With the growing movement towards zero waste, many of us are searching for alternatives within our daily lives.
Some alternatives are more difficult than others to implement but there is no reason not to start with easy plastic-free swaps.
Simple pleasures like buying bread can be zero waste by shopping at your local bakery and using a reusable bread bag to carry and store your bread.
Which Reusable Bread Bag?
Most reusable bread bags are multi-purpose meaning you can take them with you to the shop to carry your purchase and then use them for storage later as well.
But some people prefer to keep separate bags, one for when you are out and about shopping and another which stays clean at home.
I personally think the latter is the way to go for hygiene reasons.
This also allows you to get slightly different bags that are fit for each purpose, a drawstring bag or tote bag for shopping, a plastic-free bag for storing homemade bread and possibly reusable freezer bread bags.
So let’s take a look at the best reusable bags for each of your needs, remembering to only buy what you really need to keep your consumption and carbon footprint low.
Top PickLinen Reusable Bread Bag*
The most popular choice is this unbleached linen reusable bread bag which has a drawstring closure. Available from Koaland, the pack of 4 is the best value for money as you get two large bread bags and 2 extra-large bread bags which should cover you for large loaves of sourdough bread and other breads such as small dinner rolls. As these bags are made from linen with cotton drawstrings, they can be washed and reused hundreds of times.
100% Organic Linen Bread Bags*
If you eat a lot of baguettes or other long, thin type breads as well as regular loaves then choose this 4-pack which contains 2 large bread bags and 2 baguette sized bread bags. As an added benefit, these bags are made from 100% organic linen.
Set of 2 Reusable Bread Bags*
If you don’t have a need for 4 bread bags, these 2-packs are a more sustainable choice as you are limiting your consumption of the resources required to produce the bags. The great thing about these bread bags from Montecito Home is that you can choose the exact bags you need, either 2 extra-large boule bread bags or 2 baguette bread bags or a combo with one of each of the bags.
Note that some reusable bread bags, like this one*, are either fully made or lined with material derived from recycled plastic.
While I do appreciate plastic being repurposed, it can generally only be recycled once and so the final product, in this case, the polyester plastic bread bag would eventually end up in landfill.
Not only that, some products which are produced using recycled plastic can also contain virgin plastic, therefore contributing to the production of plastic and carbon emissions.
I’m not saying this is the case with these specific recycled plastic bags, just that it is something to be aware of and that not all brands are transparent about their production processes.
A recent IPEN report is also critical of the plastic recycling process:
It is apparent that neither chemical nor mechanical recycling of plastic waste can provide solutions to the rapidly increasing crisis of plastic pollution driven by exponential plastic production. The only viable solution is to cut plastic production, use alternative materials, and ban non-essential uses of plastic.IPEN – for a toxics-free future
Many of the recycled plastic bread bags are recommended for use as freezer bread bags.
It’s up to you if you feel comfortable using a plastic-based product for this purpose but for me, I don’t consider this to be zero waste and it doesn’t support a circular economy.
For these reasons, I prefer to use cotton or linen bread bags.
Linen is the most popular bread bag as the fabric allows the bread to stay dry, fresh and protected, extending its useful life.
Having said that, do what is best for you. It’s important that we eradicate single-use plastic from our lives and limit reusable plastic where possible.
But there are situations where we can’t always achieve zero waste, especially where not everyone has access to or the funds to purchase reusable products.
The key point is to change as much as we can when we can with respect to our own personal circumstances.