Can Bread Bags Be Recycled?

Can Bread Bags Be Recycled?

When purchasing packaging materials, purchasing managers no longer only have to consider cost and durability, but the list of requirements has expanded to now include sustainability. Luckily, advancements in poly bag manufacturing are allowing for the innovation of recyclable alternatives that still align with the cost-effectiveness and durability of traditional packaging solutions. 

One specific area where purchasing managers may look to switch to environmentally-friendly packaging solutions is at the grocery store, and more specifically, the bread aisle. Let’s explore whether bread bags are recyclable, as well as some more sustainable alternatives to traditional bread packaging. 

Are Bread Bags Recyclable?

The short answer is, it depends. What it depends on is where you’re recycling them. 

The vast majority of community recycling centers do not accept bread bags in curbside recycling bins. The reason behind this is that most facilities do not have the proper equipment or enough personnel to be able to handle smaller, thinner plastic items like bread bags. These small plastic bags would clog conveyor belts and jam the machinery, requiring the problem to be cleared by hand. This would make recycling operations very costly and inefficient. 

An alternative to curbside recycling is the recycling programs facilitated by local grocery stores. Grocery stores offer recycle bins typically near their entrances where customers can recycle plastic grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, produce bags, and more. 

However, this option is not always accessible as it should be. They’re inconvenient for customers. In addition to asking customers to save their plastic bread bags separately from the rest of their recyclables, this recycling option also requires customers to remember to bring their bags back to the grocery store. This option also requires the bags to be completely clean, free of crumbs, and dry. 

Are There Recyclable Options for Bread Bags?

Now that we’ve determined that bread bags can be recycled, let’s discuss the recyclable options available when manufacturing bread bags. When considering recyclable alternatives, one of the first options that comes to mind is paper bags. However, this option is quickly determined to be an insufficient solution for housing bread. Paper bags are not durable enough to safely store and transport bread.  

If we don’t want to use plastic to store bread, but we also can’t use paper, what materials are we left with? 

While the use of plastic bags is widely frowned-upon today, plastic still provides necessary packaging solutions for the agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. In order to continue meeting the demands of both customers and society as a whole, the poly bag industry continues to make improvements and drive innovation. 

Plant-based additives are driving the poly bag industry forward, providing customers with an option that contains less plastic, is made from fewer fossil fuels, and has less of a negative impact on the environment. Poly bags made with plant-based additives are also durable and cost-effective. Customers are able to access solutions that fit their budget, meet durability requirements, and address the environmentally-conscious demands of the market. Plant-based poly bags offer the best of both worlds!

A More Sustainable Option for Bread Bags

A-Pac Manufacturing is proud to offer a new sustainable packaging solution: poly bags manufactured with plant-based additive NuPlastiQ. This option allows you to enjoy the benefits of plastic bag packaging, while also building a better future for our environment. By adding up to 20% plant-based material, we are able to provide you with the durable poly bag solutions your business needs while also supporting green packaging initiatives. 

NuPlastiQ plant-based poly bags are customizable, recyclable, and utilize up to 20% less fossil fuels. You can feel confident in this plant-based solution because it’s cost-effective, provides an environmentally friendly option for conscious consumers, and meets the durability demands of product storage and transportation. 

Plant-Based Bread Bags

In the interest of providing customers with a more sustainable bread bag solution, A-Pac Manufacturing offers poly bag formulas with up to 20% plant-based additives. When looking for recyclable bread bags, this customizable solution is a great option. If you’re interested in exploring this sustainable packaging solution, for bread or truly any other packaging need you may have, contact our team

 

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta
What is Food Grade Plastic?

What is Food Grade Plastic?

Food grade plastic is plastic material deemed safe for use with foods. Plastic must meet strict requirements in order to be considered food safe, and is regulated by higher standards than plastic used for other purposes. Let’s take a closer look at food grade plastic, what makes it safe for food over other types of plastic and some examples of how food grade plastic is used.

What is Food Grade Plastic?

Food grade plastic must be produced using safe materials in a safe environment. For plastic to be used in contact with food or food products, it must:

  • Be protective: to act as a defense against moisture or contamination without breaking down 
  • Be durable: to protect food items during manufacturing, packaging, storage, transportation
  • Be chemically safe: to not contaminate food it comes in contact with. This means the plastic must have no tendency for “leeching”, or the potential for chemicals to seep into the food, where they could either affect the taste or cause adverse health effects for the consumer.

How Does Plastic Become Food Grade Plastic?

To be certified as safe and labeled food grade, the plastic must meet strict standards set by the Food & Drug Administration and other regulating organizations.

Food Grade Plastic Materials

First, the FDA must approve of the materials being used to manufacture the food grade plastic. They examine all ingredients and additives to ensure they are safe and will not affect the taste, odor, or color of the food. They will also test the materials for adverse responses to temperature changes, humidity and moisture, or the presence of other chemicals, oils, or alcohols. This verifies that the plastic will hold up for packaging, manufacturing or other uses.

Food Grade Plastic Manufacturing Facility

Secondly, the facility where the food grade plastic is manufactured must meet stringent cleanliness requirements and have good manufacturing practices in place to minimize potential risks of contamination of its products. Standards documents issued by the International Standards Organization regulate the environment of the manufacturing facility to ensure consistently high quality and clean products. ISO 9000 is the minimum standard with which most food grade plastic manufacturers must comply.

Food Grade Plastic Certifications

Lastly, once the food grade plastic has been used to make plastic film or bags to ship, store, or transport food, its quality will be checked again by the manufacturer and attributed with the correct certifications for food grade and safety. 

The Food Safety System Certification (FSSC 22000), established by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is one example of a food safety certification for food grade plastic. With this certification, a quality management system is established for the food grade plastic product that continues throughout the product’s lifetime, from manufacturing to the end consumer, to ensure it is consistently high quality and food safe.

Uses of Food Grade Plastic

Food grade plastic is used in many applications, from the packaging and shipping of harvested crops to the supermarket, or the development and distribution of pharmaceutical products. Different types of plastic can be made food grade to handle different products or different environments. A few examples of food grade plastic include:

  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE): plastic bottles or jars like single serving water bottles or condiment containers.
  • High-density polyethylene (HDPE): milk jugs, grocery bags, squeeze-dispenser bottles
  • Polyvinyl chloride: cling wrap, high clarity food storage bags
  • Low-density polyethylene (LDPE): produce bags, bread bags, can rings
  • Polypropylene (PP): clear wrappers, bottles for medication
  • Polystyrene (PS): plastic silverware, to-go containers

All of these materials (& more) can be made food grade to provide a safe material for food packaging, storage, and consumption. They are made in a strictly controlled environment to ensure that consumer safety remains top priority.

Looking for food grade plastic bags? A-Pac Manufacturing can help. From frozen foods to bread to produce like peppers and potatoes, we offer a variety of poly bags to suit any need. With custom printing also available, we can develop a custom food-grade poly bag for any company with any need. 

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta
FSSC + GFSI Food Safety Certifications Explained

FSSC + GFSI Food Safety Certifications Explained

If you’re in the food production, packaging or retail industries, you’ve likely heard the terms GFSI and FSSC certifications — but what are they and what do they mean for businesses in our industry?

What is GFSI?

GFSI, the Global Food Safety Initiative, is an independently-reviewed organization which establishes standards and certifications to regulate food safety on a global scale. GFSI delivers confidence to companies and consumers that food is grown, produced, packaged, shipped, and sold safely. 

GFSI continues to develop new ways to improve food safety and standards, ensuring unbiased reporting and accountability. This agency established the food safety certification FSSC 22000 to govern food quality in a way that is comprehensive, effective, and versatile for different industries. 

What is FSSC 22000?

FSSC 22000, or Food Safety System Certification, is a complete food safety certification which ensures the management of quality through the entire food production process – from production, to processing, to packaging, to purchase.

What About ISO 22000?

Both ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 are international standards that regulate components of food safety. FSSC 22000 uses ISO 22000 as a building block, to be customized for food quality in your industry’s specialty. It incorporates the quality management system established in ISO 22000 with a few additions.

The main difference from ISO 22000 is that when your facility complies with the FSSC 22000 standard, you will receive approval from the Global Food Systems Initiative (GFSI). This allows you to access worldwide markets under the GFSI umbrella. 

That’s just the basics — let’s break down FSSC 22000 a bit further.

FSSC 22000 Food Safety Certification

FSSC 22000 was developed by GFSI based on ISO 22000, to provide a more focused look at standards in the food industry. The expansion of ISO 22000 includes:

  • Prerequisite Program: A system of procedures that regulate operating conditions and practices in food facilities in order to ensure product quality and consistency, and consumer safety. The procedures are relevant to the activity itself — for example, food packaging vs. farming do not share the same procedure, so are governed by related but distinct methods. 
  • Refined focus to food industries and the operations at each facility. 
  • Additional standards for food fraud and food defense against bioterrorism.

FSSC 22000 ensures food safety by defining standards for quality at all levels of food production, managing risks that occur during the supply chain, and evaluating facilities for compliance with a clear set of procedures. It regulates food industries for safety in all stages, including processing, manufacturing, packaging, storage, transportation, handling, distribution, and retail.

The FSSC 22000 food safety certification lasts for 3 years and requires at least one unannounced audit before renewal.

Who Does FSSC Apply To?

The FSSC 22000 certification was designed to meet the needs of an international industry for a global food safety scheme. It applies to all companies in the food supply chain including farming of produce and animal products, food processing, animal feed production, food ingredients (including additives, cultures, and vitamins), and food packaging manufacturing. 

GFSI-recognized companies that are able to meet international standards may enter the international markets and be accepted by new customers and suppliers who share the quality management system. This means a seamless integration of food safety standards from source to consumer, which protects both the company and the customer.

Benefits of FSSC 22000 Certification 

The FSSC 22000 certification allows facilities to ensure that a product meets specific international standards. A FSSC certified company can assure their customers that their products have been manufactured, packaged and handled correctly and safely. 

Some other benefits of the FSSC 22000 certification are:

  • A comprehensive food safety and quality management system that ensures product quality and consistency throughout the supply chain.
  • Compliance with food safety legislation, regulations, and customer expectations.
  • A framework that can be tailored to your industry and customer needs through activity-specific prerequisites. FSSC 22000 can be easily integrated with other management systems. 
  • Innovation and continuous improvement of procedures throughout the company. The FSSC 22000 demonstrates a commitment to delivering the best possible product to the consumer.
  • International recognition by GFSI, which owns and maintains the FSSC 22000 certification — something ISO 22000 can’t offer. GFSI approval offers access to top retailers worldwide.

For companies that are already ISO 22000 certified, achieving the FSSC 22000 is the logical next step. It upgrades their food safety certification and grants them access to a broader market.

Why Do FSSC 22000 and GFSI Certifications Matter?

For consumers, working with a company that is FSSC 22000 certified, they can trust the company to maintain strict quality standards throughout their manufacturing process. The certification not only establishes trust for the consumer, but also protects the company brand and minimizes risk. The quality management system of FSSC 22000 and GFSI approval means consistently better quality products and a consistently better business.

A-Pac Manufacturing is proud to hold the FSSC 22000 certification and GFSI recognition. This means we can guarantee our product quality for food industry applications, and better serve our customers with exceptional poly bags for all their needs. For more information about our food grade products, reach out to us today.

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta
5 Common Types of Poly Bags

5 Common Types of Poly Bags

Poly bags are some of the most popular uses of poly sheeting. They can have diverse uses from packaging food to small parts to building supplies. Poly bags are made from stretching sheets of film to the proper length, which are then cut and sealed to form a pouch.

The two most common poly bag materials are polyethylene and polypropylene. Of these two, polyethylene is the popular choice because of its versatility. Polyethylene bags can be developed at different densities to give the bags unique properties, strengths, and uses. Polypropylene is also highly valued for its clarity and tensile strength. Let’s take a look at the 5 common poly bag types made from these two materials.

#1-4 Polyethylene Poly Bag Types

Polyethylene is the result of the polymerization of ethylene gas. This process creates long, straight chains of hydrocarbons. From the main strand, branches can form in different directions. The amount of branching determines the type of polyethylene. When very few branches form, the polyethylene is more dense. Conversely, when more branching occurs there’s more space between the molecules, so we end up with a less dense polyethylene.

A few common varieties of polyethylene that can be used to make excellent quality poly bags are High Density, Low Density, Linear Low Density, and Medium Density.

#1 HDPE Poly Bags

High density polyethylene, or HDPE, is formed when minimal branching from the main strand occurs during the polymerization process. The result is a tightly packed structure of molecules and a more dense, less flexible material. The advantages of HDPE are that it is very resistant to punctures and tears, and can be used to package heavy items safely and effectively.

HDPE poly bags are often used to contain bulk items like construction materials such as cement and sand, but can also be food-safe for items like bulk dry goods such as rice or other grains. HDPE poly bags are also useful for packaging irregularly shaped products, especially those with pointed or sharp edges.

#2 LDPE Poly Bags

Low density polyethylene (LDPE) is a variety of polyethylene where a lot of branching occurs during polymerization, creating more space in the molecular structure and a less dense material. This creates a poly bag that is much more flexible, typically with good clarity to make it easy to see what’s inside. One characteristic of LDPE poly bags is that they are easier to tear than other poly bag types. While for some applications, easy access is an advantage, sensitive products or bulky items might be better protected with a more dense plastic.

LDPE poly bags are great for lightweight items requiring good visibility and ease of access like small parts, food items, and pallet covers. They are also commonly used for temporary storage, i.e. grocery bags and shopping totes.

#3 LLDPE Poly Bags

LLDPE, or linear low density polyethylene, is similar to LDPE in that the polymerization process involves a high level of branching. However, the branches that form from the main polymer chain are short and parallel, allowing them to move in tandem with one another and not become tangled — as is the tendency with branches in standard low density polyethylene. The result is a poly bag type that has a higher tensile strength and puncture resistance than LDPE, without sacrificing flexibility.

LLDPE is commonly used to make poly bags for produce in grocery stores, as the thinner gauge potential can save material costs while still providing adequate strength with quality sealing options. LLDPE poly bags are typically less clear than LDPE poly bags, so they are more useful in applications where strict clarity isn’t a high priority.

#4 MDPE Poly Bags

Medium density polyethylene (MDPE) is created when the main strand of hydrocarbons has fewer branching strands than low density polyethylene but more than high density polyethylene. Similarly, MDPE falls between these two types in terms of resistance and strength. MDPE poly bags aren’t as dense as HDPE, but are just as heavy-duty. They are also less susceptible to stress cracking and have impressive shock resistance properties. They make a great protective layer against moisture, debris, and external damage when used as packaging.

#5 Polypropylene Poly Bags

Polypropylene (PP) is a common poly bag material that is in a category of its own. Although also in the family of polyolefins, polypropylene is made from the polymerization of the olefin propylene. It’s second to polyethylene as one of the most-used poly bag types, and is growing in popularity due to its useful applications in packaging. Characterized by its crystal clear appearance and high tensile strength, polypropylene offers more heat and chemical resistance than polyethylene. Its edges can be sharp, so it’s best used in applications where it can’t scratch the product or contents.

Polypropylene bags are commonly used for food packaging, electronics manufacturing, and in hospitals to keep contents free of contaminants. PP poly bags are protective against moisture, vapors, and debris. Combined with a higher heat resistance than LDPE, PP poly bags are useful in applications with outdoor exposure. Also, their high clarity makes them perfect for packaging where visibility of the contents is paramount.

Polyethylene and polypropylene are the two most popular poly bag types. Knowing the differences between them and the advantages they offer can help you decide which is the best fit for your needs. For more help choosing the right poly bag, reach out to the team at A-Pac directly.

Whether you’re looking for HDPE, LDPE, or anything in between, A-Pac can help. We offer custom poly bags with no minimum order, which means no matter what type you need, we can manufacture and ship in as few as 2-3 weeks.

 

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta