I started these projects searching for an alternative to plastic bags. Before you label me “green” I have a confession to make; my reasons for getting away from plastic bags has more to do with the cost to my wallet than the cost to the environment. In the end however it is a “win, win” situation for both my wallet and the environment. At first the solution seemed simple, a bag or wrap made of quilting cotton. The problem is that cotton alone does not keep food fresh. So finding the right lining was the key; it has to keep food fresh and be food safe. I spent an insane amount of time searching for such a product. Only to figure out that there is no perfect solution.
First I looked at using cotton for the outer fabric and PUL for the lining. Polyurethane laminate (PUL) is a compound fabric made by laminating a cloth fabric to a thin film of polyurethane. Most PUL fabric is made by laminating lightweight polyester interlock knit fabric to a 1 mil thick film of polyurethane. Apparently regular PUL is NOT food safe, but DiaperMaker PUL is advertised as food safe. And there is another product called ProCare that is advertised as being free of lead, phthalates, BPS or Brominates and is FDA GRAS compliant for contact with food. DiaperMaker PUL and ProCare are available online at http://ca.wazoodle.com/. This is fine for my own use, but I was concerned about the availability of the DiaperMaker PUL or ProCare - since it is only available online.
Then I thought about using cotton as the outer fabric and the lining. With an all-cotton Wrap-N-Go Sandwich Wrap you will need to wrap your sandwich in waxed paper. This is not a problem for me. That's what my mom used before the proliferation of plastic baggies. Here comes the “but”, apparently regular waxed paper is food safe, but it is coated with paraffin, so it is not recyclable or compostable. You can purchase soybean coated waxed paper here (http://www.grassrootsstore.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=13749). It is both recyclable and compostable, but it is not cheap.
The bottom line is there is no one perfect solution for everyone. I think these are two good options; choose the one that works for you.