wrap or resealable silicone bags.
1. Silicone suction lids
- USAGE – To cover food or drinks in bowls, cups, glasses, pans or pots.
- PROS – Heavyweight models work really well to keep the food airtight, or to keep hot. Easy to clean and use.
- CONS – Cheap light-weight models aren’t as airtight. Made of plastic.
- PRO TIP – Look for heavyweight ones that will create a real vacuum that will keep the food airtight and fresh. Also buy one size bigger than you think you need.
My big one is from the brand Lilypad which I was lucky enough to find at an op shop! They also sell them at Biome in different sizes. I use this cling wrap alternative all the time to cover my baking bowl, to cover bowls of legumes soaking overnight, or to keep a pie hot temporarily.
I use the smaller ones to cover my wine leftovers (to cook with the day after), small cups, and glasses of sauce and dressings that didn’t get finished or opened cans.
2. Silicone stretch lids/food huggers
Terminology info: food huggers (pictured) are usually made out of a thinner material with no handles. Whereas silicone stretch lids are thicker with handles and often leak-proof.
- USAGE – To cover food, bowls, and other containers.
- PROS – Really airtight. Easy to use if the model has handles (see recommendations below). Some models are even leak proof. Easy to clean.
- CONS – Can be fiddly if there are no handles (like on my Kmart models). Made of plastic.
I use my food huggers mostly to cover bowls and cut fruit and veg such as lemon or cucumber.
3. Agreena 3-in-1 wrap
- USAGE – To wrap food like fruit and veg or even lunches. Works to cover bowls as well. Clings to itself perfectly which makes it easy to make food wrapped airtight. Can also replace baking paper
- PROS – Works REALLY well. Reusable for many years (and Agreena takes returns to recycle them properly and offer new ones at a reduced price).
- CONS – It’s a bit over-clingy the 5-8 times you wash it, but it’s perfect after that. Made of plastic.
This Agreena 3 in 1 wrap is amazing! It does every job cling wrap can do, if not better because it’s the perfect amount of clingy. And it also doubles as aluminum foil and baking paper. And I even use it to freeze my homemade puff pastry sheets.
They are so good I bought some for my mum and brother in France for Christmas. They love it!
4. Beeswax wrap or vegan wraps
- USAGE – Can wrap food and be used as a bowl cover.
- PROS – A non-plastic option. The wrap can adapt to uncommon shapes. Easy to fold and wrap food (such as sandwiches). Can be homemade.
- CONS – Wear out (but can be refreshed with a new coating of beeswax).
Beeswax wraps aren’t my favorite because they are less airtight than the other options. That said I still use them for food that I won’t keep for too long (a half cucumber for example) or when my other cling wrap alternatives are in use.
They’re also one out of two only non-plastic options if you’re going plastic-free. And in case you didn’t know, there exist candelilla wraps and soy wax wraps for vegans.
5. Resealable silicone bags
- USAGE – To package food.
- PROS – Easy to use and clean. Most models are leak-proof. Space-saver for freezing in a small freezer.
- CONS – Made of plastic.
I’m so happy with this product! My only regret is to not have bought a bigger model. I use it mostly to transport snacks such as cut fruit and nuts.
6. Food bowl covers
- USAGE – To cover bowls.
- PROS – Easy to use and clean. Minimal plastic (just the elastic band). They can be made homemade with repurposed fabric.
- CONS – If they’re not a wax-coated model, they’re not as airtight.
I love my food bowl covers – they’re homemade and super cute! However, I must admit that since buying my silicone suction lid, I don’t use them that much anymore. They can’t compete in terms of airtightness.
However, some models (like this one) are covered in wax, hence more airtight.
Other common sense alternatives
Here are some free alternatives you already have at home.
- WET TOWEL – Great trick to cover baking bowls. The fact that the towel is wet will make it more airtight (as the fabric fibers will expand) and keep your dough humid (great to avoid crusting).
- CONTAINERS – Obvious, but I had to mention it.
- PLATE – The good ole’ plate will work for short term solutions. It won’t do a good job of keeping the food airtight through.
- SOAKING IN WATER – rather than covering half an ago, or cut veggies, soaking them in water will keep the food fresh and juicy!
I hope you found something to your liking!