DIY Plastic Wrap Substitute

What is plastic wrap | About the environment

In our home (and in my kitchen), I am always thinking about health, about saving money, and about the environment - and about taste, of course!

For example, if I can:

  • make something healthier
  • save money
  • make it in a way that has little effect on the environment
  • and still have something taste good

Then, I am all over it :-)!

That also goes for what I use in my kitchen and how I buy things.

Of course, we have recycling bins and we use them.  But using fewer things overall, and reusing and repurposing is really the best way "to go green" (although I don't really like that term and the political issues tied to it) and address some of the environmental issues that we face today.

Well, today I have kind of a funny little kitchen tip that has nothing to do with taste, but it will:

  • save money
  • have a beneficial effect on the environment
  • save time

I've never liked plastic wrap.  I don't know when this all started, but I have always had a huge aversion to the stuff.  Just the idea of buying a roll of plastic to use super-temporarily to cover a container and then throw it out and add to a landfill has always, well - really bugged me.  I can't tell you the last time I bought a roll.  And I think I've only bought one in my whole life.  Really.

Now, if you use plastic wrap, that doesn't mean that I won't be your friend :-).  And really, I didn't grow up in a household that practiced sustainability or anything.  I just somehow had an aversion to waste built into me.

So anyhow, I love containers with reusable lids and all that stuff.

But sometimes you've got something in a bowl already - and there aren't lids for bowls, right?  So why dump the stuff into another container and wash the bowl (using time and water) and then dirty up another container.  That's where the plastic wrap comes in, right?

Well, here's a more sustainable way.

DIY Plastic Wrap Substitute

Necessity is the mother of invention, right?

I had some necessity recently when my son knocked over a gallon jug of vinegar and it spilled all over our hallway.

After the spill and the clean up, we couldn't find the lid and I didn't want to waste time looking for it, so I found a temporary fix using a small bag and a rubber band!!

sustainable - what is plastic wrap


Then I thought, "Hey, wouldn't this work on a bowl too?"  And guess what, it sure does (larger bread bag and rubber band):

What is plastic wrap | About the environment

Now, of course, you'd need a pretty large bag to use as a cover for a large container (haven't figured that out yet), but my bread bags work great for this size.  I just think that this is the coolest thing!  And the rubber band works better than that cling wrap anyway.

So now you can use a great reusable plastic bag (make sure it's a clean one) and a handy-dandy rubber band the next time you need to cover a bowl or the next time you er---have a gallon of vinegar spill all over your floor and you can't find the lid - or - something like that :-).

Well, actually, it'll work anytime you're missing a lid to something.

The bags that I use are from Country Life Natural Foods and I use the 6 x 3 x 15 and 2 x 4 x 8 sizes.  These Bread Loaf Bags from Amazon and 2 x 4 x 8 bags from Amazon seem to be similar.

Now I just need a tip for not getting angry when there's a gallon of vinegar spilling all over the floor.  I didn't yell that much.  Really.  Always working on that - the laughing at life thing.

And if you're wondering why there was a gallon jug of vinegar in my hallway - well, uh....

I was using it in the kitchen for my Homemade Dishwasher Rinse Aid and the bottle was making its way back down the hall for another handy vinegar tip that I'll be sharing in the near future.  Hopefully.  Too many things to write about and too little time.

 How will you save time and money?

  • Save time - Instead of looking and looking for a lost lid, get on with your day.
  • Save money - Don't throw away stuff just because you lost a lid
  • Save money - don't buy plastic wrap anymore!
  • Bonus: Save the environment - repurpose rubber bands and re-use a bag instead of throwing away icky plastic wrap

Want some other money saving tips?  How about:

How about you?  Do you have a way to have a more sustainable kitchen?

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82 Comments

  1. Great idea! And as for your son, I'm sure he felt bad enough already without anyone mentioning his accident. Poor kid.

    1. Thanks - my son said he didn't mind what I shared about it :-). He reads almost all of my posts and does a few things for me behind the scenes as he can handle them.

  2. In my efforts to avoid as much plastic as possible, I use the plate on the bowl trick, but I also use waxed paper with a rubber band. I've also used brown paper, greased with lard and tied on with twine. This is a two person job when you try to cover a large crock. And if you use the paper with lard, you need to make sure the family dog can't reach it.

    1. What a riot about the lard :-). We don't have a dog now, but when I was little our dog ate some pretty bizarre things......

  3. LOL, I actually didn't think anything at all about the vinegar, it is regularly in our hallway- making it's way from the kitchen for cooking & cleaning, to the bathroom for cleaning and hand-washing clothing! How funny. Great tip, I'll have to snag some rubber bands from the Hubby's stash!

    1. Glad I'm not the only one w/ vinegar in the hallway. My home is a little too lived in now (more than usual), but I'm working on it :-).

      1. I keep separate bottles in each place so I never have to worry about vinegar in the hall. but there are always OTHER spills. like milk. LOL

    1. Hi again. I forgot to mention that I use the small 2 x 4 x 8 size as well. Here is a link to the 2 x 4 bags from Amazon. I am not sure of their quality, but they appear to be the same. Hope that helps! (And I've added that info to my post now :-).

  4. Hey....that is a great idea! I love tips that are so simple that I can implement them without too much effort. I use my vegetable bags to put open cans of dog food in until the dogs finish that can. I do that for about a week and then it goes in the trash.

  5. Hi,
    This post is featured this week at Sunday Snippets!

    (Link deleted by Whole New Mom due to it not working anymore)

  6. What a great idea! I just ran out of plastic wrap and I'm loathe to buy more. I, too, always feel guilty using it.

  7. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Great idea! Hope to see you next week! Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for
    Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

  8. I *despise* plastic wrap! Good for your for promoting alternatives.

    (visiting from Raising Homemakers' Homemaking Link-Up)

  9. I'm right with you sister! I remember my mom had bowl covers that looked like shower caps she sometimes put on bowls that didn't come with lids. When I got married and needed kitchen stuff, I try to buy a bowl that comes with a lid.

    For the vinegar, how about a little mind shift? Instead of getting mad over split vinegar (hee!) swish it around the floor first and then mop it up. Lookie there! You just cleaned and disinfected the floor! My favorite floor cleaner is vinegar. I add a sploosh of dish detergent if it needs a little dirt fighting oomph.

    1. Oh, you're so right about the vinegar. I was just being honest that my first inclination was to get angry. I did wipe the floor up w/ it and was glad about it. There's always some good in everything that happens.

      1. I'm a grandma now and I find that if I have a "you spilled it, you clean it" attitude then I don't get mad, I just hand them a rag. A lot of times they're already upset and it helps me to keep my temper as well.

        now I do still help, especially the youngest who just turned five, but I've been doing this since the eldest was about 5 and it really does help me to keep my temper. I used to yell, now I just say, "Oh, boy. here, here's a rag, lets get that cleaned up." I yell most now, when I'm scared, if something broke, especially glass, I get really excited and it comes out loud. Oh, and with the older ones (up to age 12 now) I have to act as spotter. There's a spot, you missed something there, you need to get another towel, etc.

  10. Great tip! I have switched to all glass containers that each have a lid. Because I don't have 34 random plastic containers any more, I always have the right lid. I use them for serving and then snap the lid on top. However, I can totally see using this tip for when I need a quick cover for a personal bowl!

    1. Wow - can you give more info on your glass containers please? I have switched to glass and stainless, but I'd love to know what kind of containers you use. Thanks in advance!

      1. I'm not Kelly, but I do have advice on glass containers! 🙂

        I have some Pyrex containers and I love them! They're actually made in USA. The lids are plastic but are very durable.

        I also buy nut butter, jam, salsa, etc. in glass jars that I reuse. To avoid the "too many different lids" problem, we save jars of only a few lid sizes so that we have a lot of interchangeable lids.

  11. I love these ideas. We use almost all reusable products too and it kind of pains me to use baggies/plastic wrap. I even save the containers from lunch meats to use for freezing and storing food.

    Thanks for linking up to Momtrends this week.

    ~Shannon, Food Channel Editor, Momtrends.com

  12. Hi! Your post was one of the most popular links on It's a Keeper Thursday! I've featured you on It's a Keeper! I’d love if you stopped by and grabbed a button.

    And, feel free to link up another great recipe this week too!

    Cheers!
    Christina @ (Link deleted by Whole New Mom due to it not working anymore)
    Follow me on Facebook and Twitter

  13. That's really clever and simple! I wonder for larger items if it would work if you cut the bag open before fastening it with a rubber band?

  14. Great tip! It's even more eco-friendly if you reuse the bag, as someone else mentioned--here are my instructions for washing food bags--although I don't reuse shopping bags or produce bags that ever contained not-clean-enough-to-eat stuff, and I reuse bags that are printed on the outside (like store bread comes in) only in ways where the food touches only the inside of the bag; I wouldn't put one over a bowl.

    I've been saving the liner bags from boxes of cereal and crackers. They work for anything where you don't need your plastic to be especially flexible or self-closing, so you can rubber-band one over a bowl. They also can be cut open and substituted for waxed paper.

  15. Other waste-free covers:

    cover a plate in the microwave with another plate, inverted, to heat more evenly and prevent splatters.

    cover a baking sheet in the oven with a second baking sheet, inverted, rather than using aluminum foil. A baking sheet can also be used to cover a smaller baking dish.