Room 1 at Kaitaia Primary School got the opportunity to make their own personalised beeswax lunchwrap with Jo Shanks of CBEC Ecosolutions.
Using plain cotton cloth the tamariki drew on their own designs and then Jo dipped the cloths in a pan of melted beeswax, a few wafts around in the air and voila! one personalised lunchwrap per child to take home and bring back to school each day with their sandwiches wrapped up in it.
Cherie Duncan sent us some photos of the tamariki with their finished wraps and some written work they did about the experience.
Beeswax wraps go a long way to help reduce the amount of single use plastic in our lives. Plastic is made of oil, and its use is very much a hot topic these days, especially with China refusing to import any more overseas plastic recycling, including ours, which makes it even more important to not use it in the first place. Taking up to hundreds of years to degrade it poses the twin problems of toxic leachate when trapped in landfill, and polluting our waterways, moana and land when dropped or blown away. Yes some stuff breaks down into tiny pieces so it can’t strangle a dolphin, but these microplastics get ingested by kai moana who can’t digest it so it stays in their system, and so works its way up the food chain. 90% of all seabirds now have plastic inside them. It also means tuatua, pipi etc that are eaten whole by humans are eaten plastic and all!
You can stop this. Recycle all plastics 1-6; including plastic bags – it’s not an ideal solution, but better than landfill. Wrap lunches in lunch paper (which can go on the fire or in the compost/worm farm) or a beeswax lunchwrap.
Your beeswax-wrap can be used again and again following these simple steps.
- Always clean using cold water and mild soap (eco-friendly is best).
- Either immerse your bees-wax-wrap in cold water and dish soap or sponge off with a dishcloth.
- Air dry on a dish rack or use a tea-towel to pat dry .
- Some oils and sauces may stain your bees-wax-wrap, but your food stays fresh.
- Don’t forget that bees-wax-wraps’ don’t like the heat so avoid dishwashers, microwaves and ovens.
- Do not use to cover raw meat.
When it starts to lose its ‘stick’ you can revamp them by adding more beeswax to it (lots of YouTube clips of the various methods – ironing, oven and dipping) or add it to your compost, or cut into strips and use them to light your fire.
Jo Shanks is available to work with schools on a variety of environmental issues with several practical activities like the beeswax wraps, contact her via CBEC Ecosolutions.