Think Saving Your Food In Aluminum Foil Helps The Environment? Think Again.
We've already told you about how much food is wasted all over the world. So the obvious solution is to wrap up all of your leftovers in aluminum foil and save them for later, right? Well, about that...aluminum foil itself isn't the most eco-friendly product on the market. So what's a green-conscious consumer to do? Here's the skinny on the shiny stuff.
What Goes Into Tinfoil?
When you wrap up your leftover linguine in tinfoil and stick it in the fridge for later, you're helping the environment by making sure all of the water and energy that went into growing the grain for the pasta and feeding the cows for the alfredo sauce doesn't go to waste. Good for you! The only thing is, you've chosen pretty much the worst container to save it in. What exactly makes aluminum foil so bad?
Basically, it comes down to two things: what it takes to make the stuff, and what it takes to break it down. The actual production process is where most of the waste happens. One ton of aluminum takes about 170 million BTUs to produce—about as much as 1,400 gallons of gasoline—and emits about 12 tons of greenhouse gases. It's also very long-lasting, taking as much as 400 years to break down after it's discarded (not to mention the fact that it's heavier than other disposable wraps). All those factors contribute to the importance of recycling aluminum—something most of us do with cans, but for some reason fail to do with tinfoil.
At least it's better than wrapping your food in plastic, right? Wrong. In fact, aluminum foil is even more wasteful than plastic wrap by nearly every metric, including fossil fuel consumption, aquatic toxicity, and greenhouse gas emissions. But using plastic wrap instead is hardly an ideal solution. For one thing, plastic wrap isn't reusable—at least aluminum foil is, to an extent. Plus, petroleum waste takes a few decades to degrade, and the plastic polluting our oceans has become a massive problem. That's not to mention the potential health effects certain chemicals in plastic, such as phthalates and BPA, can have.
So what's the solution? If you simply can't part with your trusty tinfoil, try reusing it when you can—after a good scrub, that is. You can also check to see if there's aluminum foil recycling in your area, and close the loop by buying recycled aluminum foil in the first place.
In the long-term, however, it's best to find a more sustainable solution for saving food. Reusable containers work well, but sometimes—like when you misjudge how much mac and cheese the container will hold—you need the flexibility of a wrap. For that, we recommend something sturdy and reusable such as Bee's Wrap, made from organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. Its waxy inner layer becomes flexible when warmed by the heat of your hands, then forms an airtight seal as it cools. It's sturdy enough to use over and over again for up to a year with a gentle wash between uses. Best of all? Beeswax and jojoba oil are naturally antibacterial, so the wrap will keep your food tasting and smelling fresh.
Interested in sustainable household products like Bee's Wrap? You may want to check out The MightyFix, a subscription service from MightyNest that supplies customers with a steady stream of earth-friendly items. A subscription to The Mightyfix is $10 per month, and every month, subscribers receive a box worth at least $10, and often more. With the code CURIOUSBEESWRAP, you can get your first fix—a medium and a large sheet of Bee's Wrap—for just $3. Use this link and the code will be automatically applied to your cart.
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