Friday for the future – 9th April 2021
Another Friday and another idea how we might help win the battle against climate change and environmental damage
The current pandemic has had a significant impact on the use of single use plastics. What was frowned upon before Covid 19, is now deemed essential as regards packaging. We sleeve our bread with paper sleeves to be able to label the bread and were proud of our lack of packaging. Now, for most shops, we have to bag what we display and every loaf that we sell has it’s own plastic bag. We buy perforated plastic to enable the bread to breathe as it leaves the bakehouse still warm. This morning we made 100 Sourdough, 30 Soda, 20 yeast loaves , 30 baguettes, 60 Stromboli, 30 scones and 30 pies. You do the maths. We are only one tiny bakery. You do the maths for the country.
My question this Friday is: Do we really need it? There is no law, there is some guidance and while some shops display the bread behind their perspex screens other leave it out but most request plastic packaging. On the market, we have established distancing with an empty table between the customers and the bread remains unpackaged. We observe strict food hygene, which we would have done before the pandemic as well, handling the bread with tongs or cloves but displaying it openly. For the entire year, I only got two comments of people looking for all bread to be packaged. Both times I asked about the plastic situation and damage and they agreed that there was no winning….. but said they would just feel safer. A fair comment and a sad reflection of this strange time where fear rules .
Looking for facts, I went back to source and checked the website of the World Health Organisation. They say quite clearly: “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through contact with food or food packaging. COVID-19 is generally thought to be spread from person to person. However, it’s always important to practice good hygiene when handling food to prevent any food-borne illnesses.” We have always known that and practise that. So, I would ask the question this week. Can we please remember the other world problems and not create this packaging mountain unnecessarily. There is no evidence that bread should be packaged while on display. It should be treated with respect, obviously only touching bread we intent do buy etc. But we did this before Covid and now, that everyone wears masks, arguable we are a lot safer around open food.
Let’s respect and beat Covid but get the fact, keep our fear in check and please let’s not forget: Single use plastic is still a problem and we are all the answer.