I have been reducing use of one-time-use items in the house, and have drastically reduced the use of plastic wrap by putting food items in tupperwares.

However, there remains a few uses for plastic wrap for which I have not found an alternative:

  • For example, I use it when "steaming" vegetables in the microwave (a faster and more energy efficient option than using the stovetop) since it can create a seal without exploding
  • To cover things that are not easily moved into a sealable container, e.g. leftover smoothies in a glass or those huge non-standard sized cans of pumpkin or leftover pies in a pie tin.

Things I already use: I have plastic can "lids" for pet food cans of standard sizes. I also use those metal binder clips that are found in office supplies to get a good seal on plastic packages.

Other considerations: I am not interested in buying a million different gadgets for each potential use, nor any other disposables that generate waste.

6 Answers 6


You don't need a perfect seal in the microwave - in fact the reason your plastic wrap doesn't explode is that the seal isn't perfect. So placing a plate or saucer on top of your microwave container (depending on the size of the container underneath) works very well without you needing to buy anything extra. It might get hot from the steam, or drop hot water on you, so take care removing it.

A decent selection of plastic boxes, larger than you think you need, can allow other foods to be transferred more easily into them. In some cases using (reusable) cooking liner can help you get the food out (e.g. the pie if it's home made). If you don't want to transfer your smoothie, perhaps you should drink it from a beaker with a screw top as sold for lunch boxes. This, like the plastic boxes, is useful enough to be worth considering buying. If you really don't want to buy anything new, drink the smoothie from a jam jar. Ice cream and chocolates can provide a useful source of plastic boxes too.


My better half found a set of silicone lids. Three in the set, about 6, 8 and 10 inches across. They are heavy enough to stay put, and make a reasonable seal, an sticky enough that they don't slide. Rinse after use, and leave by the microwave.

Another option: I've seen a cake cover type thing with a single 3/8" hole near the top. Place it over an open plate. This retains the steam, essentially acting as a lid. It also means you only wash the turn table.

If you are using a bowl to heat things, put a plate over the bowl. This may mean you need to use a larger bowl. Plate should normal side up. This is more stable, and drips go back to food instead of outside the bowl. This combination is awkward to pick up, especially if the plate is much larger than the bowl. An advantage is taht the plate can be a lid keeping food warm while waiting for the rest of supper.

For all of these, because steam is kept confined, the amount of time needed will drop, sometimes by as much as a factor of 2. Frozen veg with large chunks such as broccoli show a big time reduction.

  • Any idea where they found these? How long have you used them for (trying to get an idea of their lifespan)? Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:51
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    eBay and amazon both have a variety. Google silicone pot lids. I think Laura got our set at Canadian Tire, or at a cooking store. Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 15:43
  • As to length of service: Our set is now 2-3 years old. The small one gets used nearly daily as a lid on the frozen veggie bowl. Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 21:23

For steaming vegetables you can use a container with its own lid which can be used in a microwave. Such containers with lids could me made from glass, pyrex, ceramic or even multiple use plastics (something similar to tupperware for example).

Such containers can also be used to keep leftovers in the fridge whether the left overs are homemade or bought pies.

As for liquids like smoothies, transfer them to reusable containers that have their own sealing lids.


Since one never really knows what kind of plastic you're dealing with, I always take everything out of plastic and put it in a pyrex dish with a lid to go in the microwave oven. It is better to use as little plastic as possible.

  • Yes, I do the same. Good point, but it doesn't really address the question being asked. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 21:49

For the pie form, I use big plates. They don't seal airtight but it sufficed.

  • Maybe if I combined this idea with those big rubberbands, the plates wouldn't slide off... Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 0:42
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    This does not answer the uses the OP asks an alternative for
    – user2451
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 8:45
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    @JanDoggen I don't see how, as this is exactly what I do. I've been doing it for years, in fact. So can you explain how it doesn't work?
    – Móż
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 4:53

I've never used it in the microwave, but I use cotton beeswax wraps for storing stuff in the fridge. Its a cotton fabric coated in beeswax and other oils which make it water tight and stiff but malleable, like tinfoil. You just wash it in the sink if it gets dirty.


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