6 ways to avoid aluminium foil, baking paper and plastic wrap

Aluminium foil, baking paper and plastic wrap are for tossers. 

Now now, don't yell at me in retort. I'm not calling you a tosser. I'd never do that. 

via here
I mean, al foil, baking paper and plastic wrap are products that you use once then toss in the bin off to landfill. It's a senseless waste of resources when you consider all the metal, water, tree pulp and chemicals gone into their manufacturing. Not to mention they don't bio-degrade. In fact, every single bit of plastic every produced still exists today.

You can recycle al foil by bunching it into a ball, but it's still a waste of resources for such a one-off use. You can't recycle baking paper or plastic wrap.

I mentioned briefly in a previous post that I'm gearing up to live completely waste-free. That's zero waste. That means I won't be able to use disposable items, unless it's vital and it can be recycled. 

That means, al foil, baking paper and plastic wrap will no longer be an option.

So I've done my research and compiled these tricks to avoid using these products altogether. Thought you might like to consider giving them a go too?

1. Use a glass jar, glass tupperware container with lid or a plate to cover food 

In fact, instead of plastic wrap my mum's always used the plate-over-the-plate technique. There are also a plethora of alternative products available for purchase, if you do a quick interweb search. These linen covers by Ambatalia are pretty snazzy (you could DIY something similar if you prefer). I don't see why you couldn't use shower caps as an alternative:

photo via remodelista

2. Wrap cut fruit and vegetables, sandwiches and bread etc with reusable wrap sheets

There are several on the market. Abeego, a US brand, make wrap sheets out of hemp and cotton infused with beeswax. Biome sell an Australian made version of the same type of sheet (I've just bought this myself). There's also a brand called BeesWrap, in the US. All these sheets are washable and reusable and can last for over a year. When they've finally run their course, they can be composted. They're also very versatile.

3. You don't actually need to cover food in al foil to roast or bake it

Not even potatoes. If you're baking sweet potatoes, just ensure you poke a few holes in them and place another dish or tray underneath to catch any drips. If you're roasting meat, just ensure you baste it frequently and turn if necessary. Use bicarb soda to make scrubbing off the bits that stick to the bottom of the roasting tray a lot easier.

4. Grease with oil then dust with flour when baking cakes or cookies

Instead of lining with baking paper, grease your baking tin or tray with butter or coconut oil, then dust lightly with a little flour. Prevents sticking and makes cake removal a breeze.

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5. Use banana leaves or paperbark instead

If you really want to wrap and roast, you can wrap fish, meat or veggies with banana leaves or paperbark instead of al foil, then safely dispose of the wrapping in the compost bin. You can find banana leaves at most Asian grocers and paper bark on paperbark trees around the hood (just ensure you strip the bark from the upper half of the tree so there's no chance it's covered in dog pee). Here's what a paperbark tree looks like.

photo by David Loftus

6. Blind bake using a reusable silicone baking sheet

There are a few available, including this one or the one below by Silpat.

via here

Any tips, questions or comments? Fire away!


  1. These are really good hints. Good article. I have on my To Do list to create my own beeswax wrap sheets. Check out instructions on the net. We have a fireplace so we burn all our baking/wax paper. But I am guilty of too much aluminium foil. I have to make a conscious effort to reduce my use.

    1. Maria @ The Society Co.August 8, 2015 at 3:44 PM

      Yes I may try making my own too if I like the way they work. It seems relatively easy to do. Good luck with it!

    2. I made my own beeswax wraps a few weeks ago. The were really fast to make once the material was cut to size and the beeswax was grated...just the beeswax did take a long time to grate (just be warned!). I used the iron & baking paper method, and I definitely recommend wrapping your iron in foil to spare it from any accidental beeswax (that stuff melts quickly!). It did seem ironic to me that in order to use less wrapping I needed to use wrapping... but I've kept the foil & baking paper with my beeswax supplies for my next project. I've also found that re-ironing the sheets helps them be 'like new' again. Conclusion: they're easy to use & make, just set aside some time to grate the wax.

    3. Thanks very much for the info on beeswax wraps: I love it!

      I wash and reuse aluminium foil. It isn't crisp and foldable after washing but you can reuse it forever.

  2. Great post, thanks Maria! I use Gingham & Wax (http://www.ginghamandwax.com.au/) reusable food wraps. They are handmade in the Blue Mountains, Australia.
    Candi x

    1. Maria @ The Society Co.August 8, 2015 at 3:43 PM

      oh, thanks for the tip-off!

  3. I've never used aluminium foil much until recently, when I realised that plastic wrap, which I didn't use very much either, can release hormone mimics. But foil has such huge embodied energy, so instead of disposing of it after one use, I tried washing and reusing it. It doesn't retain that crisp folding edge, but that's the only little drawback. You can wash and reuse it countless times.

    But when it comes to silicone products, did you know that they're made of plastic? It's not silicon the element, which is spelt without the final "e". Silicones are synthetic polymers, although they do contain silicon atoms and can decompose easily. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicone and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymer)

    But siloxanes (the chemical name for the silicone compound) are very pervasive, meaning they stick around once they are released into the air or soil.

    And don't heat them too much. By 149ºC (300ºF) the PDMS in silicone begin to generate formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen.



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