As the sun steams through the curtains,
‘member som’thin’ kinda cool,
it’s time to get my kit on,
it’s da first day back at school.
I wolf down all my brekky,
scrub my teeth and brush my hair,
jump on my two wheeled pushy,
racin’ to the school house lair.
There’s a rumble in my tummy,
time to break and get some fuel,
aint no plastic in my lunchbox,
cos that’s just kinda cruel.
Instead I have my sangas,
all wrapped up in colours bright,
which helps me save the planet,
keep food fresh and sleep at night.
Knowing what to put in your children’s lunchbox can weigh heavily on a mothers mind. Throw in a few plastic centered facts – such as, based on current trends, estimates have us (by 2025) putting enough plastic in the ocean to cover 5% of the earth’s surface in cling film each year – and ones already backpack-sized guilty conscience can quickly shift into overload.
I first discovered beeswax wraps a couple of years ago while Christmas shopping for a dear friend who lives in my Riverina, highschool-hometown. Hedda, well known for her exceptional welcome platters with the works – a plethora of fruits, nuts, biscuits and cheeses – quickly put her gift to good use…encasing the only remaining sliver of cheese not devoured by my ravenous children in a sheath of re-useable and compostable waterproof cotton.
The following summer, ensuing a sizable injection of beeswax from my mums’ backyard apiary and some inspirational lessons from my eco-ceptionally talented Toy Library friend Terry, I was ready to pull those discarded, hole-ridden summer dresses out of retirement. A year later and our home-made, up-cycled wraps continue to enrapture my children’s school day…with a few additions to the consumer care list:
- Sponge bath the wraps using cool water only…unless you’re a fan of melting moments.
- Embrace the heat to revitalise. That is, put the wraps onto a tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven for 5 – 7 minutes at 100oC when you notice the wax starting to break away from the cotton.
- Lower the clinging standards. They aint like the traditional plastic film. They work best in warmer weather and the hold around your food item is more like a secure embrace than a stranglingly tight clasp.
Last Tuesday saw an extra loud buzz about the morning routine as K1 and K2 were kitted up, packaged off and pushed out the door for their first day of the school year. While the beeswax wraps swaddling their Bishop Bread sangas will make but a pin sized difference toward reducing the 275 million tonnes of plastic produced annually, I can atleast take comfort in knowing that I am part of a wider community of parents who are also passionate about sowing the biodegradable beads of change among our next generation of eco-warriors.
For anyone keen on joining the eco-swarm, then forage no further: a method for making your very own Beeswax Wraps.
A4 sized pieces of scrap or new cotton or linen fabric
Pinking shears (optional)
Beeswax (you can purchase this from most health food stores if you don’t happen to have a personal cache)
Baking tray (atleast as wide as an A4 sheet of paper)
Clothes horse (or other to hang the wraps to cool)
To get in on the hive of activity about making your own beeswax wraps, you’re gonna have to accept that things will get a little messy. I recommend purchasing (or rescuing from your local tip or charity shop) a tray that you use only for making beeswax wraps…you are never gonna get the stuff off.
Before you begin waxing, neaten the edges of the fabric using pinking shears (optional). Set up your clothes horse. Place a large sheet of baking onto the base of the baking tray. Lay your fabric flat on the surface of the tray. Using a grater, grate 10 g of beeswax. Sprinkle this evenly over the surface of the fabric. Place the tray into an oven at 100oC for 5 – 7 minutes or until completely melted.
Moving quickly, remove the tray from the oven. Pick up the fabric at two of the adjacent corners and hold it in the air, over the tray, for 30 seconds or so to allow the fabric to stiffen and any excess wax to drip free. When stiff enough to carry, peg to the clothes horse. The wrap may at first look a little yellow in colour but will lighten after further cooling. Repeat with your remaining fabric pieces.
When your busy brood are ready to fly off to school, secure their sangas (or other) in the wrap, and encase them snuggly in the protection of a good quality lunch box. Waxtastic!