Product review: agreena 3 in 1 wrap

Agreena (as in www.agreena.world, heh) started out as a Kickstarter campaign which I backed a few months ago. I just received and tried out my set, and was keen to share my experience.

Agreena wrap is a set of silicone sheets made to replace the kitchen trio of cling film, aluminium foil and baking sheets. They can be washed and reused over and over, and are ultimately recyclable, making this a buy-me-once product if well taken care of (keep away from blades and pointy things; beware sugars and acids, which can affect it; don’t bake above 240ºC, which is higher than any temperature I’ve ever used for cooking, myself). The appeal is obvious: other than the sheer expense of the other three products, there are urgent environmental reasons to avoid them:

  • Cling film is that monstrosity, single-use disposable plastic, and a dreadful contributor to the ongoing plastic crisis. It leaches contaminants into your food while you use it, and into nature when you dispose of it. It’s neither resuable nor recyclable, and like most plastic litter, will outlive our grandchildren. The frankly dangerous “metal teeth of death” on the side of cling film packages are also non-recyclable.
  • Aluminium is so resource-intensive and poisonous to extract as an ore, it’s inexcusable that we use it in disposable products such as foil. It too contains neurotoxins that leach into your food, then goes on to poison the land for centuries before breaking down.
  • As for baking paper or parchment, setting aside the fact that we can’t get complacent about a material that costs trees (each of which is home to an entire community), it is coated in substances that are toxic at high temperatures or when burnt.

There are other alternatives to cling film around, notably Beeswrap which I already use. But such waxed cloth, though it has the bonus of being easy to make at home, cannot withstand heat or be washed with hot water; it also needs to be replaced or re-waxed after a certain number of used. So it’s not as versatile nor as long-lasting (nor is it acceptable to vegans), though by all means a great product in its own way.

I was therefore really interested in agreena, and have finally been able to test it.

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My order arrived in a cardboard mailing box that was cleverly designed to only require one short strip of plastic tape. I’d have preferred no tape myself (I use gummed paper tape for everything), but appreciate the efforts to minimize it, and the box is highly reusable.

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The recycled paper-only packaging inside looked like good news, but I was less than enchanted to see the wraps backed with rigid plastic sheets. The leaflet inside explained that they were necessary “to keep the product safe and protected”, and that the plastic was recyclable. Hmm. Was there really nothing else that would do? Compostable bioplastic, maybe? But this is the very first incarnation of this product and I suspect the makers will be open to feedback and improvement, so I’m not holding that against them at this point. I had a rather more severe shock when I tried to separate the sheets and they were severely stuck together, seemingly fused. I had to forcefully pull them apart, and was convinced my wraps were torn or stretched beyond repair right out of the box.

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Yikes!!

Amazingly enough, the mistreatment did absolutely nothing to the sheets. As soon as they were pulled off their backing, all apparent damage was completely smoothed away. The material is remarkable, incredibly thin, and yet obviously very resilient. Despite warnings that the sheets may be extra sticky and tricky to use the first couple of times, I didn’t have too much trouble. I slapped a large one on my counter and started rolling dough over it. Though the wrap had a firm grip on the counter while I was working, it didn’t cling to it, so repositioning and eventually moving the lot to a baking sheet was really easy. The square format is a break-through as far as I’m concerned, much easier to work with than the usual rectangles.

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Once out of the oven, the baked dough came away from the wrap beautifully, and this is the first time I can wrap my food in the very sheet I baked it on, thanks to how fine the material is. I can see why it would work so well to wrap food!

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Here’s a smaller sheet sealing a bowl of stock. Very satisfying, and apparently the wrap, while waterproof, is breathable. The makers provide several video how-tos to show various ways of using it.

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Washing was the easiest thing, requiring only swishing them around in very hot soapy water (something I always long to do with Beeswrap, but can’t). It’s only when putting them to dry that the extra-stickiness made itself felt, but I got them to behave soon enough. (To be clear, the silicone sticks to itself, not to anything else.)

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For storage, I’m just folding them up and storing them somewhere safe from vagrant crumbs and other food particles. They take absolutely no space.

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Based on my experience, would I recommend agreena 3 in 1 wrap? Absolutely:

  • This may genuinely be “the last wrap you’ll ever need to buy”. We really need to foster a culture of “buy-me once” to replace our insane cult of the disposable.
  • Past the not-so-great inclusion of plastic in the packaging (that I hope will be rectified in future), these are assets to a zerowaster.
  • The material is made of the same rubber as infant and medical products, is food-safe, will not release odours into your food or absorb them from things like onions.
  • A percentage of every sale goes to support climate protection projects.
  • This is not a corporate product but the work of a small dedicated team: “We are not the first, we are but part of a growing movement of individuals, organisations and businesses that believe that small changes will make a world of difference and we are committed to people and the planet at every turn in the decision-making process.”
  • There is a “Return 2 Recycle Reward” program to ensure no damaged wraps go to landfill.
  • And more good reasons explained on the website!

Find out more on https://www.agreena.world , where discounted pre-orders are open till August.

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