Tips for Plastic-Free July | What Does it Mean for Your Food?
Happy Plastic Free July!
The world over is falling out of love with plastic. If you're like us, you have your favorite reusable coffee cup, water bottle, and produce bags and have adopted a habit to refuse plastic straws. These are simple acts in which we can incorporate sustainability into our day-to-day. Under heightened environmental awareness and public pressure, governments are stepping up. Canada, for example, has a move to ban all single-use plastics by 2022.
You don’t hear us talk much about plastic at Abeego. It doesn’t inspire us and it never will.
At no point during her invention of Abeego in 2008 did our founder, Toni Desrosiers, even glance at plastic for inspiration. Plastic waste was not yet a hot topic at the time. It was the idea of airtight, transparent and downright impossible-to-use food wrap that Toni saw as just plain dumb.
Instead, she looked to nature for inspiration. Toni researched and experimented with a variety of all-natural ingredients to invent the zero waste food wrap of the future. The result was something superior to plastic wrap for food preservation, usability, and reusability. Abeego, the world’s first breathable & reusable beeswax food wrap was born!
“I realized the plastic food wrap I was using looked nothing like the peel nature wrapped my fresh food in,” explains Toni. “Every peel found in nature protects from light, air, and moisture. Most importantly, peels breathe!”
When she saw that Abeego was able to preserve her food for much longer, it became her life’s mission to end food waste.
WHY ABEEGO WORKS AND PLASTIC WRAP DOESN’T.
Like food’s own peel, skin or rind, Abeego is breathable, protective & opaque. Unlike any food’s peel, skin, or rind, plastic wrap is airtight, overprotective, and transparent. Let’s break it down.
Food naturally oxidizes and releases gas and moisture.
Since the 1950’s when plastic wrap was invented, we’ve been taught to “lock and seal” in freshness with airtight wrap and containers. While a noble idea, airtight environments suffocate living food. Condensation builds up on the plastic, becomes trapped, and eventually leads to mold, slime, and rot. This is a result of moisture build-up that happens when food can't breathe.
When wrapped in breathable Abeego, any excess condensation is able to escape, keeping food free of moisture that will kill its vibe.
Exposure to light is a major and often overlooked contributor to food spoilage. It's called photodegradation. In part with oxidation, it can cause foods to lose fats, proteins, and vitamins, which results in discoloration, and off-flavors.
Plastic wrap is transparent, offering no protection from photodegradation.
Like food's peels, Abeego is opaque and blocks light, keeping food fresh, tasty, and as nutritious as possible until it’s eaten.
Even after your foods have been picked, plucked, or pulled, they continue to breathe because food is alive. Respiration is the process of stored organic materials breaking down, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and leads to loss of flavor and nutrients.
We have proven in our Test Kitchen time and time again that Abeego slows down the process of respiration, protecting food while it breathes. On average, fruits and vegetables retain 30% more moisture and nutrients when wrapped in Abeego versus using nothing at all. The results are much higher for foods without a skin, such as leafy greens.
See for yourself! The lemon on the left was wrapped in Abeego for two weeks, and the lemon on the right was wrapped in plastic for two weeks. Which would you rather garnish your evening's cocktail with?
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Saran Wrap!
Yet before we set off on our Plastic Free July challenge in our kitchens, take note: naked is not the answer!
NAKED FOOD IS NOT THE ANSWER
The month of July is an inspiring time for going plastic-free.
Leaving those beautiful farmer's market fruits and veggies, that artisan cheese, or fresh-baked bread naked and free of disposable plastic may seem like a great sustainable alternative. While living food may not mold or rot like it does in plastic, without protection, it will rapidly deteriorate, lose nutritional value, dry, and wither.
The cilantro on the left was wrapped in Abeego for 4 days and the cilantro on the right was left naked for 4 days. Which would you rather garnish your tacos with?
With the ban of single-use plastics comes the potential for greater food waste.
It’s more important than ever that we protect our food and keep it alive naturally. The end of food waste is what really gets us jazzed. We created Abeego to pick up where the peel leaves off to offer a breathable environment that protects skinless and peeled food so it's preserved for longer than ever imagined. You’ll save food from the compost and enjoy it to the very last bite.
Join us as we disrupt normalized food waste and push the boundaries on what is thought of as fresh food and shift the mindset to what keeps food alive.
The takeaway? Ditch the plastic and Keep Food Alive with Abeego! Wrap, wash, reuse. It's that simple.
FOOD WASTE AND WHAT’S REALLY UNDER THE COMPOST PILE
Airtight plastic food wrap has been accepted as the norm in kitchens worldwide. It’s shaped how we perceive food behaves and tastes and left us expecting slimy, rotting, smelly dying, drying, wrinkling fruits, vegetables, and herbs. This isn’t how living food naturally behaves. Rather, it’s a result of airtight food storage.
We’ve been asked, “But what happens to Abeego when my tomato goes slimy?” This understanding of tomatoes is from an experience of using plastic wrap, not nature and not Abeego.
In this way, food waste has become normalized, too. Consumers don’t expect food to last. They expect that most of it will end up as compost.
In North America, 40% of all food produced ends up as waste. Studies have shown that 42% of this waste is fresh fruit and vegetables. At the household level, this amounts to 23 million tons of produce annually that could have been eaten. With the recommended daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetables being 18 ounces (500 grams) a day, that’s enough to have fed 112 million people for a year.
Compost is not a solution. Underneath that compost pile is more waste than you can imagine: irrigation, transportation, storage, employment, fertilizer, soil, right down to the bees that pollinate our plants. All of this is wasted too.
Believe it or not, we don't have a food waste problem. We have a food storage problem.
KEEP FOOD ALIVE
What does Keep Food Alive mean? In practical terms, Abeego literally keeps food alive by extending the life of your food and retaining its nutrients to give you vibrant, healthy food for longer. Food is life, and the more nutrients it retains, the more life force it contains.
Armed with Abeego, the life-giving properties of food are in your hands. That inner vibrancy attained from eating nutrition-packed living food is our shared power and forms the basis of our Keep Food Alive Manifesto. Instead of living life by a code of shoulds and bans, we live life with an emphatic yes as we are propelled toward our ideals to live an impassioned life with heart.
We believe in possibility, we believe in this world, and we believe in you, our community of Wholehearted Pioneers. Let’s work together and Keep Food Alive.
ABEEGO'S FAVORITE PLASTIC-FREE ALTERNATIVES & TIPS:
Our advice for incorporating reusable alternatives in your life? Do something, especially when you can't do everything. Start with one thing and do it really well. Once that becomes easy & habitual, seek another small step to slowly reduce using landfill-bound disposable plastic items.
- Try Brush Naked's bamboo toothbrush
- Better Farm Co's reusable shopping bags
- Klean Kanteen's reusable straws
- Bring your own container to a restaurant if you're not one to finish the whole dish
- Buy in bulk when you can and skip the plastic packaging! Search your community for a store that offers refillable options.
- Find some zero-waste inspirations to follow on social media (@trashisfortossers, @oldworldnew, @going.zero.waste to name a few)
It is with deep respect and gratitude that we create, build and operate our business in the communities of Southern Vancouver Island, which as a business we acknowledge is located within the ancestral and unceded territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) (Esquimalt and Songhees), Malahat, Pacheedaht, Scia'new, T’Sou-ke and W̱SÁNEĆ (Pauquachin, Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum) peoples.