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Verbiage: White bag is sterile, brown is dirty.

Chacham (981) writes | more than 10 years ago

User Journal 11

Got pastry at the bakery. Instead of the traditional white bag, a brown bag was used. For some reason, i associate white with sterile, and brown with dirty.Which means that the pastry is now less than par.

Hmm...

Got pastry at the bakery. Instead of the traditional white bag, a brown bag was used. For some reason, i associate white with sterile, and brown with dirty.Which means that the pastry is now less than par.

Hmm...

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11 comments

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Hmmm. (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 10 years ago | (#9831213)

I usually think of brown bag as grocery bags.

Also, from a butcher brown is usually the color of the paper the meat
is wrapped in. That is probably just since brown is cheaper, since it
doesn't use bleach. Also, I would think brown does not show blood
stains as obviously as white paper.

Re:Hmmm. (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9831357)

Good points.

Perhaps brown for unprepared and white for prepared?

White & Brown (1)

bettiwettiwoo (239665) | more than 10 years ago | (#9840961)

It is not clear to me that the brown bag is made from recycled paper; in all probability it is made from non-bleached, un-recycled paper. Non-bleached paper is more environment-friendly than bleached/whitened, but, I believe, just as sterile as ever white.

Judging by statements on the Environment Q&A page [m-real.com] at the website of m-real [m-real.com] (a European company which 'delivers innovative paper and packaging solutions), recycled paper seems deemed unsuitable for food packaging (in Europe at least).
Does paper recycling have any negative effects on the environment?
The most negative effects of recycling paper and board are related to transporting and cleanliness. If the collection is professionally handled, cleanliness is not a big problem. If unmanaged, old recovery sites soon become unhygienic.

Paper collection and recycling in Europe have made great progress during the past few years and have become more efficient and cost-effective. Organised collections from industry and households save transport costs and fuel, and professional waste management ensures clean, hygienic storage.

Paper recycling requires additional industrial processes. Before printed papers and boards can be made into new products, any adhesives, plastics, staples, etc., have to be removed and the wood fibre cleaned and de-inked. The sludge that is left behind is treated in various ways.

Because the recycled wood fibre has been used previously, it has different properties from virgin fibre and these have to be taken into consideration. The optical and stiffness properties of the fibre are at a lower level, and the fibres are shorter, thinner and less rigid. This affects the strength of the new product, particularly packaging materials and thin papers. Customers may need to offset this by increasing the basis weight of the recycled paper.

Recycled papermaking produces effluents, but these correspond with effluents from mechanical pulping.

Why not only use recycled material?
Without fresh wood fibres added to the supply stream, the world would be without paper or board within a relatively short time. A fresh input of primary fibres is also necessary in order to guarantee the consistency and functionality - technical and visual properties - of these products. After some 2 to 5 times of reuse, the length, strength and bonding properties of the wood fibres deteriorate dramatically.
Fresh fibres also guarantee cleanliness for products coming into direct contact with food. (Emphasis added.)
The only food packagings mentioned on the Canadian Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council [ppec-paper.com] (PPEC) are so-called kraft bags and sacks: 'paper bags used to carry groceries, and the multiwall sacks that contain anything from flour and cement to donuts and pet food', which are made 'out of wood chips left over from lumber manufacturing[, using] wood waste (bark and sawdust) as fuel to generate steam and power in the production process.'

See also this site [treecycle.com] which sells 'recycled' wine bottle bags, potpourri gift bags and kraft bags, but 'unbleached' cookie & scone bags, inner-waxed bakery bags, and wrapping tissue.

Incidentally, the same unsuitability seems to apply to recycled plastics:
Because most plastics cannot be heated at very high temperatures during recycling, cleanliness of the recycled plastic is important. To be safe, the federal Food and Drug Administration does not allow recycled plastics to be used for food packaging, except for a few special cases. Since most food is packaged in plastic, recyclers have to design other uses for the recycled plastic, unrelated to foods. (From UWEX-Cooperative Extension) [uwex.edu]
In other words: no worries, dude! It seems highly unlikely that your brown bag is made from recycled paper.

However, since it's the weekend and everything, why not make your own recycled paper?! It's messy, but fun [wrwcanada.com] ! But please remember: 'Someone will have to use a food processor and an electric iron. Both can be dangerous.' (My favourite quote.)

Re:White & Brown (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9843676)

Wow. Thanx for the post. :)

Um... make it a Journal. This is perty interesting.

I'm wondering (1)

Neop2Lemus (683727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9831346)

How do you eat Fish 'n Chips then?

Re:I'm wondering (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9831391)

Fish? Yuck! :)

I actually don't know what bag those would come in.

Re:I'm wondering (1)

Neop2Lemus (683727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9831678)

They come wrapped in newspaper.

According to the Asterix [ifi.uio.no] books (which contain much valuable historical infomation but much that is humourously apocryphal), wrapping fish & chips in newpaper is a hangover from when the soothsayers would open up an animal to read the future from its' entrails.

Hence we still get reading matter when we purchase food today.

And its' definately not sterile because its recycled paper that has been handled by the public.

Re:I'm wondering (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9832321)

And its' definately not sterile because its recycled paper that has been handled by the public.

And it stinks like fish too! :)

Thanx for the comment.

You Know... (1)

Trolling4Dollars (627073) | more than 10 years ago | (#9831382)

...there's help for that. ;P Actually, I know what you mean. I think it's my type-A side, but I've always preferred to put things that are supposed to be eaten in while paper bags or fresh new plastic bags. However, I do acknowledge it's a type-A attribute.

Re:You Know... (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9832290)

So I'm *not* alone. :)

Bags (1)

MJRo (763418) | more than 10 years ago | (#9837572)

This sounds to me like clear subconscious racism. Why else would you associate brown with "dirty" and white with "sterile". I recommend intensive sensitivity training with future use of only multi-colored bags with many appropriate ribbons attached to further enhance your sensitivity and diversity.
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