Plastic Free July 2020: Day 11 – Bread



Bread, glorious bread. Sorry anti-carbers, this day is not for you. Bread and bread-related items (pastries?) are kind of a staple in my house. Which is ironic considering yesterday’s post was mostly about eating healthier. But life is about balance.

What’s the most zero waste way to get your bread supply? Make your own, of course. That’s usually the most waste-free answer. But it’s also time consuming and requires a bit of skill. However, if you have a bread machine that’s not getting used, dust off that bad boy and make it count. No excuses!


But let’s talk about bread from the bakery, or grocery store. Chances are, if you’re going to a traditional bakery, in non-pandemic times, the staff are usually fine with you using your own cloth bread bags for transportation. They may hand you the bread or pastries in a piece of wax or parchment paper. That’s okay, they’re compostable. Maybe you can even find a way to get another couple uses out of it.



Grocery stores are a bit different. Some stores only have bread packaged in non-recyclable plastic bags. Sometimes you can get away with buying a baguette (or similar) in a paper bag. Lately, during the pandemic, stores in my neighborhood double-paper bag the bread. But I’m still grateful they’re not using plastic.



Similarly, if your grocery store has a bakery section, ask the bakers if you can use your cloth bags, though you might not have as much success. Whole Foods sometimes has a section where you can bag your own bread, but the barcode for the loaves are on their paper bags. This often requires you to take that paper bag to the register to be scanned, and then most likely it will get thrown out if you don’t take it with you. Not a great system that could easily be amended by having the codes available to the check out clerk at his or her station.

Understandably, these concepts might not seem as significant as personal safety. Is it riskier to touch the tongs in the bakery section to bag your own bread than to grab a plastic bag of pre-sliced bread? Probably. But it would also be safer to bake the bread at home and not go into the store at all. And you can always use the wax/parchment paper squares provided to grab the tongs without making contact with your hands. Just be mindful of not touching your face until you are able to disinfect your hands.

And the ingredients for making bread are often easier to find plastic-free than the bread itself: flour and sugar are often available in paper packaging, and yeast can be found in glass.

And nothing smells better than freshly baked bread.



photos courtesy of 



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