Sometimes I read really deep into really specific things. Although I don’t use wax paper at all, somehow I ended up spending a week or two emailing companies that manufacture it to ask what theirs is made of.
Soybean wax or paraffin? Is the paraffin derived from vegetable oil or petroleum?
Every company I heard from used paraffin derived from petroleum, not vegetable oil. Of the 7 companies I received a reply from, 5 used paraffin from petroleum and the other 2 used soybean wax (The companies that haven’t answered at all are Norpak and Marcal).
Of the replies I received, If You Care had a thorough explanation as to why they use soybean wax instead of petroleum. More appealing than that was that their product is chlorine and bleach free, which I found was common in the other brands.
The only commentary I received from the other side, was that soybean wax is GMO while petroleum based paraffin is not. The Natural Value brand has the added bonus that its waxed paper is unbleached.
So which is the better alternative, and does it really matter? Does petroleum biodegrade? I believe that it does, just not as easily as soybeans would. Either way, wax repels moisture- it’ll be around for a little while.
I found an EPA study from 1997 showing success using compost to bioremediate soil contaminated with high levels of petroleum. This was attributed to a fungi present in compost that releases a substance that breaks down petroleum, enabling bacteria to metabolize it. I also found another EPA study that was supportive of contaminants degrading rapidly when compost was applied.
One of my favorite tests for composting stuff is to see how my worms like it. They’re currently confronting a super old blueberry muffin wrapped in a piece of waxed paper. Let’s see what happens there.
So here’s the results:
Dixie Kabnet Wax
My last point of curiosity was to look at how these companies rank on my favorite website, betterworldshopper.com . Natural Value ranks highest amongst the paraffin users, while both If You Care and Bagcraft (Ecocraft) take their social and environmental responsibility quite seriously while sticking with soybean wax.
Well that was fun. What are your thoughts on the topic? Great companies produce the product on either side, so that’s good to know. Which waxed paper type do you prefer?