Next time you run out of plastic wrap in your kitchen, don’t replace it. Any product which is made from petroleum-based plastics and is intended to be thrown away after a single use should be ringing some serious alarm bells for us all at this point … and plastic wrap is among the worst of these products, both for your health and for the environment.
Since its introduction in the 1950s, plastic wrap has mostly been made either of a plastic called polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) or, later, of the more familiar polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Both of these chemicals are dangerously toxic—during production, during use, and during incineration. Furthermore, both plastics on their own are fairly rigid, so manufacturers generally add in softening chemicals called phthalates, which are known to cause hormonal disruption and developmental problems, and have been found to drift into food.
You can get by very easily without plastic wrap. Try some of these options instead.
Aluminum foil can be used in much the same way as plastic wrap, and poses a significantly lower environmental threat. In most places, first of all, it can be recycled. In fact, aluminum is the most recycled metal world-wide; according to industry statistics, about a third of all aluminum in use comes from recycled materials. Even better, aluminum foil can be re-used—just clean it, fold it up, and stick it in the cupboard for next time.
Reusable containers, like those manufactured by Tupperware and Glad, for example, are an excellent alternative to cling wrap. Better still, buy a set of Pyrex glass containers, which are much safer in the microwave and freezer, and can also be used in the oven.
Your best bet is to use what you’ve already got. If you’re saving half an apple, onion, lemon, etc, flip it over, cut-side down, on a plate, and stick it in the fridge. Put your left-over spaghetti sauce in a glass jar with a screw-top lid. Cover your bowl of left-over pancake batter or macaroni and cheese with a plate—it works almost as well as PVC film and won’t mess around with your genetics.