Single use plastic
is ubiquitous. It's easy to pick up a loaf of bread, packaged in a single use plastic bag and tied with a small single use plastic bread clip without thinking about the consequences. But, as we are well aware, plastic that is made to be used for just a few days in the case of a loaf of bread, sticks around in the ecosystem forever. However, it is possible to purchase and store fresh bread without single use plastic, and we are here to show you how. All you need is a reusable bread bag!
Bread Bags – Where Does Our Dough Go?
When you buy a traditional loaf of bread from the supermarket, your money is not only going into production of the bread, but also the engineering of the single use plastic bag and plastic bread clip (starting with extracting petroleum from the ground that is refined and then used to manufacture plastic), and transportation of the bread. As with most single use packaging, it is waste of resources for our short term convenience.
How to Buy Bread Without Plastic
There is of course the option of making your own bread at home, which we encourage you to try when you have some time to learn this craft! But, it is possible to purchase a loaf of bread without single use plastic, using a reusable bread bag instead. You will find unpackaged bread at select shops and cafes, bakeries as well as farmers markets. If you coordinate your visit to the supermarket when they're taking the bread out of the oven, they might even be happy to pop a loaf in your own bag for you too. These days, artisanal loaves are in abundance, and you can often find them package free. As an added bonus, artisanal bread is generally healthier than traditional loaves made to last in plastic. Sourdough for example, is high in Iron, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium as well as Lactobacillus which is important for gut health. So next time you go grocery shopping, remember to take your reusable shopping bags, produce bags, and a reusable bread bag. Keep them together in a handy spot so you remember!
How to Store Bread Without Plastic
- Storing bread in plastic encourages mold growth because moisture can not escape, and it makes bread chewy. 1
- Bread is best stored in a bag or container that will stop airflow around the bread, but will still breathe somewhat, such as a fabric bag, tea towel or old pillowcase. Let bread cool before wrapping in the bag, or leave bag slightly open until cool.
- Store in a dark, cool place - but not in the refridgerator, which makes it go stale faster.
- All bread will go stale within a few days as the water migrates back to the gluten and recrystallizes. Of course, then it is time to make toast from the bread. Or, if it is a full loaf rather than sliced, run it quickly under some water then heat in the over for 10 - 15 minutes to draw out the moisture so the bread becomes crusty again.
- If you wish to keep bread for a long time, you will need to freeze it - a bag such as the Onya bread bag below is ideal to use.
Reusable Bread Bags
Biome Plastic Free Organic Cotton Bread Bag
Biome's own organic cotton bread bag is 100% plastic free. It is sturdy and long lasting, and allows your bread to breath. This makes it ideal for not only purchasing and transporting bread, but storing it for a few days too. As it is made from organic cotton, at the end of its life, Biome's reusable bread bag is compostable. Besides bread, use it to purchase, transport and store baked goods, snacks, produce, or to simply keep in your bag for any unplanned purchases. At home, wrap the bag tightly around your bread and store in a cool, dark place. Size:
40cm long x 30cm wide. Use:
To buy, transport and store bread. Shop Biome's Bread Bag >
Onya Reusable Bread Bag
This great bag in trendy aqua or charcoal will ensure your trip to the bakery is zero waste. Each bag is made from 10 recycled plastic bottles, meaning less energy and water used in production. The bag itself is recyclable (via specialist polypropylene recycling channels such as RedCycle). The bag is made from woven PET, a type of polyester, so is not completely air tight. The Onya bread bag is double lined to keep your loaf fresh for a few days and fits most loaf sizes. It can also contain up to six standard rolls. Onya Bread Bags have been made to Australian Bakers Industry Standards and the dimensions modelled off the size of single use plastic bags normally given out at bakeries, so they are designed to fit over most of the machines bakeries use when slicing the bread. Freezer safe. Onya bags are freezer proof and store your bread really well when frozen from fresh for up to 3 months without freezer burn in a frost free freezer. Size:
41cm long x 25.5cm wide, 10cm gussett Use:
To buy, transport, store and freeze bread. Shop the Onya Bread Bag >
4MyEarth Reusable Bread Bag
These reusable cloth bags are designed specifically for transporting and storing bread. They are made from strong, food grade cotton and are lined with a plant derived thermo-plastic known as TPU. This lining is biodegradable and food safe. This reusable bread bag is BPA, PVC and phthalate free, lightweight but durable and machine washable. The bags come in a range of gorgeous patterns. Take your pick. Size:
40cm long x 30cm wide. Use:
To buy, transport and store bread. Shop 4MyEarth Bread Bag
As you can see, there a couple of great options to once again cut down on single use plastic. If we each took action to purchase fresh bread without single use plastic, we could create significant change. Feature image: Onya