Beeswax wraps cutting plastic use

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beeswax wraps
Sue Sargent, Toni Sergiacomi, Sarah Althaus, Kasey Whitney, James Stratham and James Nelson at Bargara State School making beeswax wraps.

Reef Guardian schools throughout the region are making their own beeswax wraps to reduce the amount of single-use plastic being used in student lunchboxes.

Bargara State School Reef Guardian Coordinator Toni Sergiacomi said they had been making the wraps for two years to sell within the school and to the wider community.

A recent workshop, funded by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation through the Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) Less is More project, saw another 30 teachers from schools throughout the region trained in making the wraps.

“We all use a lot of plastic in our day-to-day lives and this is just one way that we can just reduce that usage in school lunchboxes,” Toni said.

“The children can wrap their sandwiches and their wraps in the beeswax wraps and they’re not throwing away a piece of plastic every single day of the school year.

“They can be used for a number of uses, lunchboxes, cover plates and bowls in the fridge, many times over.”

Toni said beeswax wraps could be used for anything clingwrap is used for, except to cover meat.

“I use the beeswax wraps every day, my husband takes them in his esky with his lunch wrapped in, our children use them in their lunchboxes, the students at school use them.

“You could use it if you cut a bowl of salad or fruit salad earlier in the day and you just want to cover the top of the bowl with the wrap, put it back in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.”

She said the beeswax wraps had proven extremely popular both with students and community members.

Students help to make beeswax wraps

Reef Guardian student Kasey Whitney said she loved being involved with the program which meant she could help look after the environment.

“We do a lot of things like make beeswax wraps, use containers in our lunch and just try and reduce plastic to save the environment,” Kasey said.

“The beeswax wraps reduces the amounts of clingwrap that we put in our lunches and our beeswax wraps last a long time, since I bought mine last year and it’s still good till now.

“They come in all different shapes, sizes and colours and designs and it looks really nice.”

Toni said the process to make beeswax wraps was simple and, while the students were unable to help with the hot wax, they contributed to the project in other ways.

“Students here at Bargara School, they help with the cutting of the fabrics, they help with sorting after the wraps have been made, they fold them and package them ready for sale and they help with the little shops that we set up.”

Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated the schools involved with the beeswax initiative which was creating positive environmental change.

“It’s great to see our Reef Guardian Schools kicking goals again, particularly with their beeswax wraps,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“Thank you to the teachers that have attended training and are now able to take the beeswax initiative back to their schools.”

He said Council was pleased to support Bargara State School and the Burnett LMAC to spread the word by producing an online beeswax wrap tutorial.

Watch the beeswax wrap tutorial:

Equipment:

  • Electric fry pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Metal tongs x 2
  • Rack for drying

Materials:

1) 100% cotton fabric cut with pinking shears
2) Bees wax
3) Pine rosin (gum rosin, colophony) powdered or chunks, powdered will melt faster
4) Oil – jojoba or coconut (approx. 1 tbsp. to 1kg wax)

Ratio of 1:8
ie. 100g rosin to 800g wax, 125g rosin to 1kg wax

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