The use of non-biodegradable plastics is becoming an increasing concern for business owners and consumers. Most of the single-use plastics used in manufacturing and production don’t naturally degrade—they end up as litter or are added to the already-overflowing landfills worldwide.
As a bakery, it’s likely that you use a lot of cookie bags and all other kinds of bakery bags. If you use plastic bags, you might wonder how to reduce your plastic usage and switch to something more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Plastic Usage in the Food Industry
Single-use food and beverage packaging are one of the leading sources of plastic pollution in the oceans.
As great as it would be to completely eliminate plastic usage in the food industry, it’s a beneficial resource. Plastic containers keep foods fresher for longer and are appropriate for liquid-based foods and drinks when cardboard and paper are unsuitable. Plastics also reduce evaporation and minimize the need for pesticides and fertilizers.
In the food industry, plastics are used to protect products across the supply chain. Most people know that their packaging is plastic when they pick something up from the grocery store but are unaware of plastic’s role in food production.
During processing and deliveries, plastic boxes and materials are ideal to keep foods in optimal condition. They prevent waste, which increases sustainability in this aspect of the food production process.
Agricultural plastics have been discussed and studied extensively. This report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is just one of many that raise the issues around plastic usage in food manufacturing. FAO estimates that in 2019, food production accounted for the use of 12.5 million tons of plastic.
However, most plastics aren’t sustainable in and of themselves. Many of them are single-use plastics and aren’t always disposed of properly through recycling. Paper cookie bags and baking packaging are a more suitable option when sustainability is the goal.
The Problem with Plastics in the Food Industry
Using plastic cookie bags and bakery bags might be more detrimental than you first think.
The major disadvantage of using plastic bakery bags is that most of the plastic waste is not collected for processing or recycling after use. This can lead to land, water, and air pollution, which has serious environmental consequences.
FAO has listed a wide range of negative impacts caused by the use of plastics in the food industry, including:
- Microplastics in food, crops, and livestock.
- Plastics end in fish, with one in four fish in the oceans containing plastics in their guts.
- Endocrine-disrupting substances in plastics.
- Plastics can be vectors for transporting pathogens.
- Incinerating plastics can lead to the production of carcinogenic compounds that get released into the air.
- Agricultural plastics require the use of fossil fuels, which contributes to the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Switching to Paper Packaging in Your Bakery
The food industry needs to be more proactive about plastics, there’s no doubt about that. Although there’s little that you can do to tackle the worldwide use of plastics in the food industry, you can take action in your own bakery to reduce your personal plastic usage.
Switching to paper cookie bags and baking packaging can significantly reduce the amount of plastic that your bakery requires. It also lowers your contribution to air and land pollution.
Using paper cookie bags encourages your customers to be more environmentally friendly too. They can dispose of their paper-based packaging responsibly by placing it into the correct recycling bins. The paper can be recycled and reused to make more future bakery bags or other materials.
Using top-quality paper cookie bags reduces the need for plastic containers while still keeping your foodstuff safe. It’s not just cookies that can be securely stored in paper bags either. Almost any fresh bakery foods can be served in paper bags in your bakery.
Paper is often a better option than plastic for bakery bags for a few different reasons; It decomposes much quicker than plastic and can be easily recycled and reused. It’s also renewable as you can replant trees to generate more paper in the future without needing to use non-renewable energy sources.
Wrapping it up
Since most plastic isn’t recycled and people don’t know how to correctly dispose of it, paper enables customers to make more environmentally conscious decisions when eating at a bakery. As bakery owners, you should prioritize finding the best packaging solution for your business needs.