When I was a kid, my hippie parents were into a lot of weird things. One of my least favorite was recycling our plastic Ziploc bags. After skiing all day, my brother and I would turn our snack bags inside out, shake out any crumbs, and rinse them clean. We even had a special drying rack in the kitchen.
Looking back now, I appreciate both frugality and the mindfulness of this abhorrent chore. Single-use plastic bags (and bottles, straws, cups, lids, and other containers for that matter) are wasteful—and unnecessary. According to the EPA’s most recent data, plastics comprised of 13 percent of the 258 million tons of solid waste generated by the United States in one year. That’s 33,540,000 tons of plastic waste. For reference, one ton equals 2,000 pounds.
Thankfully, there are more and more ways to eliminate single-use plastic from daily use. Maybe you live in a mountain town or city that has banned plastic shopping bags in favor of BYO reusable bags or you drive to go skiing with your own coffee mug.
At the end of last winter, I started packing my ski lunch in Bee’s Wrap (seriously, who can afford those $14 burgers). These soft and malleable organic cotton sheets are coated with beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin and are a washable, reusable (and eventually compostable) alternative to plastic wrap and plastic bags. Unlike like a lot of “granola-ternatives,” this product actually works and doesn’t change much about my routine. Even better, Bee’s Wrap was founded by a Vermonter in 2012 and the products are still made there today.
I’ve used the Bee’s Wraps on everything from a sandwich to crackers to cheese to bacon to an avocado and even to seal a bowl. If I need to create a tight seal, I just warm it up in my hands and the wrap softens, gets a little gummy, and sticks to itself better than most plastic wraps.
I also tested it on a raw onion for a week and after washing as directed—a little soap and cold water—couldn’t detect any onion odor. Whatever you do, just don’t put these wraps in the dishwasher or rinse with hot water. Once, I forgot about a few carrots I had wrapped up in a jacket pocket and they went totally blue and moldy but didn’t ruin my Bee’s Wrap. Everything gross washed right off and didn’t leave a stink.
In fact, Bee’s Wraps actually leave my hands and my kitchen smelling faintly of honey, which makes me feel like I’m a milkmaid living in the Swiss Alps waiting for it to snow. As for durability, I’ve used the same three wraps daily for five months and they haven’t deteriorated at all.
I started with the assorted set, which includes a small (7″x8″), medium (10″x11″), and large (13″x14″) wrap. Maybe I need to work on my portion sizes, but I use the small one least. It fits about a handful of Goldfish crackers. The medium size fits a decently hefty burrito.
Using a plastic alternative like Bees Wrap takes a minimal amount of adjustment, and while it alone won’t save the planet, it’s part of shifting our consciousness and our actions to more earth-friendly choices. These small steps matter—the total amount of waste going to landfills dropped from 145 million tons in 1990 to 136 million tons in 2014, according to the EPA—but we Americans are still generating a lot of waste. And waste generates greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn eliminates our powder days. As skiers, we can and should do better.
PHOTO: Emily Blistein/Jessica Anderson