I’ve been trying to reduce my waste for over a year now. I’m definitely not perfect, and I still have a long way to go, but I’m pretty proud of my progress. One of the things that I’m proud of is that I’ve almost totally eliminated our need for plastic ziploc bags and plastic wrap. We pretty much only use them for raw meat storage and freezer storage now. All our other plastic bag needs can be met with a reusable bag. This was such a simple change to make, so if you’re interested in reducing your waste, this is a great first step. I have tried several different kinds now, thanks to my subscription to the MightyFix. Here are my thoughts on four of the plastic bag alternatives that I’ve used, so you can decide which one is best for you!
These are fabric reusable bags with velcro closure. They come in a snack and sandwich size and fun prints.
What I like: They come in two packs and are fairly inexpensive. They are the same size and shape as ziploc bags, so they’re convenient for storage. Dishwasher safe and infinitely reusable. I use them mainly to store snacks and sandwiches.
What I don’t like: Since they’re made of fabric, they aren’t airtight so crackers and other bread products stored in them go stale very quickly. Though they’re dishwasher safe, they don’t really come clean because dirt sticks to them easily. When that happens, I need to hand wash them and then let them dry for a long time because the fabric soaks up water.
These are flat sheets of beeswax-coated fabric. They come in several different sizes and can be used to wrap up food or cover bowls like plastic wrap.
What I like: Bees wrap sticks to itself with the warmth of your hands, so you can wrap up almost anything. It’s mostly airtight, so it’s great for storing cheese or bread. It’s compostable, so when you can’t use it anymore you can just compost it! I use it mostly to store cheese.
What I don’t like: It is hand wash only. It doesn’t last forever, each piece lasts about a year before losing its stickiness. Since it’s fabric, it tends to absorb odors from food. It doesn’t really seal up on its own, so I haven’t been able to use it to store crackers or multiples of anything.
The Food Kozy by UKonserve is a plastic flat wrap that folds up with a velcro closure. It comes in one size, just big enough for a sandwich or small pizza slice.
What I like: The Food Kozy is fairly versatile because it’s a wrap, not a fixed shape. It’s made for sandwiches, but I can wrap up pizza and bagels with it, too. It’s easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
What I don’t like: It’s made of plastic and wears out if you use it often. When it wears out, you have to throw it away. It says it’s recyclable plastic, but my city can’t recycle it (also, I don’t think velcro is recyclable). It’s not airtight, so long term storage is a no-go. You’re also limited on what you can store in it for the same reason.
Stasher bags are silicone bags with a ziploc type closure. I only have the sandwich size, but I believe they come in a variety of sizes.
What I like: Finally, an airtight one! This bag makes it possible to store a variety of foods without them drying out or going stale. It’s convenient to use because it looks and works just like a plastic bag. It’s sturdy, so it seems like it could be infinitely reusable. Dishwasher safe.
What I don’t like: Not easy to clean. It takes a run through the dishwasher, rinsing, and sometimes hand washing to get all the dirt out. It also takes a long time to dry, which means it can’t be immediately reused after washing.
Verdict: It’s a really tough choice, but I think Bees Wrap is my favorite, with Stasher as runner-up. Bees Wrap is very versatile, easy to use and clean, and it’s compostable so there’s no waste. Now that it’s become more popular, I’ve seen alternatives popping up at local shops and on Etsy. There are lots of cute prints, sizes, and price points to choose from. That said, there is no perfect replacement for a plastic bag. All of them are kind of hard to clean and pricey, which is frustrating. Maybe as more people start using them, reusable bags will get better. Until then, despite their shortcomings, I think any of these alternatives are totally worth ditching plastic bags for.