Question- Is The Plastic Packaging of Breads Harmful? If yes, what are the alternatives available to it?
BREAD, has been a prominent food in large parts of the world. It is one of the oldest man-made foods, having been of significant importance since the dawn of Agriculture, playing an essential role in religious rituals and secular culture.
Interesting HISTORY of Bread:
•Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods. It has Evidence from 30,000 years ago in Europe and Australia.
•Parts of the ancient world used a paste composed of grape juice and flour that was allowed to begin fermenting, or wheat bran as a source for Yeast. This happened long before yeast came into existence.
Traditionally, packaging materials had to be as inert as possible (so-called passive packaging), and bread was protected by the main causes of spoilage, such as oxygen, mostly by films made of synthetic polymers with low gas permeability.
More recently, a new concept was developed to allow packaging to interact with food after a provisional safety evaluation. Known as active packaging and intelligent packaging, they are made of functional materials that deliberately interact with bread for the purpose of extending or monitoring its shelf life.
Nano packaging systems are also under study and, to accomplish environmental requirements, biodegradable factors, etc.
CURRENT SCENARIO OF BREAD:
When we buy bread, it comes wrapped in a plastic bag! For most of us, these days, yes, it does come mostly wrapped in a plastic bag. Unfortunately, those plastic bread bags are contributing to three big problems:
the huge amounts of plastic ‘waste’ that is polluting our common home and all who live here (including we humans),
•Pollution created when plastic is made,and
•Damage to our climate, from the extraction and transport of the fossil gas and oil that is used to make most plastic.
Other than the Plastic Bag Packaging, Paper Bags are used to sell Breads by the manufacturers. Paper Bags are used for a certain type of Breads only like country loaf, baguette, ciabatta , etc . Paper Bags:
•Are open and exposed to air , which makes the Bread Crispier as time passes by.
•Makes the Bread Dry,
•Helps Bread to maintain its crustiness and Hardness!
When we, buy a normal Whole wheat Bread or any other sweet Breads, we want it to be soft and remain fresh as long as possible! Who does not want a Bread Like that?! This is when the plastic comes in for help. It limits the water loss of Bread , keeping the moisture intact for a very long time which inturn keeps the Bread very fresh.
The Manufacturers choose the packaging options based on its effeciency and effectiveness. Type of Bread, It’s cost, customer preference, Quality of Bread , It’s staleness, Temperature, everything combined decides the packaging.
WHAT IS PLASTIC?
Plastic is not found in nature. It has been developed and created by humans in the last few decades. Plastic also persists for a very long time. When you hear that it breaks down, that usually means that it breaks into smaller and smaller peices. Plastic is now found almost everywhere in the world – even in our FOOD.
As well, almost all plastic is made from coal or fossil gas or oil – and they all cause their own problems as well as the problems from plastic. For example:
•To get coal or fossil gas or oil out of the ground, local environments are destroyed, streams and ground water is depleted or polluted, and air is polluted. This is particularly the case for open cut coal mines and unconventional gas wells. Oil spills and seismic testing for oil under the sea also destroy marine wildlife. Apart from the damage to the natural world, people’s health and livelihoods suffer.
•Creation of plastics (especially from fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal) creates pollutants.
•When fossil gas is extracted and transmitted in pipelines, it leaks and damages our climate.
RISK OF PLASTIC PACKAGING:
We’re just beginning to understand some of the short- and long-term risks associated with the chemicals in packaging: obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other health issues.
Breads packaging might actually introduce chemicals that could infiltrate our food.This type of wrapping probably contains phthalates, one of the most widespread endocrine disruptors. But plastic films are typically unmarked, making it difficult to deduce which types of chemicals are in them.
Truly said , that – ‘Mordern Life is truly Poisoning us.’
Other main risk on Plastic Packaging is that it uses a product which is Non – Biodegradable and a complete waste after the Bread is consumed and also during it is being consumed.
AlTERNATIVES to Plastic Packaging:
1. Yes, we can RECYCLE the plastic bags as an alternate to the problem arising – if we have access to a collection point. Some bread manufacturers are even encouraging people to recycle their bags, even if the message is rather discreet.
Yet that is not dealing with the plastic problem. The plastic bags can only be recycled into other, hard plastic products. They cannot be recycled into new plastic bags. And, in the end, it is still plastic.
2. Buying fresh bread in paper bags or no bags eliminates your plastic wrapping ‘waste’ from shop-bought bread and helps support local businesses. So, the second alternative is to start buying Bread which is being sold in Paper Bags. Yes, it won’t remain as fresh for a long time but atleast we will be safe from the toxic consumptions or chemicals that are present in plastic.
Buying bread without plastic packaging,in other words,is like putting your money where your mouth is. That’s the market at work – a very effective way of getting messages to businesses.
3. The Third and final alternative is buying bread without packaging. Find a local baker or supermarket that sells bread without packaging or in paper packaging – and buy that bread.
•Take your own clean cloth or paper bags with you when you go shopping for bread.
•Get to know your local bread supplier. Talk with them about their bread and how you are trying to reduce plastic consumption .
When the whole world is aware about how dangerous the plastic could be, it must be banned in the first place. Then, there would be no food packaged in plastic to tamper with our health. Instead of banning the plastic carry bags, the packaging must be stopped from the source of it.
Being said that, plastic packaging has become such an integral part of our lives now that eliminating it would rather be difficult, both on part of manufacturers and also the customers.
Before any eco-Friendly ways are found to deduct and eliminate plastics, we must come together and make ourselves safer by making the right choice.
Lets live – Low Carbon Life by eliminating buying breads in plastic wrappers. Buy your Bread Fresh and later store it in your own container or paper bags at home. This will result in your body being more healthier by consuming less to no toxins or chemicals that were present in plastic waste. Moreover, by saying NO to plastic, you are helping your mother nature to become a much beautiful place to live in.
It’s a challenge that needs our Commitment because if we won’t buy it, they, won’t make it!
And Remember, Fresh Bread you will meet everyday is still rising. Don’t scare the Dough.