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Because You Asked

Can Bread Clips Be Recycled?

By Recyclebank |

Don’t overlook bread clips just because they’re small! You might be able to recycle them.

Dear Recyclebank,


I was wondering if you could recycle those colored bread clips in a curbside recycling bin. I know you could reuse them for projects but I was wondering about the proper disposal of them.

-Crystal D.


Dear Crystal,


In case people are wondering what you are referring to: Bread clips or tags (sometimes bag clips or tags) are the little, hard plastic closures that allow you to open and re-close food that comes in plastic bags, like bread and produce. Since these tags are used for packaging many basic food items, your grocery shopping trips can leave you with several plastic clips that can quickly add up.


Originally developed in the 1950s by the Kwik Lok Corporation, most bread clips are composed of plastic #6 polystyrene (PS). Most people are familiar with polystyrene in foam form (Styrofoam), but it’s also used to make rigid items such as CD cases, disposable kitchenware, and bread tags. Rigid polystyrene can be recycled, but it’s not commonly accepted by curbside recycling programs, so it typically ends up in landfills or incinerators.


To properly dispose of them (without sending them to a landfill), check with your city or waste hauler to see if your recycling program takes #6 plastics. If #6 is accepted, be sure to also check if bread clips specifically are fine to go in the recycling bin. Because of their small size, they could pose a problem to some recycling processors. If your city doesn’t accept #6, your best bet is reusing them or avoiding packaging that utilizes these plastic clips.


Or buy fresh bread packaged in paper as an alternative to plastic-bagged bread. If you have a great bakery in your neighborhood, take along a reusable bag to carry out your just-baked bread home. Store it by reusing a produce bag with a bread clip to close it, in an air-tight container (reusing those tin containers that used to hold biscuits and flavored popcorn work great), or a bread box. If you want to avoid both the bread clip and the plastic bread bag, try baking your own bread!


Kwik Lok Corporation
Nation of Change
Recycle Nation


What do you do with your bread clips—recycle, reuse, repurpose, or trash? Or have you found a way to avoid them? Share your experience in the comments below!

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