Vegan Living 101: Is Beeswax Vegan? + Ethical options
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Beeswax is produced by… beautiful buzzy bees! Beeswax is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in cosmetics, candles and food wraps!
Most of us rely on plastic wrap to help us keep our food fresh. We cover sandwiches, opened food containers, and half-eaten meals. The push towards a minimum plastic consumption is no doubt a positive move for the environment.
To get around this problem, many people are switching to beeswax wraps. However, if you’re vegan, you might be concerned about whether these wraps are animal friendly as well as environmentally friendly.
Beeswax – and beeswax wraps – are not vegan, but sometimes they’re ethically made. Plus, there are vegan wax wraps that you can use as an alternative.
What Are Beeswax Wraps?
Beeswax wraps are a piece of cloth that has been coated in… beeswax – that is wax produced by bees!
So, before we jump into whether or not they’re vegan, let’s talk answer the question “what are beeswax wraps.” That will give us a better understanding of whether or not the wraps are truly vegan.
As mentioned, beeswax wraps are made out of a piece of organic cloth fabric coated in jojoba oil and beeswax. The result is a malleable yet firm wrap that you can use to cover foods, jars, and tons of other items.
Many people turn to beeswax wraps because they’re an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic wraps. These wraps are biodegradable and don’t harm the environment during the production process, making them a great eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap.
Are Beeswax Wraps Suitable for Vegans?
When it comes to determining whether or not beeswax wraps are suitable for vegans, it’s important to understand that there are two main types of vegans:
- Ethical vegans
- Dietary vegans
While neither one of these types of vegans would be comfortable consuming beeswax, they do have different views on insect products.
Ethical vegans view insects such as bees and silkworms as animals and have concerns about the ethical treatment of these bugs. In contrast, dietary vegans focus more on foods that can be ingested rather than on animal treatment. Of course, the things are not mutually exclusive and some people become vegan as they are concerned both about diet and ethical issues in food products.
The reason why many ethical vegans take issue with beeswax wraps is that they view the production of beeswax as bee exploitation. Harvesting the wax can damage beehives, with many companies focusing on profit rather than ethical treatment of the bees.
In contrast, dietary vegans may not be concerned with these issues. Since they are not consuming beeswax or are not vegan for an ethical reason, beeswax production may not be an issue.
What Is a Vegan Alternative to Beeswax Wraps?
If you still want to use beeswax wraps as a vegan, don’t panic!
There are a few vegan alternatives that you can use so that you can still avoid traditional plastic wraps without contributing to bee exploitation.
Many companies create wax wraps that use different waxes made from plants, rather than using beeswax. These work essentially the same way as beeswax wraps and are great for vegans who have ethical concerns about beeswax wraps.
If you’re going to seek out your own vegan alternatives to beeswax wraps, it’s important to know that there’s no governing body to determine whether products are truly vegan. However, a couple of organizations do endorse vegan products.
The Vegan Society is a group that applies its logo to products that make valid vegan claims. Leaping Bunny is an organization that verifies that no animal testing was used to make the products. Looking for these logos can help you ensure you’re purchasing a truly vegan product.
If you’d rather, you can also purchase your own materials and create beeswax wraps of your own. Source beeswax from local farmers who only harvest surplus honey and beeswax so that you know no bees were harmed in the process and DIY your wraps!
How to Make Your Own Vegan Wax Wraps
If you choose to go the DIY route, you can easily make a vegan alternative to beeswax wraps from the comfort of your home. It’s a great way to start saving the planet AND the bees.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- Grated carnauba or candelilla wax
- Organic cotton cloth swatches
- An oven
To make the wraps, start by cutting a few swatches out of cotton cloth. We recommend cutting a few different sized pieces so that you can have various sized wraps to cover your foods.
Next, place the cotton on a baking tray and preheat your oven to 300ºF. While the oven is warming up, sprinkle the carnauba or candelilla wax over the cotton.
Then, place the tray in the oven and allow the wax to melt and infuse into the fabric. This should take about five minutes.
After the wax has fully melted into the fabric, carefully remove it from the oven. Lift the fabric up off the tray by the corners of the cloth and hang dry it.
Once the cloth is completely dry, you can fold it and store it away for when you’re ready to use it! Or, immediately spread the fabric out over some food that you need to store in your refrigerator.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about whether or not beeswax wraps are vegan? Check out these answers to your questions.
Is beeswax cruelty free?
Beeswax can be cruelty-free but it’s not guaranteed to be. It’s important to read the labels on any beeswax you purchase to make sure that it was ethically produced. Your best bet is to look for the Leaping Bunny logo, which verifies that no animals were harmed in the production of the wax.
What is ethical beekeeping vs commercial beekeeping?
Ethical beekeeping is beekeeping in which the farmers pay careful attention to the health of the bees and the hive. Typically ethical beekeepers only harvest excess wax that doesn’t cause damage to the beehive.
In contrast, commercial beekeeping is focused on producing products for a profit. Commercial beekeepers harvest as much honey and wax as they can, often at the cost of the health of the bees.