When Cling Film / Plastic Wrap was created for domestic use in the 1950s, housewives around the planet rejoiced at their unspoiled leftovers and tidily wrapped lunches. It was a miracle product, revolutionary! So easy, so fast, so handy! So CONVENIENT!
Fast-forward seventy years and I wonder if those housewives would still be rejoicing to know that we have now produced enough of the stuff to wrap the entire world in Cling Film! 9.1 billion tonnes of it. New Zealanders alone use about 119,000km of Cling Film every year.
So what's wrong with Cling Film? Cling film is difficult to recycle, which is why the majority (over 70%) heads straight to land fill where it takes hundreds of years to degrade and risks leaching chemicals into groundwater. Like plastic bags, Cling Film that ends up in the sea is easily confused for jellyfish by marine animals, and chokes turtles and other creatures that feed on them. It is made of nurdles (tiny plastic pellets). Nurdles' small size and the transportation and handling methods used mean millions of these pellets are spilled in factories every year, and are washed straight into storm drains and out to sea. Nurdles look like fish eggs so are frequently eaten by marine creatures and birds with very harmful consequences. The plastic remains in their stomachs and toxins enter the food-chain.
But never fear! We don't need to head back to times of quickly spoiling, smelly food and haphazard lunch boxes! There are so many environmentally friendly solutions; beeswax wraps, silicone, or how about just putting a plate or bowl over your leftovers!? Check out the 'tips' section of this week's Eco-Challenge for more ways to replace Cling Film in your home, and the 'Eco-Warrior Challenge' for how to make your own Beeswax Wraps.
And if you're just not ready to give it up completely, check out TerracycleNZ, (or Terracycle for the rest of the world) as GLAD have a New Zealand Collection programme where you can recycle your used Glad Products by dropping them into your closest collection point.
And THAT"S A WRAP!