Friends and family keep tell me that cooking has reentered their lives in a big way. This is wonderful news, and a definite silver lining of these otherwise tricky lockdowns. Since we’re spending so much time at home, a lot of us also seem to be decluttering, including finally sorting out the old clothes from our wardrobes. It’s a satisfying feeling for ourselves, but unfortunately, both activities contribute to landfill if we’re not more thoughtful about it. Most of the Adamama community is already familiar with composting, but have you ever thought about using old clothes for a more sustainable kitchen?

After we cook our family favourites or try out that new recipe, it’s very easy to reach for the foil or plastic cling wrap. How many knishes and bagels have ended up in a plastic sandwich bag? According to a recent survey of plastic recycling in Australia, only about 11-12% of plastic is recycled. In the space of one year, Australians consumed at least 3.5 million tonnes of plastics… which means there’s still a lot to be accounted for.

So, how about repurposing some of those once-loved clothes to make reusable wax wraps? These wraps will replace the foil and cling wrap in your cupboards and brighten up your fridge. They’re very easy to make, and it’s a great activity for you and your kids during lockdown. You might need to order some soy wax online, but chances are you already have everything else you’ll need.

You will need –

• A piece of old 100% cotton clothing (make sure it’s clean!)
• Scissors
• Baking tray
• Baking paper
• Saucepan
• 1 cup soy wax flakes (if purchasing as a block, simply grate into flakes)
• 2 tablespoons coconut oil
• Old toothbrush

Here’s how to do it –

  1. Save a piece of old clothing from landfill! Instead, cut up the material into various shapes and sizes that will fit over your bowls, plates and jars. Any leftover scraps of fabric can be used as cleaning rags or – if you’re feeling particularly crafty – you could start making a rag rug.
  2. Preheat your oven to 90 degrees C.
  3. In a saucepan, gently melt your soy wax flakes. Add the coconut oil and stir to combine.
  4. Line the baking tray with baking paper and lay out your pieces of material without overlapping (the flatter, the better – so you might need to do this part in batches).
  5. Gently pour a little of the wax mixture over the material and use your old toothbrush to evenly spread the wax over the whole piece of material.
  6. Bake in oven for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove, and check that the material is fully coated. If not, simply add more wax mixture and bake again for a couple of minutes.
  8. Once fully coated, hang the material up to dry (making sure the material is hanging as straight as possible). This shouldn’t take very long at all.
  9. Your wax wraps are now ready for use!

You can use your wax wraps to store any half-used veggies or fruit, or for any other storage where you’d usually count on foil or plastic wrap. It’s great for bread and sandwiches too – just use a piece of string to tie it up. The wrap will also take on any shape if you use the warmth from your hands to mould it slightly. When it needs to be washed, make sure you use cold water (hot water spells disaster for wax), and when it needs to be refreshed, simply repeat the steps above. Too easy!

Now you can get back to cooking, and then enjoy the aesthetic of the leftovers as much as the taste. There are so many simple and convenient ways to reduce our impact on the planet, starting right at home in our kitchens. Stay tuned for more sustainable hacks, and we’d love to hear about any of your own upcycling or recycling projects. Here’s to a greener lockdown for our community!