A consumer in a supermarket bakery section reading an eco-label on a product.  A collage image showing a variety of eco-labels with images of the earth, trees, recycling symbol, and bakery items in the background

Decoding Eco-labels on Bakery Packaging: A Guide for Consumers

In today's environmentally conscious world, more and more consumers are looking for ways to reduce their ecological footprint. One of the ways to do so is by choosing products that bear eco-labels on their packaging. But what do these labels mean, and how can you, as a consumer, make sense of them? Here's your guide to understanding eco-labels on bakery packaging.


1. Compostable

The term "compostable" on bakery packaging means that the packaging materials can break down into natural elements in a compost environment. This process typically has to occur in a specific setting, often at industrial composting facilities. Be aware that not all regions have such facilities available, so the feasibility of composting may depend on your location.


2. Biodegradable

Biodegradable packaging breaks down and returns to nature. In other words, microorganisms in the environment can break down the materials into natural elements. However, this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, and there's no guarantee that the materials will completely degrade without leaving toxic residue.


3. Recyclable

If your bakery packaging is labeled as "recyclable," it means the materials can be processed to make new items. This can significantly reduce the need for new material production, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Be sure to check with local recycling guidelines, as not all materials are accepted everywhere.


4. Made from Recycled Materials

Packaging labeled as "made from recycled materials" is made from materials that have already served their purpose and would otherwise have been thrown away. This can help save resources, reduce waste, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.


5. FSC Certified

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is given to products that are sourced from responsibly managed forests. If your bakery packaging bears this label, it means the paper or cardboard used is sourced from forests that meet the social, economic, and ecological needs of present and future generations.


6. Plastic-Free

A "plastic-free" label indicates that the packaging does not contain any plastic. Instead, it's likely made from materials such as paper, cardboard, or other plant-based materials. These materials are typically easier to recycle and may be compostable or biodegradable.


7. Carbon Neutral

Packaging labeled as "carbon neutral" means that the total amount of greenhouse gases produced in the creation and disposal of the packaging is offset by funding an equivalent amount of carbon savings elsewhere in the world.


In the era of sustainability, understanding the meaning behind these eco-labels can empower consumers to make informed choices that align with their environmental values. As consumers, your purchasing power can drive more businesses, including bakeries, to switch to sustainable practices, contributing to a greener, healthier planet.

Back to blog