Sarah Kaeck’s sustainable food storage product, Bee’s Wrap, is a sustainable food storage product that implements Cradle-to-Cradle methodology as outlined by McDonough and Braungart’s Five Steps to Eco effectiveness (McDonough & Braungart, 2002. p 165). Offering an alternative to single-use plastic wraps and plastic bags for food storage, Bee’s Wrap can last up to a year, and can be used in compost as a biodegradable plant food when it’s useful life is over.
McDonough and Braungart’s Five steps create a methodology to examine and assess a product and it’s materials, determine issues, seek positive alternatives and solutions to those issues, and create a design solution.
Above: Bee’s Wrap can be easily moulded to the shape of a bowl, using the heat from a human hand. (Bee’s Wrap: Beeswax and cloth food storage alternative- The “new” old fashioned alternative to plastic wrap.. (2015). Retrieved 14 September 2016, from http://www.beeswrap.com/)
Bee’s Wrap exhibits a thoughful approach to almost all of the Five steps, however there are a few in particular that can be examined.
In seeking a replacement for manufactured plastic, Sarah Kaeck selected a minimal number of basic ingredients with clear provenance and bio/organic content. Cotton, Bees Wax, Jojoba oil and Tree resin are all produced in nature, and can be used without chemical additives. These are all part of the “Positive checklist” as outlined in point three of the Five steps – and all of these ingredients are actively defined as healthy and safe.
The food wrap, made by coating a cotton fabric coated in a mixture of the other three ingredients, becomes a soft sheet that moulds to the shape of food and food containers, using just the heat of a human hand. In reinventing food wrap, as per point five of the five steps, this product replicates the physical properties of plastic wrap, using sustainable and safe biological rather than chemical ingredients. It entirely re-thinks the approach to food wrap and in doing so creates something that has an inviting smell and tactile fell that makes it enjoyable to use. The natural anti-bacterial properties of bees wax and jojoba also work to preserve food safely.
Indeed, it could be argued that Kaeck has also met the second of the Five steps in following her informed personal preferences. Living on a farm and working with animals and plants on a daily basis, Kaeck has created a product and business that is respectful to the provenance of the ingredients, the staff who lovingly make the product, and the customers who buy it – as well as respecting the end of product life usefulness as compost.
This delightful product is a simple and effective example of how McDonough and Braungart’s Five steps to eco effectiveness can create solutions that are ecologically sound, work well for the customer, and create a profitable business with happy staff and proprietor.
McDonough, W. & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to cradle. New York: North Point Press.
Stewart, L. & Stewart, L. (2014). Ditch the Plastic Food Wrap With All-Natural and Reusable Bee’s Wrap. Inhabitat.com. Retrieved 14 September 2016, from http://inhabitat.com/ditch-the-plastic-food-wrap-with-all-natural-and-reusable-bees-wrap/
Bee’s Wrap: Beeswax and cloth food storage alternative- The “new” old fashioned alternative to plastic wrap.. (2015). Bee’s Wrap. Retrieved 14 September 2016, from http://www.beeswrap.com/