Removing plastic tags from bread bags is a small change that can have a big impact – and two companies have just announced such a change in their packaging.

George Weston Foods will replace plastic bread bag tags with fully recyclable cardboard ones on Ploughmans Bakery and Bürgen bread. The new tags will be used to seal all Ploughmans and Bürgen loaves throughout New Zealand, seven days a week.

This is the first step in the company’s plastic tag elimination programme, which will eliminate 18 million plastic tags from the waste stream in the first year and ultimately remove 75 million. This will represent over 26,250 kgs of plastic that will no longer litter footpaths, roads, carparks and beaches or leach into waterways from landfill.

Meanwhile, Nature’s Fresh is also beginning to transition away from plastic tags – phasing in new recyclable cardboard bread tags one day a week from 14 August, on all Nature’s Fresh loaves from its Auckland Bakery. The progressive rollout will then move through its network of bakeries across New Zealand, all initially one day a week, with the intention of moving to exclusive use of recyclable cardboard bread tags at every bakery and every day, within the next few months.

Nature’s Fresh has the opportunity to remove up to 15 million plastic bread tags from landfill each year. The cardboard bread tags on Nature’s Fresh loaves will be fully recyclable*, and made from 100% recycled content, but don’t compromise on durability – in fact, they are considerably less prone to the dreaded ‘snapping’ that can occur with plastic bread tags.

Mark Bosomworth, General Manager,
George Weston Foods (NZ) Limited

The switch from plastic to recyclable cardboard tags on Nature’s Fresh loaves comes off the back of Goodman Fielder’s recently launched corporate sustainability goals, which include other commitments like switching its fleet of 110 sales force vehicles to hybrid models by the end of 2022, reducing fuel consumption of the fleet by 41%, and in July this year moved to 100% renewable electricity at all of its Goodman Fielder operated Bakeries. 

But what about the plastic bags still used for packaging the bread?

Nature’s Fresh is also a proud supporter of the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme, which aims to come up with ways to turn soft plastics into useful products, such as fence posts. Nature’s Fresh trucks are currently used to collect the soft plastics collected by the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme from Christchurch before transporting it back to Auckland to be processed, to help solve the problem of getting soft plastics from the South Island to the processing facility in Auckland.

Bernard Duignan, Goodman Fielder NZ CEO, commented: “Our products are the cornerstones of millions of Kiwi pantries, and we are committed to using that reach as a force for good. Commencing the rollout of recyclable cardboard bread tags on our Nature’s Fresh loaves is an important milestone for Goodman Fielder and is the start of our rollout across all brands which will see a total of over 100 million plastic tags annually removed from circulation.   

*Due to their small size, the best way to ensure the new recyclable cardboard bread tags are properly processed by our NZ recycling system is to collect them in an envelope before depositing with general paper/cardboard recycling.

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