So you’ve decided to stop using aluminum foil in your kitchen… that’s great! Aluminum foil is not the best option (for our health or the environment). Let’s learn more about why this is the case and cover 9 eco friendly alternatives to aluminum foil for all of your cooking, baking, and food storage needs.
Aluminum foil, especially the production of it, is not all that great for the environment or our health and, like plastic wrap, really shouldn’t be anywhere near our food.
A lot of us use foil for everything from cooking to food storage to taking food on the go. It has had its uses in the past for families everywhere but there a plethora of better options to pick from these days.
If you’re looking for eco friendly alternatives to aluminum foil, keep reading! In this blog post will will cover several cost-effective options and best alternatives to use instead. Look out at the end for the aluminum FAQ to learn a little more about why we should stop using aluminum foil with our food.
Why is aluminum bad to use with food?
There are many reasons to avoid using aluminum foil when cooking or serving food. For one, it can easily leach into food, especially if you’re making acidic foods. This can cause health problems, as aluminum is a known neurotoxin.
It is bio-accumulative which means it accumulates in the body and has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The especially increases when the food or drink stored in the aluminum is acidic. Is it really worth the risk to continue to use aluminum foil?
Is aluminum foil environmentally friendly?
No, truthfully the production and degredation of aluminum foil is not all that environmentally friendly.
While it is true that aluminum foil can be recycled (aluminum is actually one of the most easy to recycle products and is reused in products), we also have to keep in mind that many people are not recycling their foil. On top of that, to be recycled it needs to be cleaned and free of food debris.
Mining and manufacturing aluminum requires a lot of energy and resources. These processes can damage the environment and also cause health problems for workers. What is important to note, though, is that creating materials out of recycled aluminum instead of creating new aluminum uses 95% less energy, which is quite significant.
To make aluminum foil, the sheets of metal are run through a continuous mill until they are thinned out to the desire size. Then, they are cold rolled before moving on to being packaged. This is a very energy intensive process that is harmful to the environment.
It can also leach into the groundwater causing contamination. It can also accumulate in plants which is concerning for the food chain. The sooner you can cut aluminum foil out of your kitchen, the better!
What’s more, when sent to the landfill, aluminum takes around 250 years to decompose. Some good news is that around 65% of American aluminum is recycled annually so that means 2/3 of our aluminum is being recycled. The bad news is that this stat is based on aluminum cans, not foil.
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What are some eco friendly alternatives to aluminum foil?
If you’re looking for eco friendly alternatives to aluminum foil, look no further! Keep in mind the swap you will need is dependent on what you would be using your aluminum foil for. For example, you can’t use silicone bags in the oven but you can use a silicone baking mat.
Here are some great options that will help you reduce your impact on the environment:
Beeswax Wraps From Bee’s Wrap
Beeswax food wraps are a great alternative to aluminum foil and can be used to wrap left food, cover bowls, or even store bread! These food-grade beeswax sheets are super easy to use and made to be reusable, washable, and biodegradable.
You make them pliable by using the heat of your hands to shape them. As they cool, say around your bowl of leftover pasta, the wrap forms a seal. It’s that easy! Wash them with cold water and reuse many times over for all kinds of food items.
They are also plastic free and silicone free making them an overall great choice to replace foil! Keep in mind, though, that you can’t use these in the oven or freezer. They are a great way to store leftover foods and reduce food waste.
I love that these are biodegradable – they make a great eco-friendly alternative to cling film, foil, and plastic wrap, are made from raw material, and don’t have any harmful chemicals. They are a more sustainable option that we use frequently in my home.
Bee’s Wrap is a Certified B Corporation (meets high social and environmental performance standards, has made a legal commitment to all stakeholders, and exhibits transparency) that is made in the United States in Vermont. They run about $20 (but often less) for a 3-pack.
Silicone Lids or Silicone Food Covers
These are perfect for covering bowls or pots of food and can be reused over and over again. They come in a huge variety of sizes and are perfect for covering up leftovers to keep in the fridge.
These are made of food-grade silicone and are BPA-free. They can be used in the oven, the microwave, on the stove, and are dishwasher safe. They have a five piece set and a six piece set available and come in a variety of sizes.
Reusable Silicone Storage Bags
Stasher bags are a great eco friendly alternative to aluminum foil because they’re reusable and made of silicone.
They are dishwasher safe and can be used in the oven, microwave, and freezer. Plus, they come in a variety of sizes so you can find the perfect one for storing leftovers or taking food on the go.
You can use these bags to store things in the refrigerator or take with you that you would other wise wrap in plastic or foil. They’re very handy – you can even make popcorn in the microwave with them!
Silicone Baking Mat
A silicone baking mat is a great alternative to using foil when baking. It’s reusable, non-stick, and easy to clean. Plus, it’s oven safe so you can use it for all your baking needs.
The option above from Amazon and is made of food grade silicone. It’s also BPA free and can be used in the oven, microwave, and freezer.
A silicone mat is a better option for baking than foil but make sure you check the max temperature on the one you purchase. They can withstand high heat but often have an upper limit to maintain their integrity.
If you’re looking for a natural and eco friendly alternative to aluminum foil, cedar sheets are a great option. They are perfect for wrapping food, as they are naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. Plus, they are reusable and biodegradable.
These are used for grilling meats or vegetable and add a great smoky element to your grilled experience. You can also use them in the oven. Cedar wood contains no harmful chemicals and is one of the most natural products to add a twist to your cooking methods.
Glass containers are a great way to store food and are perfect for taking leftovers with you on the go. They are reusable, eco friendly, and come in a variety of sizes.
Anchor Hocking is a great option for glass containers as they are made of tempered glass which makes them durable and safe to use in the oven, microwave, and freezer. Plus, they have a variety of sizes available so you can find the perfect one for your needs.
Their TrueSeal containers allow your to prep, bake, store, and reheat all in one container – game-changer.
Non-Stick Bakeware From Caraway
If you’re looking for an eco friendly, non-toxic, and reusable alternative to aluminum foil, Caraway’s non-stick bakeware is a great option. It’s made of coated ceramic and is PFOA and PTFE free.
Their non-toxic, non-stick surface technology makes it a breeze to bake without the use of aluminum foil or parchment paper. It is also incredibly easy to clean and a joy to use.
You could also opt for stainless steel cookware. Investing in quality cookware is worth it in the long run to invest in quality cookware.
If You Care Parchment Paper
Unbleached parchment paper is another great alternative to using aluminum foil when baking. It’s heat-resistant and non-stick so your food will come out perfect every time. Plus, it’s easy to find and usually comes in a roll that will last you a long time. I personally love the If You Care brand because it is unbleached and chlorine-free.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using parchment paper. First, it’s not reusable so you will need to use a new sheet for each batch of cookies or cake you make. Second, it can’t be used in the microwave. But other than that, it’s a great alternative to using aluminum foil!
If You Care Aluminum Foil
If you really can’t give up foil, the brand If You Care makes aluminum foil that is made with 100% recycled aluminum.
Their process uses 95% less energy to produce their aluminum foil because it is all previously recycled material. This means there is no need for mining for aluminum.
Their thicker foil can be used on the barbecue and on the grill.
Aluminum Foil FAQ
Where does aluminum foil come from?
The process to make aluminum foil starts with the mining of bauxite, a rock that is primarily composed of aluminum oxide. Once the bauxite is mined, it is then refined into alumina, or aluminum oxide. From there, the alumina is smelted and made into aluminum metal which is then turned into sheets that are thinned out at high temperatures to create what we know as aluminum foil.
Is there a difference between aluminum foil and tin foil?
Yes, there is a difference between aluminum foil and tin foil!
Tin foil is actually made out of a different metal: tin. Tin has been used for centuries to help preserve food and keep it fresh. However, it is not as popular these days because it can leach into food and cause a metallic taste. It is also quite expensive.
Tin foil is not as pliable as aluminum and can be harder to work with. It also doesn’t conduct heat as well, so it’s not the best choice for cooking. For these reasons, most people prefer to use aluminum foil.
Tin foil was mostly discontinued after World War II in favor of aluminum foil.
What can be used instead of aluminum foil in baking?
There are several alternatives to using aluminum foil when baking. Parchment paper is one option that works well, as it’s heat-resistant and non-stick. Silicone baking mats are also a good option, as they’re non-stick and easy to clean.
You can also use non-stick cookware like the Bakeware set from Caraway to ensure an even bake that doesn’t stick to the pan. A non-stick baking sheet can eliminate a lot of need for aluminium foil.
What can be used instead of aluminum foil for grilling?
There are several alternatives to using aluminum foil when grilling. One option is to use metal cookware or cast iron skillets. Lodge makes really affordable high quality cast iron that is perfect for this.
You can also use grilling baskets, a grilling plank, cedar wraps, or a salt plate to cook on the grill without the use of aluminum foil.
In Summary: Eco Friendly Alternatives To Aluminum Foil
So there you have it, some eco friendly alternatives to aluminum foil that will help you reduce your impact on the environment! I hope this list of best aluminum foil alternatives gave you some inspiration to make some swaps in your kitchen and find a better option.
What are your favorite ways to reduce your use of aluminum foil? Share in the comments below!
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