Zero Waste alternatives to cling film

Fiona contacted me about alternatives to cling film recently.

She was so fed up with using cling film that she decided to do something about it!

She wrote “I now use tupperware boxes! I make packed lunches every day and often store leftovers in the fridge so boxes are great for this- they just get washed with the rest of my dishes and it doesn’t feel like an extra effort.
“Sandwiches can go straight into them and they protect your fruit from getting squished. Some people say they use cling film to wrap up a cake or loaf- but I’ve started using tea towels for this and it works the same :)”

I decided there were probably lots more ideas out there so threw open the query to the Zero Waste community to find out more. Here’s what you came up with:


Heather shared “I use plastic boxes with a lid for leftovers”

Helen said “I store leftover food either in old ice cream cartons (which have lids) or in a bowl with a plate over the top.”

Victoria said “I store leftover food in the fridge in a bowl with a plate on top”.

Amanda said “I use my BentoBox for things that later need to be re-heated before eating (saving on washing plates etc too!)”

Lyn said “Leftovers go in the fridge in a bowl with a plate over the top. You can make your own food covers easily enough with old shirt material.”

If you don’t fancy making your own cloth food covers, Natasha said “I use bowl overs from a shop called hunter gatherer in Dorset instead of cling film. They are elasticated rounds of cotton in different sizes to fit over different sizes of bowl. Much better for our health and the environment.”




Nicole said “I use my fabulous home made beeswax wraps!”

Heather said “We use the reusable sandwich wraps which are well worth the cost.” Francoise shared a link to this tutorial if you fancy making your own DIY beeswax cotton wraps.

Lyn said “I have started to reuse paper bags from the deli or cleaned crisp or other foil packets for sandwiches.”

Emma makes her own beeswax cloth and sews it into pouches to hold sandwiches. She shared this tutorial.

Morag said “a tiffin tin is my fave although the round shape usually means nuts and fruits are stuffed in the gaps.”

Belinda said “I use Bee’s Wrap

Their site says “Made of organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin – this combination of ingredients creates a malleable food wrap that can be used again and again.”


Food Storage

Suella said “For storage I substitute the plastic bags that come with fruit or whatever. I don’t store things long enough to need the hermetically sealed effect of cling film. Hadn’t thought of tea towels. I’m unsure about them in the fridge. Maybe ok in the bread bin however.

Tupperware-type boxes wash up fine by hand or in the dishwasher or simply use the various soft butter/margarine/spread containers for a day or two’s storage.”

Hollie shared “For stuff outside the fridge I made these jug covers years ago. They are big enough to cover a bowl too and do the job to keep flies out.”


Françoise shared “Often I put things in containers like Fiona. But sometimes – for example I’ve made bread dough and I need a cover for a large bowl – I rip open a clean plastic bag and use a large rubber band; or I’ve bought some of those reusable food “shower” caps and use them over and over again. Of course tea towels are great but they sometimes flop into the food – not great for bread dough!”

Zoe shared a blog post she wrote a while back about her 10 alternatives to cling film.

Monica uses a combination of cotton bags, glass pyrex with tops, and mason jars. She adds “I also still use plastic zip-lock bags, but rewash them over and over and haven’t purchased any new bags in years, and hopefully never again as I continue to make changes towards a completely plastic-free life.”

What about you – what alternatives to clingfilm do you use?

Posted in

Rachelle Strauss


  1. Julia Schofield on August 18, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Saucers and plates which enable stacking. Coffee bags for sandwiches. Save and wash plastic vegetable pots, as long as they don’t have holes. As well as trying not to waste, I’m trying not to buy.

  2. Rosemary on January 5, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Francoise, you could place a couple of wooden spoons across the bowl before you put the tea towel over the bowl.This prevents it falling in and the dough rising so high it soils the tea towel.

    • Colin on October 29, 2018 at 11:51 am

      Most of these seem very good methods to me, mostly things our grandparents would have done as a matter of course.

      I would like to know if anyone has any (practical, viable) suggestions for an alternative to use for wrapping pallets of various materials, from bricks and sacks through to bottles and boxes for handling while our goods are in the transport system?

  3. Waste not Want | A Drawerful of Porridge on October 2, 2018 at 11:54 am

    […] effort. Will report back further on this – meantime there are lots of suggestions here and here and here. Many suggestions are just what our mothers used to do – e.g. put a plate or a tea […]

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