While many municipal recycling programs don’t accept plastic bread tags, you certainly don’t need to toss them in the trash.

Where would society be without the ever-reliable plastic bread clip? Usually rectangular or square in shape, they are the sole reason why our breads, rolls, bagels and other baked goods resist the urge to spill forth from their respective bags. Ensuring optimum freshness, each clip can take a licking, yet what do we do when we’ve gobbled up the last slice of whole grain? We kick our plastic clips to the curb — and not the kind of curb reserved for our recycling containers. Just a wee little piece of plastic with a jaunty-looking interior cut-out invented by Floyd G. Paxton and manufactured by the Kwik Lok Corporation, each additive-free, #6 plastic closure is designed to begin biodegrading under the right landfill conditions, but that’s precisely the problem — crucial elements such as moisture and oxygen typically vary from one garbage dump to the next, making decomposition about as predictable as Charlie Sheen’s likelihood of completing a legitimate rehab program. Of all the things to recycle, zoning in on diminutively sized plastic bread clips may seem silly when there are clearly bigger fish to fry. Plus, they’re hardly the reason why our landfills continue to pack on the pounds. But, with billions of them produced annually, it’s inevitable that all of that plastic is adding up. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re easily divertible if you just consider their infinite repurposing attributes:
  • Nonstick pans and cooktops that require TLC when food spills or bakes to an impossible crisp require nothing more than the magical powers bestowed by an expertly wielded plastic bread tag. No, seriously, you really do need to try this tip. Many full-sized plastic scrapers don’t make proper contact with surfaces, whereas plastic bread tags have a precise edge that obliterates caked-on goo with no threat of scratching. Just be sure to exert a little elbow grease.
  • Don’t want to lose your place in a good book? Then mark the top of the page with a bread clip.
  • Tuck a rectangular plastic bread tag inside your wallet and whip it out whenever you purchase scratchable lottery tickets!
  • If you hand decorate an ample amount of recycled tags with Christmas-themed colors and patterns, they can be used to stylishly secure lights to a tree.
  • What should the guitar aficionado do when asked to perform an impromptu tune but find a pick? Fingers are dandy, but a repurposed bread clip is even dandier!
  • U.K. artist Ahna Adair makes texturally layered recycled plastic bread clip rings. Good to know!
  • Serious knitters may find that nothing says, “This is how to keep my pattern on the straight and narrow” quite better than using a bread clip as a stitch placeholder.
  • Adorn holiday-themed treat bags with recycled plastic bread clips that are expertly coordinated to reflect the season, holiday or event.
  • Reinforce mathematics and counting skills in young children by creating manipulatives such as this recycled cereal box and plastic bread clip abacus.
  • Mark spare keys prior to storing them, or demystify the tangled mess of cords hiding behind your entertainment system or computer desk with recycled clip “identifiers.”
  • Tuck a recycled plastic tag under the open edge of cellophane tape so you have no trouble peeling it off. This is especially handy for farsighted people.
  • What about emulating Sue Pierce’s recycled plastic bread tag tapestry? Now that’s an unexpected use for those little clips…
  • Having a trash-themed party any time soon? Then your guests will get a kick out of your wine glass identification tags made with recycled plastic bread clips. Plus, they’ll conveniently clip right onto the stem with ease!
  • Constantly missing socks that you’re certain began their laundering journey in matched pairs? Then clip them together with recycled bread tags, and use the same tags to air dry them on wire coat hangers that you’ve acquired from your local dry cleaner.