Canada’s oldest and largest commercial bakery, Bimbo Canada, is taking an important step towards achieving a circular economy by transitioning plastic bread bag tags to compostable, cardboard bread bag clips on all bread products including Dempster’s®, Villaggio®, POM®, Bon Matin®, Ben’s®, and Stonemill®. Once complete, the change will reduce the company’s single-use plastic by approximately 200 metric tonnes annually.
“It’s important we lead change and be responsible stewards of the environment, and the communities that we live and work in, by delivering results,” said Joe McCarthy, President of Bimbo Canada. “This announcement helps us fulfill our commitment to Nourish A Better World through sustainable business practices and helps us to inspire others to do the same. All changes, big or small, make an impact.”
To make the change, Bimbo Canada partnered with KLR Systems, a Canadian company based in Quebec that is a leader in bakery manufacturing. The company received the Food Innovation Award from the Quebec Food Processing Council last year for the cardboard bread tag innovation.
“We developed this product knowing some small plastics, like bread tags, cannot always be recycled,” said Audrey Gagnon, General Manager of KLR Systems. “Our goal for this innovation was to leverage local renewable resources that benefit the environment while also creating a product that consumers were familiar with using. We are excited to work with Bimbo Canada on this initiative to bring more sustainable options to people across the country.”
The cardboard bread tags are made from 100 per cent recycled cardboard and are compostable in municipal systems across Canada with curbside organics pickup or local drop-off. They have been tested over repeated use cycles at room, refrigerator and freezer temperatures to ensure the clips keep products fresh until the last bite. They biodegrade in 84-days.
The clips have been certified by the Compost Manufacturing Alliance and have also been certified compostable in municipal settings by BNQ (Bureau de normalisation du Québec), a member of the National Standards System (NSS). The cardboard clips can be composted in municipal composting programs with curbside organics pickup or local drop-off. Canadians should check with their local waste management authority as these programs may not be available in their area. For areas without municipal composting programs, consumers are encouraged to place the clips inside a larger paper-based product in their recycling bin to aid in the sorting process.
This initiative brings Bimbo Canada one step closer to achieving its 2025 sustainability goal of having 100 per cent of its packaging support a circular economy through being recyclable, biodegradable or compostable. Last year, the company joined the Canada Plastics Pact and signed two Virtual Power Purchase agreements to offset 100 per cent of its electricity consumption once fully operational in December, 2022. And through other sustainability initiatives, we also made significant progress in 2021 reducing water by 77,569 m3 which would fill 31 Olympic-sized swimming pools, reducing natural gas use by 356,687 m3 which is enough to cook more than 1M meals, reducing electricity by 2.3M kWh which could power 209 Canadian homes for one year and reducing food waste by 380,556 kg which is enough food for 1.3M meals. These, among many other sustainability initiatives, will support the company’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.