Let’s start with the most commonly asked question in the world of cookie wrapping. How do I wrap cookies for gifts?
The idea that it’s a gift implies you’re producing low volume. One big handmade cookie, carefully wrapped and personalised with a handmade gift tag can be a beautiful and very welcome gift. (Everybody loves cookies). Spending time wrapping that one cookie isn’t so much a chore as a labour of love.
But maybe you want to wrap a stack of cookies, half a dozen, a dozen maybe?
What if everyone wants a cookie? Or a stack of cookies? How many can you realistically produce and wrap in time for Christmas, birthday or the upcoming church bake sale?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s wrap one at home:
As with choosing our wrapping for mass production, work backwards to define your cookie size. For one off and low volume, handmade cookies, you can go big, really big, as long as you can find the wrapping to cover it. There’s nothing as off putting as a beautiful bake wrapped in clingfilm.
Clear, cellophane bags are the most popular. They’re sold in loads of sizes, in small numbers and in bulk. They’re readily available in shops and online, which makes them perfect for gifting a few cookies to friends, family and neighbours.
What is Cellophane?
The good news is, cellophane is a bioplastic, which simply means it degrades into the earth, it breaks down, making it compostable. This is because it’s made of wood pulp and plant materials! Great news!
The bad news is, not everything labelled cellophane is pure cellophane. It’s quite often coated to make it better at protecting food, i.e. improving the shelf life. This is good for reducing food waste and bad for recycling.
So how do you tell which is recyclable and which isn’t? You’ll have to trust the manufacturers on this one, and their use of recyclable logos on the packet. But here are the three main types of “cellophane”:
- Uncoated cellulose film – made of organic matter, designed to keep out moisture but it’s not waterproof, so wet products could leak. Ideal for cookies but not fish. It’s slightly firm, i.e. crinkly.
- Coated (semi-permeable) cellulose film – also made of organic matter but coated with chemicals and plastic to make it more flexible, more water-resistant and last longer. Think of butter or fresh yeast wrapping.
- Polypropylene (barrier) film – made from petroleum, this is a true plastic and ideal for wrapping cookies, chocolate and many other products. It’s only recyclable in industrial facilities and doesn’t biodegrade so it’s about as eco unfriendly as you can get.
So how do you tell what’s an uncoated cellulose cellophane bag and what’s polypropylene? If the product description doesn’t tell you, you’ll need the data sheet. This is the exact specification of the material from the manufacturer. Many wholesalers in the food industry will provide data sheets for all their products but for bagging at home and in small volume, you’ll have to rely on the product description. If you’re going to sell your cookies, you’ll want to find the specification in case you need to prove your bagging material is both food safe and has any eco credentials you claim in your advertising or on your label.