Kickstart: The humble plastic bread closure is facing new challenges

One of the smaller pieces of Plastic that consumers handle on a regular basis may be on its way out.Two major New Zealand bakeries have announced that they are eliminating plastic bread closures in favor of recyclable cardboard ones.George Weston Foods is ditching plastic tags a day after major competitor Goodman Fielder announced the same measure, . George Weston said the change would eliminate 18 million of the tags to begin with, and ultimately remove 75 million.While the tags are small, they represent 26,250 kilograms of plastic for the company.Yakima, Wash.-based Kwik Lok Corp., founded by plastic bread tag inventor Floyd Paxton in 1954, has already been working toward producing more sustainable closures, through both bio-based plastic options and new fiber-based tags.Our sister paper Sustainable Plastics spoke with Paxton’s three granddaughters who now oversee the business for its latest issue, .”That is why we introduced Fibre-Lok in European markets this year, a home and commercially compostable cardboard solution for bag closures for those that have plastic elimination as their top priority,” Kimberly Paxton said. “And beyond that, there’s also the environmental side of it. How are we going to solve the problem of trash as well as the impact of not only the things we’re producing but also the production process?” A couple of recent stories from the Washington Post and New York Times offer a different take on what worker shortage issues may mean for both manufacturing and workers.Just a couple of weeks ago we wrote about . seeing record sales for its robots. In the Post, reporter Heather Long writes that are instead investing in automation. Those investments, her sources note, could lead to increased productivity numbers that will benefit both workers and companies.The U.S. Department of Labor said that productivity numbers improved 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2021 and 2.3 percent in the second quarter. Those numbers may seem small, but compare them with productivity gains after the Great Recession of only 1.2 percent.”I do think we are in a productivity boom,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, told Long. “The pandemic forced us all to learn to use technologies at a rapid pace. It was tech adaptation on steroids.”Over at the Times, Steve Lohr in the pandemic to gain skills that allowed them to move from minimum wage jobs to higher-paying posts that offer long-term career growth.To succeed in finding workers, employers need to offer careers, not just jobs.”People in lower-wage work are saying, ‘I’m going to pivot to something better,'” Stuart Andreason, director of the Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, told Lohr. Assistant Managing Editor Steve Toloken wrote in his blog Wednesday that more companies and associations are considering making mandatory.Some trade shows are also looking toward manadatory vaccinations as part of their complex plans for in-person events.CES, the massive electronics show in Las Vegas, is to be fully vaccinated for the next show, Jan. 5-8.More than 1,000 companies are expected to participate in CES.Meanwhile the rising delta variant is prompting more event changes in the coming weeks. The Society of Plastics Engineers has moved its to Nov. 2-4 in Novi, Mich., from its original dates of Sept. 8-10.  Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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