Living sustainably and protecting our environment has never been more important - and for the 8th year of our annual summer celebration, we are once again championing eco-friendliness and a plastic free culture at The English Country Garden Festival.
So what's the best eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrapping when it comes our day to day living we here you ask? Re-usable bamboo cups and bio-degradeable tumblers aside, we caught up with a new exhibitor to the English Country Garden Festival 2019, Nette Hargreaves - owner of Bee Wrapped to give us all some pointers when it comes to reducing our use of single use plastic…
Tell us about Bee Wrapped – what is it that you do and whereabouts are you based?
We are based in Dartington, and make beeswax wraps and products that are practical and pretty to help our customers reduce their use of single use plastics.
What inspired you to set up the business, and what did you do prior to that?
I had heard about beeswax food wraps for a while and as a serial creative I’d figured I’d make my own someday. I met company founder Leah on a rainy day at Totnes Market and bombarded her with a barrage of curious questions about how to make the wraps - and at the end of our conversation she casually dropped into the conversation that she might be selling her business… and just like the good old fashioned romance movies, I said YES!
Prior to taking on Bee Wrapped in 2018, I worked in hotels. I now enjoy building my business, alongside running a small Airbnb - and I like to write when inspiration strikes too!
What are Bee Wrapped wraps made of and how do they work?
Our food wraps are handmade with 100% cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax, tree resin, organic jojoba oil and lots of love. When you use them, it’s the heat from your hands that activates the wax just enough to mould the wraps either around your food or a container such as a bowl of leftovers.
Our wraps can be shaped to accommodate many different foods. Both the wax and resin have antibacterial properties that also help to keep your food fresh for longer.
As the plastic free alternative to cling film – what do you recommend are the best uses for bee wrapped wraps around the home or whilst out and about?
You can use our beeswax food wraps for just about anything that you could previously have used cling film for – either to wrap foods such as sandwiches, carrot sticks and other snacks, to cover half cut vegetables as well as bowls, plates and small casserole dishes. We also offer bread wraps that seal in the bread’s natural moisture and keep it fresh for longer.
While out, you can use our food wraps to carry sandwich lunches and snacks. They are ideal for picnics as they fold down nice and small once the food has been eaten and save you from carrying lots of empty food containers.
How can people store and look after their wraps, and how long do they generally tend to last?
You simply gently wash your wraps after each use in cool soapy water and let them air dry at room temperature. We do not recommend using our wraps with hot items, in the freezer or with fresh meat or fish. When looked after, a wrap will last about 12 months, or even a little longer. And when it is time to replace them, you can either compost them or use them as fire starters for camp fires and wood burners.
What are your best tips for a house hold wishing to switch from using tin foil and cling film to bees wax wraps?
It really depends on your general approach to life and on how much cling film or tin foil you are currently using. When I first started using beeswax food wraps, I already was using very little cling film but I had developed lots of work arounds (such as covering bowls with saucers, etc) and I was able to let go of these and just go back to the convenience of covering my food easily and effortlessly.
I’m an “all in” sort of person, so for my small family I bought the biggest pack that Bee Wrapped was offering at the time (before I bought the entire venture!).
Some of my customers prefer to start with a smaller pack, or even just a few single wraps, and buy more as they go along. Other customers go for the “all in” approach as I did, and many people who enjoy using the wraps buy them as gifts for others.
In the face of global pollution, it can often feel that as one person, one family, changing our actions can hardly make a difference yet we know that change starts with us. No action is too small to matter.
Tell us about the product range you offer – and what can The English Country Garden Festival visitors expect to find when they explore your stall on 1st and 2nd of June.
We currently offer Bee Wrapped food wraps in the following sizes: Small – 15/15cm, Medium – 20/20cm, Large – 30/30cm and bread wraps – 50/50cm.
Buying one of our multi-packs ensures you have a variety of sizes. Our Bee Basic pack is aimed at singles, couples and smaller households, and our Bee Plus pack is aimed at families and serious foodies!
That being said, I have had singles buy Bee Plus packs too - to really make the most of the product in as many ways possible!
Apart from attending summer shows and events with your products, where else might our visitors buy Bee wrapped wraps?
Anyone is welcome to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and I can take email orders and offer free first class shipping within the UK.
The website is under construction at present - I am a maker of things you see, so in all honesty getting a fully functioning web shop up and running has been a challenging endeavour! But it is a work in progress (soon to be outsourced!).
What’s next for Bee Wrapped? Where do you hope to see your business in a years time?
A website would be a good start! On a serious note, we really enjoy interacting with our customers directly at markets and events and are also working towards having Bee Wrapped stocked in selected shops and food outlets.
I’m excited to say we supplied our first retailer last month! A milestone for us, and the first of many I hope.
We are also planning a “Bee Wrapped Club” where customers can join and receive a wrap every month as a way of spreading costs and supporting people in switching from single use plastic gradually.
And finally, what do you love most about your business?
I love making things that are both useful and beautiful, and that also have a positive impact on the environment whilst working in a flexible way that accommodates my family and my other personal interests.
Huge thanks to Nette for taking the time to share this interesting information about Bee Wrapped with us in the lead up to the festival - we are sure they will be popular with many of our visitors this weekend!
You’lll be able to find Nettes’ stand located within our top terrace Craft Marquees.
Gates to the festival will be open from 10am until 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
The weather is set to be kind this year - and with that, we look forward to another great show!