Starting this week, Albert Heijn is replacing its plastic bread clips with paper alternatives in a bid to increase the recyclability of its bread bag packaging.

In collaboration with the bakery business Borgesius, the retailer is implementing paper bread clips for its bread bags. Sell-by and best-before dates can be printed directly onto the clips, which are said to be easily recyclable in a reported first for bread bag packaging.

“We are constantly looking at possibilities to use less material, as much recycled material as possible and 100% recyclable material,” says Henk van Harn, director of merchandising and sourcing at Albert Heijn. “The well-known plastic bread clips, of which we use 125 million annually, cannot be recycled because they are too small for the sorting machines used for plastic waste. The transition to paper is a nice interpretation of our mission ’Making better food accessible together. For everyone.”

The paper clips will begin their roll-out this week and are set to package more products in the coming months; they are expected to completely replace plastic clips by the summer.

Another effort expected to improve the recyclability of bread packaging came in the form of WM and Dow’s pilot scheme thought to enable the kerbside recycling of hard-to-recycle plastic films in Hickory Hills, Illinois.

Morrisons also opened a pilot store that aimed to enable ‘plastic-free shopping’ through such solutions as selling ‘loose’, packaging-free frozen bread.