Beeswax Wraps - Compostable? Recyclable?
Updated: May 4
How do you dispose of beeswax wraps?
Beeswax wraps are reusable, but what happens when they're tired and aren't wrapping well any more? Are they compostable? Are they recyclable?
Welcome to the corner of the internet where I love waste and talking about waste.
Beeswax wraps are reusable for a long time. Eventually the tackiness, stickiness, or functionality of them wears off, and then what?
The wraps could be re-waxed, the cotton could be used as a kitchen wipe, or you could dispose of the well loved wrap. But where?!
I don’t know.
Different cities, municipalities, towns, areas, you name it, have different waste diversion rules. I would be ill-advising you if I said with certainty 'Hive to Home beeswax wraps are compostable' because it varies. Hive to Home beeswax wraps are shipped worldwide, there is no certainty that cotton is compostable in every customer’s area. Let's look at it.
How Waste Collection Works
In broad strokes and in my experience and education, here is how waste collection works. Waste streams are collected from residents, taken to the sorting facility, further sorted, then either sold on the commodity market or composted in a contracted facility.
How Compost Collection Works
Locally, compost goes into our green bins, is collected, transported to the compost facility, is composted, then distributed to a landscaping company.
How To Sort Your Waste?
If you're unsure where to dispose of your used beeswax wrap, please look it up.
Nova Scotia has a handy website (and app) What Goes Where . A search of 'textile' quickly tells us that it can be recycled through three local charities. You can find the details of the charities pictured below, or visiting What Goes Where and searching 'textile'.
Please follow your local sorting guidelines.
Beeswax wraps are made from renewable sources, reused for years, and replace A LOT of single use items, bonus that the cotton can be recycled! Making the small change of using beeswax wraps diverts other items from ending up in the landfill.
Why Are Beeswax Wraps Not Recyclable Locally?
Locally and in my experience, for something to be diverted (saved) from the landfill, there needs to be a buyer on the commodity market.
Pictured below are the Otter Lake Landfill and the Recycling Facility in Bayers Lake. These are the areas where collected waste is dumped before being sorted.
In a high level summary, items that are to be recycled need to have a buyer on the commodity market. The waste is sorted, the items that can be sold on the commodity market are pulled, bailed, and sold.
Just like I won't say Hive to Home Beeswax Wraps ARE compostable or recyclable through the municipal system, I won't say that they AREN'T where facilities exist. There are (amazing) people and places who recycle or reuse textiles (cotton included) and if you are near or able to use those resources great.
Why Are Beeswax Wraps Not Compostable Locally?
For our green bin contents to be successful composted, they need to turn over (compost) within a specific timeframe under specific conditions at the compositing facility. Cotton won't.
Pictured below is where green bin contents are dumped before heading up the conveyor belt.
The Case for Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps remain a sustainable swap for single use items.
More beeswax wraps means less single use coverings are used, which means less greenhouse gases produced to create plastic, less non-renewable (often virgin) sources used to produce single use items, less transportation of these single use items, less collection/ sorting/disposal of the single use items.
Each beeswax wrap can be reused; I have used mine for years. Using a reusable covering like a beeswax wraps helps to alleviate the environmental impact of producing single use coverings, it eases the collection/sorting/ disposal of single use coverings, and the environmental impact of littering. Single use items are often sourced from non-renewable sources, are single use, and are destined for the landfill, as litter, or sold on the commodity market to be recycled. Beeswax wraps are reusable, can be rewaxed, and are make from renewable sources.
Keeping food fresh with a beeswax wrap reduces food waste. This means the food that’s grown isn’t going to waste, including the resources it took to grow the food. It means less food being disposed of in organic bins and collected, transported, and processed which equals less greenhouses gases in transportation and in processing the waste. It also means that people are able to enjoy the food that they worked hard to purchase.