Can Packaging be recycled?

The recycling situation in New Zealand is rather dispiriting once you start to investigate it.

In some parts of New Zealand household plastics are collected, but they are not then recycled within New Zealand. Materials collected at our gates maybe sorted, compacted into bundles and shipped off shore for "further processing" - what that means is not clear. Maybe it goes into a poorer country's landfill? We have not been able to find any commercial incineration or recycling to handle collected plastics in NZ. In other areas of NZ they simply go into our landfill.

On a more positive note, a new initiative is being rolled out throughout NZ to enable the recycling of soft plastic bags into new plastic objects. You can read all about it here and it is perfect for all Breadman Bags.



You can read about the wider Government approach to waste management here;



And here is an excellent overview of the wider challenges and issues (sit down with a stiff drink before reading, its depressing)



We would be delighted to package bread in simple paper bags, closed with a sticker but there are a number of problems with that, one of which is that people really like to see the bread they are buying and a plastic window in the bag rather defeats the point.  We are packing our online orders in paper and for the month of July are trialling with paper bags with our good friends at Commonsense Organics. We will need to get over the issue that pretty much all paper bags in NZ come from overseas - usually China - and are not necessaily produced food safe environment, nor in a factory where workers rights, environmental controls and the like are what we would want them to be. So far there is no perfect answer to packaging or bags and the current situation is well summarised here .

2018 Update 

Finally the time came for us to order a new supply of bags. As a small business we need to order in big numbers ( for us) to get a good price, so we do not need to order very often. We took the opportunity to talk to our good friends at Ristrom Packaging, who are a locally owned business who produce packaging themselves right here in our home town of Christchurch. There are many, many options for packaging producers and distributors in NZ but few of them actually make their products here. Much of the packing used in NZ is made in China sent here and then repackaged and sold as if it was made in NZ. Like a lot of things. 

We need packaging that is;

  • hygienic - we take food safety very seriously
  • robust - no one wants to buy bread in a ripped bag
  • able to be composted or recycled 
  • reasonably proced - we want to keep our food as affordable as possible

We have explored the options available in NZ and decided that what we currently have is the one which currently meets all our needs because;

  1. It is hygienic and protects bread for contamination yet is perforated to allow the bread to breathe
  2. It is strong enough to withstand travel and life on a shop shelf 
  3. Whilst it can't be composted, it can go in the soft plastics recyling bins which are getting great traction throughout NZ. An additional environmental plus is that it has not been shipped here from China 
  4. It is reasonably priced and we love that it is a locally owned and staffed business so we have the added bonus of supporting a fellow Kiwi business who have sound employment terms and wages

We have been asked why we don't use a compostable option and we have looked at this very carefully. At this stage there is no product which meets our needs plus, and its a big consideration - anything which has been printed or had a label stuck on to it has likely been treated with some sort of plastic coating to allow the dye/adhestive to stick to it, and therefore is not composable. The compostable bags which are currently available are still pretty fragile and not suitable for commercial food packaging - yet. But we look forward to when they are.

Our Paper Packaging Trial

In July 2018 we partnered with Commonsense Organics to try paper packaging and you can read what happened on our blog, linked here 

Are you Certified Organic?

No, the Bakery is not a certified organic site. The reason for this is that we need to have flexibility to use non organic ingredients in certain circumstances. For example, if there is no Organic Rye available; a situation which is more and more likely as droughts affect local crops in NZ and Australia. Farmers can run out, their crop may not be up to standard or any number of other things can happen which mean that we have to choose between ceasing production or sourcing alternative ingredints which may not be organic.

If this happens the products will be cleary marked to say that a non organic ingredient has been substituted.  

Under normal curcumstances the ingredients we use are all from certified organic producers.

How do I keep my bread fresh?

No Preservatives - No Additives! How to keep your bread fresh

All our breads are packaged in perforated bags which allow them to breathe. As living breads it is important that they do not get too hot so the perforations allow air to circulate, keeps bread fresh, allows the bread to mature as well as minimising the chance of mould developing.

In warmer weather breads need to be kept in a cool airy place out of direct sunlight. Humid conditions will provide a great enviroment for mould to develop so make sure that you are not keeping it in a bread bin on the bench in the sunlight!

Gluten Free breads and those with Nuts and Seeds in are particularly suceptible to mould in wam and humid climates, so will last better in the 'warmest' part of the fridge.


Many customers buy bread in bulk for freezing. To make sure your bread stays in perfect condition follow these simple tips;

  • If you are the only one in the the house hold eating it, slice the loaf in half, or even individual slices, before freezing so that you can defrost small amounts at a time

  • Firmly DOUBLE WRAP bread before freezing in a frost proof bag and seal it as tightly as possible. Perforated bags are good for keeping fresh bread fresh, but not good for keeping frost out in the freezer. Plastic supermarket bags are perfectly adequate. Now that we will all be running out of platic supermarket bags, a compostable bag firmly secured on the outside of our perforated bag has worked well for us, as will a thick wrapping of news or other paper if well secured. The point is to stop moisture getting in and forming ice.

  • Mark outer bag with the date it was put in the freezer so you can keep track and use the oldest first without having to unwrap it.

  • Whilst bread freezes very well, like most things, the sooner you use it the better it will be. We recommend that frozen bread is used within 4 months of freezing for optimum quality retention. 

  • Defrost naturally at cool room temperature, out of the sun   

  • Once defrosted, treat as for fresh bread

  • Do not refreeze previously frozen bread

Extra Tips for keeping your bread mould free in hot weather - applies especially to the Gluten Free, Four Seed and Hazel & Walnut breads;

  • Remove the bread from the bag ASAP as the area under the label is susceptible to becoming humid and it is there that mould often first forms
  • Store it in the warmest part of the fridge either in a brown paper bag, cooking paper or something similar which does not become 'clammy' or damp
  • Slice and freeze either in individual slices or just in halves - be sure to wrap well in the freezer, our perforated bags do not work!
  • Pre order from your lovely local retailers so that they get it as fresh as possible!

Is Everything Gluten Free?

NO!!!!! We are not a dedicated gluten free bakery. We make a range of products which ARE gluten free as well as those which are not.

The gluten free products are;

  • Buckwheat and Corn Breads
  • Cassava and Cassava fruit Breads
  • Crunchy Corn Crackers

The Bakers take extreme care to ensure separation between gluten and non gluten products by using dedicated equipment and manufacturing in a  specific way to avoid any cross contamination. We have a regular testing regime to check that the gluten freeproducts do not contain gluten.

However, we are a bakery and not a laboratory. We use bread bags which are perforated and not airtight sealed because our bread is alive and needs to breathe. 

For those with extreme gluten intolerance / Coeliacs Disease general advice is to avoid any product which is not made in a dedicated gluten free plant. 

We are not a dedicated plant.

What about sugar?

We don't have any sugar in the bakery. The muesli is sweetened with date paste which we make ourselves.

The sugar content of the bread and crackers is simply that which is in the grains themselves.


Vegan v Vegetarian

From January 2017 everything in our bakery is Vegan. No animals are harmed in the production of our bread and the only ones 'tested' on are the feathered friends we feed any leftovers to. 

Previously, the starter which we used for the backferment breads - Four Seed and Hazel & Walnut - contained a minute amount of honey in their starter, which was itself a small part of the overall bread. We also used to toast the muesli with honey.

Now we use dates to sweeten the muesli and the bakers are making their starters without honey.

And of course there are no eggs or dairy in any of our products.