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Building buzz about bees

 Kids are learning the power of bees.

 

The Bee Cause Project, based in South Carolina, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering students, teachers, and community members to learn about—and protect—the bees.

 

The Bee Cause Project offers STEAM-based curriculum and educational hives to build learning opportunities in classrooms and communities. The organization, which launched in 2013 and has partnered with Bees Wrap since 2017, aims to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.

 

 

 

Building Buzz About Bees

 

Ted Dennard and Tami Enright, co-founders of The Bee Cause Project, joined forces nearly a decade ago after growing frustrated by their children’s detachment from the natural world.  Dennard, founder of the Savannah Bee Company in Georgia, and Enright, a beekeeper and environmental educator in South Carolina, were troubled by their children’s lack of understanding about where their food comes from and the role that nature plays.

 

 

“Ted and Tami both live by the beach with their families, and they are very in tune with nature,” says Megan Swanson, programs manager of The Bee Cause Project. “However, they were finding that their kids weren’t really learning in school about how connected we are with nature, or how that connectedness makes us stronger as communities.”

 

Since its inception, The Bee Cause Project has provided grants to more than 550 schools and organizations, helping hundreds of children, teachers, and communities across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas.

 

 

The grants are known as Bee Grants, which are made possible largely in part through a partnership with the Whole Kids Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Whole Foods Market. The Bee Grants help guide K-12 schools and nonprofits—such as libraries, museums, and nature centers—through the process of installing and maintaining their own educational hives and pollinator curriculum.

 

 

Over the past three years, Bee’s Wrap has partnered with The Bee Cause to sponsor observational hives at three elementary schools: North Branch School in Ripton, Vermont, Bingham Memorial School in Cornwall, Vermont, and the Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

 

Bee a Friend to Pollinators Curriculum

 

In 2020, The Bee Cause Project approached Bee’s Wrap to sponsor its new curriculum, Bee a Friend to Pollinators, which was developed in partnership with Clemson Cooperative Extension.  The curriculum is Common Core compliant and helps children explore their homes, school campuses, libraries, nature centers, and outdoor spaces for pollinator habitat readiness. 

 

 

For Swanson, who joined The Bee Cause Project two years ago, the ability to offer ready-to-go, Common Core compliant lesson plans that can be used in classrooms, schools, or from a distance was one of her goals for the organization.

 

“We want people to visit locations and be able to go home and have ownership. Even if a child lives in an apartment on the 35th floor in a big city, we want them to be able to walk to a local park and say, ‘OK, I can still do this lesson plan, and I have ownership over this greenspace because it’s in my city,’” Swanson says. “We don’t ever want kids to feel like they don’t have accessibility to every single lesson plan. And this is why the Bee a Friend to Pollinators curriculum is so great.”

 

The curriculum is specifically developed for children in grades 3 to 5, but Swanson envisions the plan to grow over the years and be adapted for middle school and high school students.

 

So far, the Bee a Friend to Pollinators curriculum has been shared with 2,500 educators, and Swanson anticipates the demand will only grow from there.

 

 

“With this specific lesson plan, our objectives are to make exploring habitats accessible for everyone,” Swanson says. “Whether it’s your school campus, backyard, local park, or a little patch of grass on the sidewalk, they all have the potential to be a healthy habitat for pollinators. Ultimately, we want to strengthen the connection to our shared environment with pollinators, enabling bees and curious minds alike to thrive.”

 

 

 

Find a copy of The Bee Cause’s Bee a Friend to Pollinators curriculum on TheBeeCause.org.

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From The Hive
Building buzz about bees

 Kids are learning the power of bees.

 

The Bee Cause Project, based in South Carolina, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering students, teachers, and community members to learn about—and protect—the bees.

 

The Bee Cause Project offers STEAM-based curriculum and educational hives to build learning opportunities in classrooms and communities. The organization, which launched in 2013 and has partnered with Bees Wrap since 2017, aims to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.

 

 

 

Building Buzz About Bees

 

Ted Dennard and Tami Enright, co-founders of The Bee Cause Project, joined forces nearly a decade ago after growing frustrated by their children’s detachment from the natural world.  Dennard, founder of the Savannah Bee Company in Georgia, and Enright, a beekeeper and environmental educator in South Carolina, were troubled by their children’s lack of understanding about where their food comes from and the role that nature plays.

 

 

“Ted and Tami both live by the beach with their families, and they are very in tune with nature,” says Megan Swanson, programs manager of The Bee Cause Project. “However, they were finding that their kids weren’t really learning in school about how connected we are with nature, or how that connectedness makes us stronger as communities.”

 

Since its inception, The Bee Cause Project has provided grants to more than 550 schools and organizations, helping hundreds of children, teachers, and communities across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas.

 

 

The grants are known as Bee Grants, which are made possible largely in part through a partnership with the Whole Kids Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Whole Foods Market. The Bee Grants help guide K-12 schools and nonprofits—such as libraries, museums, and nature centers—through the process of installing and maintaining their own educational hives and pollinator curriculum.

 

 

Over the past three years, Bee’s Wrap has partnered with The Bee Cause to sponsor observational hives at three elementary schools: North Branch School in Ripton, Vermont, Bingham Memorial School in Cornwall, Vermont, and the Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

 

Bee a Friend to Pollinators Curriculum

 

In 2020, The Bee Cause Project approached Bee’s Wrap to sponsor its new curriculum, Bee a Friend to Pollinators, which was developed in partnership with Clemson Cooperative Extension.  The curriculum is Common Core compliant and helps children explore their homes, school campuses, libraries, nature centers, and outdoor spaces for pollinator habitat readiness. 

 

 

For Swanson, who joined The Bee Cause Project two years ago, the ability to offer ready-to-go, Common Core compliant lesson plans that can be used in classrooms, schools, or from a distance was one of her goals for the organization.

 

“We want people to visit locations and be able to go home and have ownership. Even if a child lives in an apartment on the 35th floor in a big city, we want them to be able to walk to a local park and say, ‘OK, I can still do this lesson plan, and I have ownership over this greenspace because it’s in my city,’” Swanson says. “We don’t ever want kids to feel like they don’t have accessibility to every single lesson plan. And this is why the Bee a Friend to Pollinators curriculum is so great.”

 

The curriculum is specifically developed for children in grades 3 to 5, but Swanson envisions the plan to grow over the years and be adapted for middle school and high school students.

 

So far, the Bee a Friend to Pollinators curriculum has been shared with 2,500 educators, and Swanson anticipates the demand will only grow from there.

 

 

“With this specific lesson plan, our objectives are to make exploring habitats accessible for everyone,” Swanson says. “Whether it’s your school campus, backyard, local park, or a little patch of grass on the sidewalk, they all have the potential to be a healthy habitat for pollinators. Ultimately, we want to strengthen the connection to our shared environment with pollinators, enabling bees and curious minds alike to thrive.”

 

 

 

Find a copy of The Bee Cause’s Bee a Friend to Pollinators curriculum on TheBeeCause.org.

Supporting a community driven project to sew face masks

Volunteers across the USA are making face masks to support healthcare and other essential workers in need of protection against the COVID 19 Virus. The CDC has approved fabric masks as a last resort option due to shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

There are lots of resources that offer tips and tricks to sewing face masks, here are a few of our lessons learned:

Materials
  • 100% cotton is preferred for its breathability and holds up to multiple washings
  • Use of a sewing machine provides consistency to ensure no missed seams
  • Most face mask construction requires two pieces of precut fabric
  • Masks can be tied to the face with fabric
  • Fabric ties are good options because they can hold up to multiple washings and bleaching
  •  Elastic can also be sewn into the fabric to ensure the mask is fitted properly
  • ¼” flat elastic works best, wider elastic can be cut in narrow strips if needed
  • Fabric pins
  • Thread
    Design

    Resources we use for making face masks that are published by Healthcare Communities:

    Download PDF Instructions

    Sewing Machine Demonstration using Elastic Ties

    Face mask Design with Fabric Ties

    How to Hand Sew a Face Mask


    Bee’s Wrap is working on a small scale using volunteer sewing enthusiasts to craft face masks in our local community to health and elder care facilities in need. We regret we do not have the capacity to sell face masks as part of this project.

    How to keep your food fresh longer

    You’re staying home and taking care of your loved ones. You’re converting your kitchen table into makeshift office space and a temporary classroom. You’re putting social distancing into practice. 

    This new reality means slowing down and staying healthy. That includes fewer trips to the grocery store and getting more mileage out of meals. Properly storing fruits, vegetables, herbs, bread, and leftovers can help keep your refrigerator and pantry well-stocked during this challenging time. 

     

    Here are some easy ways to store fruit, vegetables, herbs, and bread with Bee's Wrap that will keep your food tasting fresh.

     

    Berries

    Berries are everyone’s favorite until mold makes an appearance. For longer shelf life, rinse blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries in a mix of vinegar and water (1 part vinegar, 2 parts water) to disinfect against mold. Rinse in plain water, and be sure your berries are dry before wrapping and refrigerating (try folding a medium or large wrap into a pouch!) Avoid storing in the crisper drawer to stave off humidity. 

     

    Apples

    Sliced apples are a perfect go-to snack, but leftovers can turn brown and mushy quickly, thanks to ethylene gas—a natural plant hormone that sets off the ripening process. To keep apple slices longer, soak them in a bowl of cold salt water to prevent oxidation—but use no more than a half-teaspoon of salt per quart of water. After five minutes, dry and use a small wrap for your slices and store in the fridge. 


    Bananas 

    Ethylene gas is also what causes bananas to ripen. To slow the process, separate each banana from the bunch and wrap each individual stem to stop the spread of ethylene gas. If your bananas are already too ripe for your taste, peel, wrap, and store them in the freezer for a future smoothie treat. 


    Oranges

    Oranges will keep for a couple of days at room temperature, but the best way to store them is in the refrigerator. Oranges keep well at room temperature for about one week. Any longer will cause the oranges to wrinkle and lose flavor. If you wrap and refrigerate, oranges will typically keep for about 3 to 4 weeks.  


    Lemons

    If the dish or drink you’re making requires just a squeeze of lemon, puncture the whole lemon with a fork rather than cutting it in half.  Squeeze what you need without drying out the whole lemon. To store, wrap and refrigerate. 


    Avocados

    Enzymes in avocado produce a brown pigment when exposed to oxygen. It doesn’t take long for half an avocado or a bowl of guacamole to look less than appealing. To avoid browning, use a dash of lemon or lime juice. The citric acid will help prevent browning for at least 24 hours. You can also try storing avocado slices with large chunks of onion for preservation. Just be sure the onion touches only the skin of the avocado. 


    Carrots 

    Carrots can look tired pretty quickly. To make them last, chop off the leafy greens if you bought them whole. Carrots do best with moisture. So, for best results, put them in a bowl filled with water, seal with a large wrap and store in the refrigerator.

    Tomatoes
    Whether you store tomatoes in the refrigerator or on your counter, it’s important to cover the stem end of a tomato—if it’s already fully detached from the stem and vine—to delay spoiling. You can flip the tomatoes upside down on the counter, or place a piece of tape over the stem scar. Ripe tomatoes can stay on the counter in a single layer as long as they are not touching each other. Overripe tomatoes will fare better in your fridge. Before eating refrigerated tomatoes, take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature to restore flavor. 


    Lettuce

    Store leftover leaves in a bowl with a paper towel on top, then seal with a reusable food wrap. Moisture is the culprit for turning leaves soggy and brown, so the paper towel works to absorbs moisture. Replace the towel when it becomes damp. Also, try putting a dash of salt on the lettuce, which also helps draw out extra wetness.


    Herbs

    If you buy herbs at the grocery store, remove all packaging as well as any brown or slimy bits. Rinse in cold water quickly and thoroughly, then blot them dry. A salad spinner can help remove additional water. Transfer the herbs in a single layer. Wrap and place in the fridge, preferably in the crisper drawer. 


    Bread

    A fresh loaf of bread is best eaten within a few days. Freezing is the best way to preserve bread for the longest time possible. If you’re planning on eating your bread within a few days, keep it stored in a cool and dry area (not on top of the refrigerator or near the dishwasher). A reusable bread wrap or bread bag is your best bet for freezing and storing. 


    Made in Vermont, Bee’s Wrap is made with organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. This combination of ingredients creates a malleable food wrap that can be used over and over. Washable, reusable, and compostable, Bee’s Wrap allows food to breathe and keeps food fresher for longer. 

    Letter from sarah: business can’t afford to be silent on climate change

    For a long time, conventional wisdom had it that companies shouldn’t tackle hot-button political issues. That’s advice borne out of fear: the fear that, in exchange for voicing our opinions, we risk angering customers or losing sales. 

    As the founder and CEO of Bee’s Wrap, I’m motivated these days by a greater fear: that, should our elected officials fail to act on the crisis of climate change, the damage we cause to our planet will be irreversible, negatively impacting our families, our communities, and our ecosystems forever.

    As a Certified B Corp, Bee’s Wrap is committed to using business as a force for good. We make sustainable products that reduce single-use plastics, use environmentally friendly and safe ingredients, and are constantly looking for additional ways to reduce our carbon footprint. I am proud to run my company in a state that values these things too, but I know that together, we can do more. This year, Bee’s Wrap added its voice to the collective commitment of the Vermont business community to do better for our environment.

    On Thursday, Jan. 23, Bee’s Wrap joined dozens of other Vermont businesses to advocate at the Statehouse for climate action policies in 2020. We participated in training, lobbying, and a press conference, as well as individual and group meetings with corresponding representatives.

    While the Green Mountain State has a history of innovative environmental policies, the current climate challenges require audacious solutions. This legislative term, our lawmakers have the opportunity to pass more ambitious and much-needed policy. 

    I feel it is important that our elected officials hear from the Vermont business community, as we are important stakeholders in Vermont’s economy and have an impact on the environment we all share. Our team joined others from companies like Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Danforth Pewter, and Brattleboro Savings and Loan, along with environmental nonprofits VPIRG and 350VT, to speak directly to our elected officials and we urged them to take immediate action. Bee’s Wrap’s focus is on reducing the usage and availability of single-use plastics, increasing the accessibility of renewable energy, and prioritizing the reduction of climate pollution, and we support the comprehensive 2020 climate policy agenda outlined by VPIRG. 

    Vermont’s small size and long history of participatory democracy provides an opportunity for Vermont business (and individual Vermonters) to have direct, substantial, face-to-face conversations with their own state representatives and legislative leaders. Bee’s Wrap participated in this event to advocate for our business values and shared priorities for bold climate action. We did this alongside our corporate peers, demonstrating together that the need for action is vital and urgent. I am proud to have led Bee’s Wrap in the participation of this direct demonstration of our core values and am excited to continue advocating for the necessary change that our state and world need.

    How to go zero(ish)-waste in the new year

    “How do I start living a low waste life?”

    We hear that question a lot. Starting to live a low waste lifestyle in a world that seems to run on single-use plastic can be very intimidating. With the New Year rolling in and climate advocacy stepping up, now is a great time to start adopting more sustainable habits. We put together some simple steps to help with starting your zero(ish)-waste journey.

    plastic free fridge
    First, let’s start with the facts.
    Mass production of plastic started just 6 decades ago and has generated over 8.3 billion tons. And of that, only 9% has been recycled globally.

    Worldwide, about 2 million plastic bags are used every minute.

    Of those 2 million bags, the average time that each is used is a mere 12 minutes — yet each one takes up to a thousand years to decompose.

    Plastic is killing more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year.

    Globally, we throw away 7.2 million tons of food every year, with more than half of it being edible.

    Speaking of which, if food waste was considered a country it would be third in the world (after the United States and China) for carbon emissions.

    jar of dry beans with bees wrap
    Scary, right? So what do we do?

    First, Inventory Your Waste: Get your hands dirty and organize all your trash into categories: recyclable paper, glass, tin, plastic, compostables, and landfill-bound. What are you producing the most of? Where can you see yourself reducing?

    Next, Swap It Out: Once you understand what you are tossing the most of, decide what to swap out. Are you disposing of a lot of cotton balls? Try washable cloth rounds. Too many plastic bottles in your recycling? Switch to a reusable bottle. Overload of plastic baggies? Try our lunch pack to keep your to-go meals plastic-free. Make the switch and watch your piles lower!

    Don’t stop revisiting your inventory. After you make the first substitutes, what’s next? One small change can make a BIG difference. Let’s say you replace 1 plastic bag in your lunch with Bee’s Wrap. That saves 240 bags a year from entering a landfill, or worse (and more likely) the ocean.

    drying rack with bees wrap
    Keep in mind that these habit shifts take time. It’s not just about choosing alternative products, it’s about transitioning your lifestyle, and change takes time.

    Why Zero(ish)-Waste? Because we recognize how living a more sustainable, eco-friendly life is a privilege. To truly make a world-wide difference it requires systemic change, as well as changes on an individual level. Not everyone has access to products, conveniences, or the education that goes into living this lifestyle. But every step and every change can make a BIG difference. We encourage everyone to do what they can with what fits their lifestyle. We all share the same home — let’s help each other by helping to protect it.

    So let’s start this new year off right by aiming to make at least one sustainable habit switch. At Bee’s Wrap, we’re committing to regular waste audits to reduce and reuse as much as we can. We want to know: what are your sustainability plans for 2020? Tag us — @beeswrap #BeesWrapVT

    Your 2019 socially conscious gift guide

    The holidays are a magical time. We’re thinking about warm spices wafting out of the kitchen, and homemade loaves of sourdough bread baking — about long, cheery family gatherings, playing games and making crafts together, snowy days, and the joy of watching a loved one unwrap a thoughtful gift.

    But behind all of this, we know, are the mounds of trash we will produce between November and New Years — a whopping 25% more, in fact, than any other time of year. We’re tossing leftover food and shopping bags and plastic packaging; holiday cards, bows, and all that waxed cardboard from children’s toys (which is often not recyclable); wrapping paper, ribbon (read: plastic), lights, and decorations.

    Which leads us to the question: what can we do to have a more sustainable holiday?

    Let’s start this season by shopping with intention. One of the easiest ways we can advocate for our planet and for producing less waste is by voting with our wallets and choosing who to buy our gifts from.

    Which is why we’re partnering with 4 other companies this month on our Socially Conscious Gift Guide, who are dedicated, like us, to using business as a force for good in the world. As you're jotting down your lists and perusing online, be sure to check out these inspiring companies, choosing to do business just a little differently. And what’s more? They’re offering you some special deals this month only. Read on for more details!

    Paper Culture

    Spice up your holiday cards with sustainable stationery from Paper Culture. This certified Green Business adds sustainability into their mission by making all products from 100% post-consumer recycled paper, offsetting their carbon footprint, and planting a tree for every order — they've planted over 1,000,000 trees to date! They're offering 50% off holiday cards with the code GIVEBACK.

     ECOlunchbox

    Opting to BYOL is a great first step for those wanting to be more eco-conscious. Encourage sustainable habits with non-toxic, plastic-free ECOlunchboxes. Stock your friends and family up with bento boxes, snack containers, lunch bags, and utensils — all from a women-owned, mission-driven family business. ECOlunchbox is offering 20% off sitewide with code GIVEBACK.

    Seaweed Bath Company

    What's better than natural bath products? Bath products with a mission! Seaweed Bath Company strives to energize people from head to toe with natural products that draw from the healing powers of the ocean. Pamper the self-care enthusiast on your list with innovative, green products that help to detoxify, repair, and protect skin and hair. They're offering 20% off sitewide with code GIVEBACK.

    Lake Champlain Chocolates

    We all know our sweet tooth gets heightened during the holidays. Feed into those cravings and gift sweet treats from Lake Champlain Chocolates. A Certified B Corp that's committed not only to being the best chocolate in the world, but to being the best for the world. Lake Champlain Chocolates is offering 10% off first purchase with code GIVEBACK.

    How to make caring for your reusables easier
    Voted best for the world!

    Since 2012, Bee’s Wrap has been committed to eliminating single-use plastics in homes by creating a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food. Today, we are over the moon to announce that we've been voted onto the B Corporation's Best For The World 2019 list among the top 10% of all B Corps protecting the environment! 

    Last week, B Corporations released their Best For The World 2019 list. Best For The World is a program that B Lab runs to celebrate the leading companies in each of the categories that are measured in the B Impact Assessment (Overall, Community, Environment, Workers, Governance, and Customers). Bee’s Wrap is an honoree on the Best For Environment list.

    This year, more than 1,000 B Corps from 44 countries made the lists, including movement leaders like Patagonia, Beautycounter, Dr. Bronner’s, TOMS, Seventh Generation, and Greyston Bakery.

    To become an honoree on the Best For Environment list, our company scored in the top 10 percent of all Certified B Corps on the Environment category of the B Impact Assessment! The Environment section evaluates our environmental performance through our facility, materials, emissions, and resource and energy use.  

    The assessment also measures whether our products are designed to solve an environmental issuewhich, of course, they do! Bee's Wrap was created to not only reduce waste and prevent toxic plastic pollution, but also to promote the sustainable use of resources and land/wildlife conservation.

    We are also deeply committed to educating our local and global communities on ways we can solve these environmental problems. We are proud to partner with organizations such as The Bee Cause Project, 1% for the Planet, 5 Gyres, and National Geographic to do this.


    You may be asking... What is a B Corporation?

    Certified B Corporations use business as a force for good, solving social and environmental problems in a way that’s good for people and the planet. Certified by the B Lab, an international nonprofit overseeing the network of B Corps, these companies must meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Today there are more than 2,700 B Corps in 67 countries.

    B Corp Certification evaluates more than a product or service: It also looks at a company’s impact on workers, customers, community, and environment. B Corp Certification means a company is committed to: verified performance, as assessed by the independent B Lab; legal accountability, in the form of amended legal governing documents to require the balance of profit and purpose; and public transparency.


    So... Now what?

    We’re so honored to be a part of the Best For The World 2019 list. But that doesn’t mean our work here is done! We're working hard to continuously improve the way we do business: more proactive giving, more advocating for social and environmental justice, and partnering with important representatives, businesses, and people that share our desire to do good. 

    At Bee's Wrap, we work every day to create simple, sustainable solutions to challenge single-use consumption. We consider the impact of our footprint, putting the environment first in all our business practices. Please, join us in our journey of rejecting the throwaway, one kitchen at a time. 

    Check out the other awesome businesses that made the list here, including two other Vermont companies, Seventh Generation & SunCommon.

    https://bcorporation.net/2019-best-for-the-world-environment

    Why biodegradability matters

    Plastic is forever. Bee’s Wrap isn’t. And that’s by design.


    Bee’s Wrap is naturally biodegradable and compostable. We started making Bee’s Wrap after growing deeply concerned about the persistent effect of plastics on our planet. Plastic never leaves us. It lingers in landfills for centuries. It enters our soil, our waterways, and our oceans, breaking down into tiny but ever-present pieces.


    We set out to make an alternative, and we knew from the beginning that whatever we made needed to be biodegradable. That’s because we believe in considering the entire life of the products we make and consume, from their creation and manufacturing to their eventual end. Where does a product come from? How is it made? And crucially, what happens when we no longer need or use this item?


    This is where biodegradability comes in: A product that is biodegradable can be easily returned to the earth. It’s a technology as old as time, and everything made in nature returns to nature with time. There’s no complicated recycling process, and no need to send your Bee’s Wrap off to a special facility. Made from four simple ingredients, Bee’s Wrap comes from the earth, and is designed to return to the earth. 


    Importantly, what you do with naturally biodegradable materials matters. Modern landfills are lined and packed tightly, creating an oxygen-poor environment where even food can take decades to decompose. One study conducted by the University of Arizona uncovered 25-year-old hotdogs, corncobs, and grapes, as well as 50-year-old newspapers that were still readable. Food waste that decomposes in landfills also generates methane gas, which has 34 times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide, according to Project Drawdown, a coalition of researchers working on climate change solutions. 


    This is why composting is so important; food waste, yard waste, and other organic material holds valuable nutrients that can be returned to the soil after decomposition. The same is true for Bee’s Wrap. When your wrap has reached the end of its useful life — typically after about a year of regular use and proper care in your kitchen — you can use your wraps as a natural fire starter, or you can add them directly to your backyard compost pile. With a little time and the right environmental conditions, your Bee’s Wrap will break down into nutritious compost that you can use in your backyard garden. 


    We’ve designed Bee’s Wrap to be hardworking, a trusty companion in your kitchen and on the go as you seek out plastic-free alternatives that are good for you and the planet. As your Bee’s Wrap begins to wear out, we hope you’ll look on those signs of wear and use as a welcome reminder of the natural cycles that surround us.

    The joy of inconvenience

    Choosing inconvenience can be an act of quiet revolution. 

    For too long, we’ve been told that convenience will cure what ails us. How convenient, to find our meals prepackaged in the freezer section of our grocery store, our bread baked and sliced and stowed in plastic bags. It’s convenient to pop a load of laundry in the dryer and to have our work at our fingertips, forever accessible on the devices we carry in our pockets. We click a button and, conveniently, that which we need — or think we need — arrives on our doorstep: underwear, paper towels, a birthday gift, a box of cereal.

    We don’t talk often enough about how convenience can harm us. For the convenience of a smartphone, we trade the quiet of disconnecting. For the convenience of fast and pre-packaged food, we swallow a meal that may leave us sluggish or unsatisfied. Pre-packaged meals and one-click shopping leave us with a mountain of waste bound for the recycling can or the landfill. We’ve been promised efficiency and speed, and the freedom of time. Sometimes we receive that. Sometimes we don’t. 

    The truth is, there’s joy in inconvenience. In the smell of bread baked at home, the magic of a few ingredients kneaded together and turned into sustenance. There’s joy in taking laundry out to the line, in standing in the sunlight and hanging clothes to dry. There’s joy and pride in knitting a sweater, or mending a pair of jeans. 

    woman wrapping homemade bread in bee's wrap sustainable food storage

    We’re not arguing for a return to the past, or for a rose-colored view of the very real work that it takes to clothe and feed and nourish ourselves in a way that’s kind to our bodies and our planet. There’s a time and a place for convenience, and there’s also luxury, and privilege, in the ability to savor inconvenience. 

    Is it, occasionally, inconvenient to make a meal from scratch? To bundle a sandwich in Bee’s Wrap, or to spend a few minutes at the sink, washing dishes and reusable containers and Bee’s Wrap by hand? Yes.

    Sometimes, we choose the joy of inconvenience, the quiet resistance of finding a different way of moving in the world — a path that’s lighter for the planet and more fulfilling for the individual. We choose to slow down. We choose thoughtfulness. We choose reuse. And we find, in those habits, new satisfaction. 

    Our first hive: two years later

    In 2017, students gathered around eagerly as we installed an observational beehive at the North Branch School in Ripton, VT. When we partnered with the Bee Cause to sponsor our first hive at a school, we imagined a buzzing, active hive which would help students connect with pollinators in the course of their outdoor studies. We envisioned science lessons and pollinator projects, and above all, the productive buzz of bees at work. 

                     

    The hive has provided all of those things — plus, it turns out, a lesson in the natural cycles of life. Last spring, as the community gathered for the annual clean up day, the bees swarmed: a sign of natural reproduction as the queen bee left the colony, attended by a large group of worker bees. As the year wore on, some bees died; overwintering a beehive is notoriously difficult. Others left. And by last fall, a year and a half after the hive was installed, the last of the first bees were dead. The hive sat quiet, at least for the time being.

    This was a lesson in the rhythms, and yes, the challenges of beekeeping high in the northern mountains, at the edge of the Green Mountain National Forest. It turns out that the students weren’t alone in a difficult year of beekeeping. A record number of honey bee colonies died last year in the United States. Bee decline can be attributed to mites and viruses, but also to decreasing crop diversity, habitat loss, a changing climate, and pesticide exposure. It’s a hard time to be a honey bee. 

     

    The story of the North Branch School hive doesn’t end there, though. This spring, the bees returned. As we come to the end of National Pollinator Month, we’re struck by the optimism in that story. We’re reminded to hold a space for new life, to honor the seasons of dormancy and rebirth, to celebrate while still acknowledging the harsh cycles of nature and environmental decline. And we’re reminded that beauty can follow in the wake of the unexpected. 


    There’s no better person to share the story than Tal Birdsey, the co-founder and head teacher at North Branch School, who spoke of the hive at the spring graduation ceremony. We’re excerpting Tal’s speech here: 

    ---

    Last November, the remaining of the honey bees in our observation hive died and the hive remained dormant for over six months. Then, a week ago, a large swarm of bees was spotted about thirty feet up in a white pine by the field, hanging like a big black, writhing beard. Some of the bees were flying towards the science room and reentering the hive opening. Inside, they were clearing away cobwebs and removing dead carcasses and debris. A few hours later our hive was half way back to full, actually buzzing with activity, The bees had come home. At this point, in history and in this year, I am going straight and all in for magical thinking, so I take this as a sign. The bees know a good place when they find it.


    This is also how it goes. Months or absence or emptiness and dust and debris, scrabbling around, trying to find something good. And then suddenly, the flowers open and pollen is riding through the air on busy wings. I think of Stanley Kunitz’ poem, “Touch Me,”


    I kneeled to the crickets trilling

    underfoot as if about

    to burst from their crusty shells;

    and like a child again

    marveled to hear so clear

    and brave a music pour

    from such a small machine.

    What makes the engine go?

    Desire, desire, desire.

    The longing for the dance

    stirs in the buried life.

     

     

     

    How to care for your bee's wrap

    At Bee’s Wrap, we believe that good food deserves good care — and by giving your Bee’s Wrap a little care of its own, your favorite wrap will be at your service in your kitchen for upwards of a year.

     

    Cleaning your wraps is quick and simple: Just rinse, scrub, dry, and repeat, and your Bee’s Wrap will keep on keeping on.

     

    Step 1: Give your wrap a rinse in cool to lukewarm water, making sure to test the water with a finger so you know it isn’t too hot. Make sure to keep your wrap away from other heat sources like stoves and microwaves so the wax doesn’t melt.

    Step 2: If you’ve got sticky food scraps or stubborn crumbs to deal with, you may want to gently scrub your Bee’s Wrap to get rid of the pesky residue. Use your hand or a scrubby, along with a bit of eco-friendly dish soap, making sure not to be too rough — just a little pressure will get the job done.

    Step 3: Dry your Bee’s Wrap by draping over a drying rack or wherever you have room (over the blender! clipped to a makeshift clothesline!). Just make sure to avoid heat.

     

    Step 4: Store your wrap in a clean, cool area, and enjoy again, and again, and again!

     

    We keep our Bee’s Wrap folded and tucked in a drawer, but you could also store your Bee’s Wrap on a basket on the counter, in a repurposed bread box, or wherever is most convenient for you. Remember to keep your wrap away from heat — and that includes leaving your wrap in a hot car on a sunny day.

     

    Your Bee’s Wrap may become stained, frayed, or rumpled over its months of service in your kitchen, but we look on these signs of wear as evidence of a job well done. (If stains bother you, consider reaching for one of our darker colored prints like our Oceans print or Clover print when wrapping foods like beets, red berries, and bell peppers.) Rest easy knowing that each time you reach for Bee’s Wrap, you’re avoiding single-use plastics in favor of a natural, reusable, and ultimately biodegradable alternative.

    A letter from sarah: we're a b corp!

    From the very earliest days, I knew that I wanted Bee’s Wrap to be a different sort of business. I founded Bee’s Wrap in my home, experimenting with solutions for storing food that cut down on waste and single-use plastics. Very quickly, though, I began exploring another kind of innovation: I wanted to build a business that championed the environment, enriched the lives of employees and my community, and asked, at every turn, “How can we do things differently?”

    I approached this question with a certain degree of freedom. Because I’d come to Bee’s Wrap without a traditional business background, I didn’t have a roadmap for how business “should” be done, and instead had some utopian ideas about what a business could be. I wanted to make a product that radically changed the way individuals think about food, waste, and single-use plastics.

    I also wanted to build a workplace where decisions are made after first asking, “What’s the best way to do this?” I wanted to create a company where coworkers took pride in their work, and were supported in their lives at and beyond the workplace — where our footprint on the earth is small, but our impact on the lives of each other, and our customers, was lasting.  

    Happily, there’s a growing community of businesses that also want to do things differently, that believe business can be a force for good in the world, for environmental stewardship, and for community building. Many of these businesses are B Corps.


    Today, I’m happy to announce that Bee’s Wrap is now a Certified B Corporation®. After taking inspiration from B Corporations in our earliest days, we began pursuing our B Corp certification in earnest last year. In joining this community, we continue to publicly voice our commitment to do right by people and the planet, and to continuously improve the way Bee’s Wrap exists in the world. Consider it another step on our path to make those utopian ideas a reality.

    What is a B Corp?

    Certified B Corporations use business as a force for good, solving social and environmental problems in a way that’s good for people and the planet. Certified by the B Lab, an international nonprofit overseeing the network of B Corps, these companies must meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Today there are more than 2,700 B Corps in 67 countries. In earning our B Corp certification, we’re thrilled to be joining the likes of Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, and King Arthur Flour on the B Corps roster — not to mention the hundreds of lesser-known companies making enormous strides to better business.

    B Corp Certification evaluates more than a product or service: It also looks at a company’s impact on workers, customers, community, and environment. B Corp Certification means a company is committed to: verified performance, as assessed by the independent B Lab; legal accountability, in the form of amended legal governing documents to require the balance of profit and purpose; and public transparency.

    Why was Bee's Wrap inspired to become a B Corp?

    We’d already embraced many of the ethics of B Corp community: taking care of our employees, carefully evaluating the impact of our ingredients on people and the environment, and giving back locally and nationally. Going through the B Corp assessment provided a valuable tool for us to see where, as a rapidly growing company, we could do better, formalize our systems, and protect the values that have been part of Bee’s Wrap since the beginning.

    We also appreciate the third-party validation that communicates what we do and why we do it. We hope that the “B” stamp on our packaging will communicate and affirm our values to our customers.

    Where are we succeeding?

    Our B Corp application required a deep dive into the way we do business, and the process provided us with an opportunity to celebrate our successes and identify the places where we want to grow. We learned that we’re already doing a lot of things right, including: responsibly sourcing our ingredients, using all parts of our ingredients and product, and consciously creating a product that limits waste — specifically plastic — going to landfills.

    With volunteer days for our staff, and our giving through 1% for the Planet and the Bee Cause, we earned kudos for giving back and civic engagement. Our strong corporate culture provides employees with abundant training, opportunities for growth, job flexibility, and funding for professional development. We’re woman owned, and our lowest paid hourly worker is paid more than 25 percent above the local minimum wage.

    What's next?

    Now, in part with B Corp’s help, we look to the future. As we work on continuously improving the way we do business, we intend to incorporate a full 360-degree feedback review process for our entire team. We’re working hard to do more proactive giving, and have formed a Giving Committee to oversee our donations of products, time, and money in more ways than ever before. We’re beginning to advocate for social and environmental justice in a more public way, and have teamed up with one of our local representatives to lobby for a plastic bag ban in Vermont. We’re also working with our local utility, Green Mountain Power, to further increase the amount of power we receive from renewable resources.

    All this to say, as we celebrate our B Corp certification, I’m incredibly proud of the work our team has done, and I speak for us all when I say we’re energized to continue on our path. The utopian ideals I envisioned for Bee’s Wrap in those early days are, increasingly, becoming the stuff of reality. And I can only hope that in the years to come, this way of doing business — honoring people and planet in addition to profit — will be the bar we all must meet.


    Sarah Kaeck

    Founder and CEO

    The buzz on beeswax

    At Bee’s Wrap, beeswax is central to what we do — and we think of this substance as nothing short of magical. Beeswax is useful, renewable, beautiful, antibacterial, versatile. We’re grateful to go to work everyday in a workshop that smells faintly of wax, a smell we adore. It's the smell of sugar cookies and brown sugar, of melting sweet cream butter and honey.

    We’re also grateful for the incredible bees, and thoughtful beekeepers, who make and harvest this wax — and who taught us, in our early days, about how to best  be stewards and friends to the bees. Our friend Kirk Webster, who lives down the road here in Vermont, was one of our earliest teachers. Everything he’s taught us about responsible beekeeping helps us evaluate the practices of the new beekeepers we partner with as Bee’s Wrap grows. We make it part of our mission to source the best possible beeswax from the most responsible beekeepers, and we rely on the advice of experts like Kirk to help guide our research as we find the best beekeeping partners.

    We caught up with Kirk one afternoon last fall to take a peek at the season's honey extraction operation and to chat wax.

    Part of our commitment to sustainability is using wax that comes from the cappings of the honeycomb, a byproduct of the honey extraction process. “The bees seal their honeycombs with wax, that’s what the capping is, and we have to cut them off in order to get the honey to come out,” Kirk told us.

    “In North America, that’s what makes most of the wax that’s on the market,” Kirk said, using an uncapping fork to scratch the wax cappings open.  

    By cutting off the cappings and leaving the rest of the honeycomb intact, Kirk says, “you can reuse the combs for many years. This one could be thirty years old.”

    “There’s all kinds of mechanical contraptions to cut the cappings off of the combs, and this is one of the simplest ones,” Kirk says. “This is so safe, there’s no moving parts, you can put your hand right on it and it won’t cut you, and it just works so well and is so simple.”

    Access to clean forage is another critical factor in producing the healthiest wax. Our beekeepers keep their hives away from areas with high pesticide use, like golf courses and non-organic farms; this helps prevent the accumulation of pesticides and herbicides in our wax, and protects bees from the dangers of pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs. 

    The beekeepers we work with also leave enough honey in their hives to allow the bees to comfortably overwinter, resting up until spring arrives. 

    Our beeswax is never chemically altered or bleached, and is tested by the USDA for 200 pesticides and herbicides, ensuring the use of the cleanest possible wax. The beekeepers with whom we work are on the front lines of supporting a healthy, vibrant pollinator population.

    We’re honored to partner with sustainable beekeepers who, as Kirk says, are working to put their bees on “the path back to balance, stability, resilience and health.” And we’re committed to making Bee’s Wrap with only the cleanest wax we can find, for the good of us all.



    Behind the scenes at our new hive

    Bee’s Wrap, the product, began with a question: Could we find a better way to store food, without the waste and without the plastic? Bee’s Wrap, the company, poses another: Can we find a better way to build a business?

    Today, we’re hard at work on answers for both of those questions. The last few years have brought significant growth for Bee’s Wrap — an exciting prospect as we work hard to put our reusable food storage wraps in the hands of more people. With growth come challenges, and up until a few months ago, Bee’s Wrap was bursting at the seams. We’d outgrown our workshop in Bristol, Vermont, and needed to find a new home — one with more space for production, more room for warehousing, more desks for our growing hive.

    Which is why we’re so delighted to have landed in our new home, just down the road in Middlebury, VT. Today our team of more than 30 people is all under one roof in a sunny, spacious, light-filled building, powered by approximately 75% renewable energy.

    It’s a big change from the early days of Bee’s Wrap, when a small band of us — neighbors and farmers, mothers and friends — painted wax by hand onto fabric wraps in the basement of Sarah’s home. We’ve since developed custom machinery that allows us to wax whole rolls of fabric at a time.

    As we settle into our new digs, we’re taking the chance to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. We come to work every day on a mission to help more people ditch disposable, single-use plastic in favor of a natural and sustainable alternative. We’re also passionate about the company we’re building — the close knit team that tackles challenges with creativity and goodwill.

    Every Wednesday, we gather for a zero-waste lunch, and once a month we sit down to a community meal to celebrate milestones like birthdays and team successes. (And all of our food scraps go to a few coworkers’ chickens!) Our new space has a yoga room where employees can take a break to stretch and refresh, and a break room we stock with bulk snacks from our local food co-op. We’ve added lots of beautiful, air-purifying plants, and we’re not far from the great outdoors; we’re lucky to be in close proximity to a walking trail that winds along the Otter Creek.

    We also look beyond the walls of this hive, thinking about the lives our employees lead in our community and the health of the place we call home. We value a flexible, family-friendly work environment, one that allows employees to fulfill familial obligations to a child or aging parent, and balance the demands of work and life. We’re proud to offer paid volunteer time and paid voting time to all Bee’s Wrap employees.

    And at work, we value collaboration and creativity. We’ve started forming committees that pull employees outside of their day-to-day roles to work on bigger picture projects. We bring this approach to product development, as we think about new products and initiatives, and to problems that stretch beyond Bee's Wrap — like advocating for a plastic bag ban in our town and participating in statewide advocacy against single-use plastics.

    This is not a time without challenges. At Bee’s Wrap, we do everything ourselves — from sourcing and warehousing ingredients to manufacturing to shipping to marketing and sales. We’re growing quickly. We’re balancing our sometimes utopian vision of what a company can and should be with the very real day-to-day challenges of our to-do lists.

    We couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve built so far. And we couldn’t be more excited about what’s yet to come.

    How plastics affect sea turtles

    We’ve all seen the images — of cast-off plastic bags suspended in the oceans, of beaches strewn with plastic debris. Plastic waste is one of the most important environmental crises of our time. An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean each year — adding to the estimated 150 million metric tons already circulating there. Plastic already outweighs plankton in our seas, and if we don’t shift course, plastic could outweigh fish in the ocean in 30 years.

     

     

    plastic bag pollution floating in the ocean

     

     

    This was the inspiration for the Oceans print. In particular, we were inspired by the plight of marine wildlife — our neighbors on this blue planet who’ve inherited the problem we created.

     

     

    The average sea turtle is estimated to live 80 years — roughly the same life span as the average American. That means there are turtles in the ocean today who were born long before the advent of the modern plastic age, who knew the oceans as home before we began to cast off our plastic debris in such staggering volume. The changes that have come to our oceans have been rapid, relentless, overwhelming.

     

    In one recent study, researchers from the UK, US and Australia sampled all seven species of sea turtle in the world, looking at 102 sea turtles from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean Sea. Their findings: Every single one had ingested plastic. Worldwide, scientists estimate that half of all sea turtles have ingested plastic.

     

    An estimated hundreds of thousands of sea turtles die each year from ocean pollution, with many ingesting or becoming entangled in marine debris. Plastic and other garbage looks an awful lot like a jellyfish in some cases — but in consuming this debris, sea turtles can suffer blockages in their digestive systems that may lead to their death. In other cases, plastic in their guts may damage a turtle’s ability to absorb food and nutrients, weakening the animal over time.

     

     

    The plastic problem starts much lower in the food chain, of course. The majority of plastic in the ocean is what is known as microplastic — tiny fragments, five millimeters or less in size, broken down from larger pieces. They’ve turned the oceans into what scientists are calling a “plastic soup.” Marine animals are consuming this plastic — and we, in turn, consume those animals. Plastic-contaminated fish are now showing up in supermarkets, and scientists are trying to figure out not if we’re eating plastic in our seafood — we already know we are — but what the effects might be, and how it got there. 

     

    For our sake, and for the sake of our marine neighbors, we must do better. We’re proud to partner with 1% for the Planet on this product, and have committed to donating at least 1% of sales of the Oceans print to organizations supporting ocean conservancy, beach cleanups, and water stewardship.

     

    gloved hand picking up plastic trash on the beach

     It’s our duty to choose change — choosing to reuse, to conserve, to protect. We created the staggering problem of plastic pollution in the oceans. But we, too, can stem the plastic tide. We hope our Oceans print serves as a small reminder in your daily life that we all have choices that add up to big change — and that if we don’t act now, the waters that surround us may never recover.

     

    Shop the Oceans Print now

     

    In the kitchen with julia clancy

    When we gathered in a Vermont farmhouse earlier this fall for one of our latest photoshoots, we were thrilled to welcome chef Julia Clancy into the fold. Julia arrived with armfuls of the most beautiful Vermont fall produce, an infectious love of food, and a truly joyful, generous approach to cooking and eating.

    Julia grew up loving food and cooking, and after college, she headed to Cork, Ireland, to attend the intensive cooking school headed by chef Darina Allen. There, Julia spent twelve-hour days in the kitchen — mastering tarts, planning menus, preserving food, roasting the perfect chicken, and more.

    Next she headed for San Francisco, where Julia interned at Chez Panisse and then landed a job at Zuni Cafe. When life brought her to Vermont, she started writing her own menus for pop-ups at a local farm, writing about food and drink for our local alternative weekly, and then working in the test kitchen at EatingWell magazine.

    We caught up with Julia this month to talk about food and her tips for everything from low-waste cooking to feeding a crowd.

    On her menu for our Bee’s Wrap feast

    When Julia developed her menu for our Bee’s Wrap shoot, she took into consideration a few elements. First, a sense of place — her food is always driven by where she is, and what ingredients are fresh, vibrant and colorful. The spread she whipped up was as beautiful as it was tasty, including (but not limited to!) a pressed picnic sandwich, smoky red beet yogurt spread, a “halvsies” salad with an herby vinaigrette, and a gorgeous citrus rye tart with mascarpone cream.

    Julia says she’s inspired in her cooking to find a balance of richness and freshness — something warming and zippy, with the right play of acids and fresh herbs. She loves to cook family-style meals.

    “I want to make food that is beautiful and seasonal and compelling,” said Julia — but not so beautiful as to be untouchable. “I want you to put your elbows on the table, bring your appetite, and go to town.”

    On reducing waste in the kitchen

    “Understanding how to be a good cook is understanding how to be an efficient cook,” Julia said. Reducing waste as a chef just makes sense: it’s good for the environment, and it’s also good for the bottom line. “If you’re throwing out half of your ingredient into your compost or your trash can, you’re losing a lot of money as a cook.”

    Julia’s training and professional experience has centered on kitchens where zero- or low-waste cooking is the norm, and when she moved to Vermont, she found that ethic shared by food-lovers and farmers.

    “What the home cook can learn from people who cook professionally is how to use more of the ingredient,” she said. That means using the tops of radishes and carrots in a way that’s actually delicious. Julia gushes about broccoli stems — her favorite part of the vegetable. “Peel it like you would a carrot, slice it, and it’s a gold mine.”

    Save potato skins to make chips. Use apple skins to make vinegar. And if that’s a little “eager mcbeaver,” as Julia put it, start with using the freezer to cut down on waste. She freezes herb stems from basil, cilantro, and parsley, then stuffs them in the cavity of a chicken or under a fillet of fish. She freezes the rinds from her parmesan cheese to chuck into soups, and vegetable peels to simmer into future stocks.

    On Bee’s Wrap in her kitchen

    “I save bits and ends of everything — everything,” Julia told us. She’s not kidding: The rinds of parmesan, fresh and woody herb stems, apple peels, citrus peels, halved avocados. The only downside to this thrift, Julia said, was that she was using more tin foil, Ziplock bags, and plastic wrap than she’d like. She first encountered Bee’s Wrap as a recipe developer and tester at EatingWell, and quickly made the switch to using it in her own kitchen.

    She uses the larger wraps to store extra greens, herbs, and herb stems. She also uses the the larger wraps to make pie crust or fresh pasta without needing to scrape down her counter.

    “I like that Bee's Wrap gets better with age. Better! Less waxy, more nimble, very second nature to use,” said Julia. “It's also beautiful; it makes me happy to use something as attractive as it is functional as it is sustainable.”

    On cooking for a crowd

    During a time of year when many are entertaining, we asked Julia for her tips for cooking for a crowd. She gravitates toward dishes that hold their integrity at room temperature, so she isn’t rushing to nail the timing of a meal at the same time she’s enjoying the company of guests. She’ll make a salad, cover it, and keep it in the refrigerator until dressing before serving. She loves one-pot, family-style meals that can be doctored with a few accoutrements.

    Think: grain salads that get better as they sit, or a big salad with seasonal veggies and a zippy dressing that can be made ahead. Little touches — like a fennel or chili oil drizzled over a big pot of soup — help make a meal more special without radically increasing the effort.

    On advice for novice cooks

    Julia loves cooking — but she’s quick to be realistic about the act of feeding one’s self and one’s family.

    “I don’t think everyone has to love cooking,” she said. “I think that puts a little too much pressure on the act of cooking itself.” Sometimes it’s late, you’re exhausted, and cooking is a chore. She recommends that first, individuals think about what kind of cook they are. Do you want to be on your feet for thirty minutes, actively cooking a quick meal? Do you want to throw ingredients on a sheet pan and walk away for an hour? “It’s not one size fits all,” said Julia.

    Then, she said, find a few tools to make your life easier in the kitchen. Start with a sharp chef’s knife and a cutting board. Add a couple of clean kitchen towels, a skillet and a pot, and a wooden spoon. Find the hacks that work for you.

    “If you don’t want to chop, grate a tomato and an onion [with a box grater] into a skillet and that’s the basis of a sauce,” she said.

    And finally, learn the basics. “You don’t need an elaborate recipe,” Julia said. “Just get a couple of techniques down. You can go online and get a recipe for anything. And that’s exciting. But it’s also unnecessary. If you can get certain techniques down — how to cook rice, or how to poach chicken breasts — it gives you a lot of freedom if you feel like you have mastery. Then you can start getting more experimental.”

    Tips from the hive for a plastic-free holiday

    The holidays can be magical. But if you’re concerned about the amount of waste you generate in your day-to-day life, this time of year can also be overwhelming. Start looking, and plastic shows up in almost every modern holiday convention. It’s there in shopping bags you tote away from major retailers during a holiday sale. It’s in many of the toys we give our children and the gadgets we give loved ones. It covers the ready-made treats we can buy for holiday parties.

    Setting aside plastic, there’s other waste to consider — the wrapping paper we tear open and toss, the gifts that collect dust in closets, the easy pull of giving more stuff when we simply don’t need more.

    Looking to cut back on waste this holiday season? We turned to some of the Bee’s Wrap team — now nearly 40 people strong! — to ask for their tips and tricks. We’re sharing most of these anonymously, so as not to spoil the surprise for any intended gift recipients who might be snooping for clues.

    Going Homemade

    “I’m making an effort to make thoughtful, handmade gifts instead of buying new gadgets, toys, or things that will be forgotten in a month,” said one of our hive. She’ll be making handmade Christmas ornaments from wine corks, twigs, and scraps of ribbon, and crocheting a blanket for her nephew.

    We are changing it up this season by giving our honey as gifts in reusable glass jars, instead of buying random gifts and gizmos,” said another. “Did I mention cookies? I make them every year — it’s a long standing tradition — and always deliver in a tin. With my cookies there is only one caveat: if you give back the tin, I will refill it for you next year.”

    Cookies are popular on staff! “We (by ‘we’ I really mean my wife) actually make a lot of homemade treats — cookies, breads, candy, pies, and so on —  to share with neighbors, friends and family instead of buying pre-packaged,” another colleague shared. Best of all? Those treats all head off to their new homes covered with Bee’s Wrap.

    Getting Creative with the Trimmings

    “We wrap our presents in fabric every year,” said Sarah, the Bee’s Wrap founder. “I have been thinking about using fabric that can be reused as a satchel for veggies or small items when out shopping or regifted, and including instructions.”

    “I’m reusing wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons for last year and the years before,” another staff member shared. If you haven’t already started reusing wrapping supplies, make this the year to start, and choose a shoebox or cubby for stowing away supplies until next year. Another member of our team is planning to make her own wrapping paper, reusing brown paper bags.

    Another idea? Use Bee's Wrap! Include a note explaining what Bee's Wrap is and how your gift recipient should use and care for it, and let the wrapping paper become part of the present.

    Giving Less

    “Mostly, I’m just giving less of everything. And because we’re buying fewer items, I’m trying to spend our gift budget with local or ethical companies using natural materials and fibers, even if those things might cost a little bit more,” suggested one member of our team.  

    Similarly, a few folks said they’re making more donations in honor of loved ones instead of giving physical gifts. Last year, one colleague gave her adult family members Kiva loan gift cards, giving each the chance to find projects to support with their individual donations.

    Consider the Packaging

    “Look for products in glass containers instead of plastic,” said one team member, “or better yet, buy beauty items in bulk or hand-make them.” Packaging is one of the worst offenders of single-use plastic and waste. (We’re proud that our packaging is 100% recycled paper and plastic-free!).

    Shopping Secondhand

    One of the best ways to curb waste is to opt for something gently used over buying new. “I’m shopping the thrift store. My toddler is obsessed with bags, purses, and dress up clothes, and what better place to find treasures?”

    How will you cut down on waste this season?

    If you’re still on the hunt for gift ideas, we’ll admit that we think Bee’s Wrap makes an excellent gift this holiday season. As versatile as it is beautiful, Bee’s Wrap is meant to be used and re-used. It’s a gift your friends and family will reach for long after the holidays end. And at the end of the wrap’s useful life in their kitchen, Bee’s Wrap is fully biodegradable — meaning this is a gift that won’t end up in a landfill or collecting dust in a cabinet. If Bee’s Wrap is right for someone on your list this season, shop online or find a stockist near you.

    Behind the scenes: our monarch print

    In late summer, the fields behind my home in Vermont are speckled with Queen Anne’s Lace, the white, lacy flower that has been a touchstone for me since my childhood. The flower is a sign of the season, tied to long, warm days and the impending arrival of fall. As a child, I believed the red spot in the flower’s center was a secret I knew that few others had spotted — something I peeked at on solo walks along the lake road and exploratory treks through fields that opened wide in front of me.

    Childhood explorations are like this — full of mystery and wonder, imbued with adventure even when they only carry us through our own backyards.

     

    To explore is to see the world around us with fresh eyes — both at home, and on adventures. To explore is to witness the intricate and interconnected dances that make our earth inhabitable. To explore: This is the inspiration for our new Monarch print, which we launched this fall with National Geographic.

    We’re proud to partner with this storied institution on their multi-year “Planet or Plastic?” campaign, an effort to raise awareness of the global plastic pollution crisis and challenge individuals and companies alike to rethink their relationship with single-use plastics. When we set out to design the new print for this collaboration, I returned again and again to a few simple elements that hold personal and ecological significance: Queen Anne’s Lace, the Monarch butterfly, and rows of mountains in the distance begging to be traversed.

    My own explorations have taken me around the world, but more often than not these days, my explorations take place in those fields behind my home, covered in snow in winter and dotted with Queen Anne’s Lace in late summer. I take our family Corgi, Pappy, out to the fields for a chance for both of us to stretch our legs.

    I scan the fields for Monarch butterflies, a spot of brilliant orange against green. Just as Queen Anne’s Lace seemed like a secret treasure in my childhood, the story of the Monarch butterfly’s metamorphosis seemed nothing short of magic. Monarchs evolve from egg to larva, munching on milkweed before settling into their cocoons. When they emerge from that mysterious transformation, they’re butterflies on a mission — to pollinate the flowers of summer and then set out off a remarkable migration that spans thousands of miles to their winter breeding grounds. It was zoologist Fred Urquhart, a recipient of a National Geographic grant, who discovered that generations of the butterfly can travel as far as 3,000 miles to wintering grounds in Mexico.

     

    On one of my walks in late summer this year, I watched for Monarchs — but knew I’d be lucky to spot one among the Queen Anne’s Lace and red clover. Today Monarchs are threatened by habitat loss, climate change, and herbicides and pesticides. We see this in Vermont, where the milkweed these butterflies rely upon for sustenance is often considered a weed, or plowed under where farmland has overcome natural meadows.

     

    And then it was there — riding on the breeze, fluttering and landing on a clover, drinking nectar.

     

    —Sarah Kaeck, Bee's Wrap founder

    The bee's wrap guide to camping

    There’s no getting around it: Unless you’re a true minimalist, willing to sleep under the stars, camping requires a certain amount of stuff. There’s planning involved — packing lists and grocery lists, tents and gear and extra layers and boots. Getting there is half the battle, but it’s one that we gladly take on during Vermont summers and autumns. The preparation may be daunting, but the payoff is always sweet.

     

    Here’s what camping doesn’t require: Trash. 

    At Bee’s Wrap we’re committed to reducing our dependence on single-use plastics, the disposable wares that are all too easy to use once and then toss aside. These end up in landfills and along roadways, in our water and our soil.

     

    Planning ahead — and packing tools like Bee’s Wrap — can make a big difference in cutting back on disposables while traveling and camping. Bee's Wrap is easy to care for and travel with, making it an excellent choice for camping. Rinse your wraps in a river or under a spigot before heading home — or fold the mess up to contain it, and wash at home. Unlike bulkier containers, your wraps can fold down to the size of a handkerchief to tuck into your pack or camping kit.

     

    We turned to a few experienced campers on staff here at Bee’s Wrap to learn more about how they cut down on trash and waste while camping. Looking to take Bee's Wrap on your next camping trip? Shop our zero-waste camping essentials collection.

    Pack reusable containers, water bottles, and Bee’s Wrap for meals and on-the-go snacks.

     

    We always make sure we have a few sturdy, reusable water bottles — we love our Klean Kanteens and Hydroflasks, but many brands make good options — in our backpacks and camping kits. We use smaller water bottles on day hikes and excursions, and larger containers to fill up on potable water at campsites.

     

    Likewise, we pack plenty of Bee’s Wrap to both store ingredients in our camp cooler (it’s a great way to keep veggies and bread fresh for the duration of your long weekend trip!) and to pack snacks for adventures. Bee’s Wrap is also handy for wrapping up dirty utensils on the trail or while packing up at a campsite.

     

    When in doubt, use a bread wrap.

     

    Our biggest wraps are multitasking superstars on camping trips — serving as a clean space for prepping food or setting down utensils. Sometimes we like to snack our way through a weekend of camping instead of preparing elaborate meals, and our large bread wraps make it easy to cover a platter of chips, dips, veggies, and cheese.

    Skip chemical fire starters for something more natural.

     

    Did you know Bee’s Wrap makes an excellent fire starter? We give away scraps locally in Vermont for use as fire starters (swing by the shop if you’re in the neighborhood!), but you can also repurpose old, worn-out Bee’s Wrap for fire starters. The remaining wax in the wrap will burn for a long time, giving your kindling a chance to catch fire.

    Wrap your soap and toothbrush in Bee’s Wrap.

     

    Both at home and on the go, we prefer a bar of soap (and a shampoo bar!) to the excess packaging of liquid soaps and shampoo. Wrap your bar of soap in a small sheet of Bee’s Wrap to contain any slippery suds and drips. Likewise, wrapping a toothbrush in Bee’s Wrap keeps your toothbrush clean in your toiletry kit.


    We choose to camp because we find solace and joy in nature. We enjoy good meals outside, cooked beside the campfire (where the added ingredients of fresh air and woodsmoke somehow elevate even the simplest meal to the highest of cuisines). And we celebrate the place we’re committed to protecting: the great outdoors. While fall is in the air here in Vermont, we’re taking every last chance we can to get outside and enjoy this place we call home. 

    Meet our resident beekeeper

    When Kat Clear joined our team at Bee’s Wrap last winter, we were thrilled to welcome an enthusiastic, creative sales representative to the hive. The honey on the cake? Kat’s a new beekeeper — spreading the word about Bee’s Wrap by day, and tending her very own honey bees at home. 

    Kat and her husband Rolf live in nearby Ferrisburgh on a 25-acre homestead. They keep chickens, and garden extensively (Kat’s even opening up a farmstand down the road with a neighbor). It was gardening that initially prompted the pair’s curiosity about bees; they knew that bees are important pollinators, and they’d heard stories about the decline of the honeybee. They bought a book, attended a local beekeeping class, and last year installed their first hive.

    This year, Kat and Rolf are keeping two hives — Italian honey bees bred in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. (Acquiring local “nucs” means the bees are bred to thrive in this particular environment, and supports the local economy.)  Two hives are helpful for novice beekeepers, Kat says, because they provide a kind of reference for one another; if one hive is thriving and the other struggling, the beekeepers can investigate potential problems.

     

    Kat’s intensely curious about bees — eager to tell us, her equally curious coworkers, about a queen sighting or a bee’s fuzzy back or (who knew?!) long tongue. (“Have you ever seen a bee tongue? Come to my house. I’ll show you one,” said Kat.) For Kat, beekeeping has been a grounding process, not unlike gardening, that is a tactile connection back to the earth.

    “It’s all about the bees when you’re with them,” said Kat. “There’s no distraction, there’s no taking pictures. It’s about observation, and understanding, and taking care of them.”

    She’s also inspired by the bees’ hard-working, community-minded ethic. “They’re individuals, but they’re all working towards a common goal,” she said. “They have this hive mind, and they’re all centered around this bigger thing.”

    Kat’s also passionate about teaching others about bees. “It’s really exciting to me to get engaged with kids that are learning about pollination and how that works,” she said. She’s our point person with The Bee Cause, our nonprofit partner in sponsoring observation hives in local schools. She was on hand when our donated hive was installed at Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School, and delights in watching kids react with fascination, rather than fear, to bees.

    “You grow up running away from bees, swatting things not to sting you,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, I back up all the time, I get nervous. But when you get a footstep past that, and can be there with them, they’re so beautiful.”