Why Do We Use Plastic Bags For Bread Anyway?

In simple terms getting rid of plastic packaging all together doesn’t actually solve the problem. The biggest problem with plastic is when it ends up as litter, in landfill and in our oceans and this is a genuine challenge across the world.

But for some products, plastic is actually a good thing, especially in areas such as food. And not all food but particularly the foodstuffs that can go off quickly resulting in them being thrown away. Bread for example will go stale fairly quickly if it isn’t in a bag that prevents it from drying out.

Plastic As The Best Option

Bread in a polyethylene bag sealed with a We Seal resealable recyclable seal, stayed fresh for a week or longer without going mouldy.

According to WRAP the organisation tasked with advising and driving the plastic, re-design, recycle, re-use agenda in the UK, plastics may be the best option where…

It provides an air, water and hygiene-tight barrier for perishable and easily-damaged goods, which helps prolong shelf life and reduce waste (food waste is a huge contributor to carbon emissions, so this is important in the fight against climate change)
Clear On Plastics brought to you by WRAP

But Isn’t Paper Better?

Not necessarily, it costs more in environmental resources to produce, is heavier to transport and although it is easily recycled, in the world of bakery and bread it has a few other issues. It doesn’t keep the bread fresh as long so can contribute to increased food waste. Not only that but the shopper doesn’t get such good value from the money they spent on it as they have to eat it faster to avoid wasting it! Paper bread bags often have a translucent panel so the consumer can see inside. This panel can be made of plastic thus compromising the ability to recycle the bag entirely and the seal is often a large sticky label which again typically contains plastic creating the same issue.

We haven’t solved the problems of packaging and food waste but wrapping bread in a polyethylene bag is a long way from the worst cuplrit and is certainly helping reduce food waste. Consider this next time you look for a paper wrapped bread product thinking that it is a greener option!

Send this to a friend