Bread tags or clips may seem like a small item, but when you realize that there are millions of them in the world, it adds up. Made from type 6 plastic, or polystyrene, they are often not accepted by municipal recycling facilities because they are too small to be sorted by automated recycling machines. However, there are people who are finding ways to recycle and reuse them around the world – so get inspired today!
You can listen to my podcast episode on creative reuse of bread tags or clips in this YouTube video. It originally aired in June 2018.
Where Do Bread Tags Come From?
The company which makes bread tags in the US is called Kwik Lok is located in Yakima, Washington. Great Big Story made this video about the story of bread tags:
Where to Send Bread Tags
In the United States, check out Danielle Cares for Chairs.
How to Reuse Bread Tags
- Put it on the end of a roll of tape so you don’t have to use your fingernail to start a new piece.
- Stick them on the pages of a book to make tabs to quickly find a spot in the book.
- Label cords hanging behind a desk so you don’t have to guess which cord goes with each device.
- When you serve wine, put them on the stem so people can find their own glass. These are sometimes called “wine charms.”
- If you wear the type of flip flop that has a little piece that goes between your toes, and that part breaks, you can put a bread tag under the sole to hold it in place.
- Use it as a guitar pick.
- Make a shaker toy or abacus from bread tags – and if you can’t picture that – check the links on the Pinterest board that I made for bread tags and clips
- The blog “Raising Dragons” makes an alphabet or math activity by writing letters or numbers on bread tags. For one activity, the kids pick up a bread tags by sucking through a straw and lifting them into a cup.
- Amanda Formaro has a very cute style that she applies to bread tags in order to make bread tag monsters, bread tag gingerbread people and bread tag snowmen. She paints the bread tags first and then adds details including googly eyes. If you add a safety pin to the back of these designs, they can become pins or “swaps” if you are a Girl Scout.
- You might remember Noah Scalin – I mentioned him back in the episode on shoes. He wrote a book called “Skull-A-Day. Skull #24 was bread tag skull design made from three white bread tags and some safety pins.
- Various artists incorporate bread tags into their designs of birthday cards.
- There is variability in the cut-out shape of bread tags. Some look like a heart while others look like an X, or a bunch of other shapes. Ismael Cavazos doodles on and around bread tags. Sometimes he draws two hands cupped in the shape of a heart, or a little squirrel or a tiger.
Building Community with Bread Tags
Besides gathering bread tags to raise funds for wheelchairs, here are examples of artists who did projects with bread tags that I think could be fun to do within a community such as a classroom.
- The Bread Clip Appreciation Society made a world map from bread clips.
- The Eco-Teacher made a Periodic Table of Elements from bread tags.
- S.J. Wang shared a photo on Twitter of an adorable cat that he made from a bread tag, and then lots of other people started sharing their own designs of kitties, puppies and a rhinoceros .
- Edwin Godfrey took on a project in 2017 which was to find a bread tag for each day of the year stamped with the date. On his Instagram feed poplatags, he posted a photo of the bread tag each day and then he would make videos of them in order.
- Gavin Moores made giant mandalas from bread clips.
- Mango Sea makes sea turtles, jellyfish and sharks from bread tag and balloon tag pieces that they find washed up on the beach in Australia.
Artists Who Make Complicated Items from Bread Tags
- Stephanie Watson sewed a wedding gown from 10,000 bread tags in 2013.
- Paul Schultz is an architect who incorporates bread tags in some of his designs. He made a wall in a kitchen from layers of plexiglass with bread clips suspended inside. He also made a public art project with a backlit display featuring bread tags.
- Ahna Adair made rings from bread tags. She stacks bread tags on top of each other, glues them and then drills a hole the size of a finger.
- Beth Taylor made planets and moons from melted bread tags.
- Elizabeth Saveri paints wonderful scenes and portraits on bread tags.
Other Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Family, Career and Community Leaders of America – They have many leadership contests, but I am especially excited about the one related to recycling
- How Bea Johnson does zero waste grocery shopping – including buying bread without packaging
- Script for this podcast episode about ways to creatively reuse plastic bread tags or clips (not a transcript but gives the main ideas)
- The Trashmagination podcast theme music is Kitchen from the Marian Circle Drum Brigade.