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Here where I live a worker who used to sell some soft snacks like bread etc. uses newspaper to wrap and pack the snacks. I have read that the ink of the letters typed in the newspaper may mix with the food and that may be harmful. I even told them not to use it but they replied that that newspapers are cheap to use as wrapper.

Is there a cheap and sustainable alternative for wrapping snacks?

  • its not only for me .. i want to suggest some other way to wrap it in cheap – Yadav Chetan Jun 3 '13 at 18:04
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    I think this is the wrong place to ask that. The newspaper is already a waste product being repurposed. It is likely the most sustainable and handy option. Even if there is a cheaper option it is not likely to be handy to the vendor. – user141 Jun 3 '13 at 18:06
  • thats i want to know my friend – Yadav Chetan Jun 3 '13 at 18:07
  • i know newspaper are waste but they can use in such a way so that not harmful to health – Yadav Chetan Jun 3 '13 at 18:08
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    I understood the question to be about alternatives for newspaper, because food wrapped in old newspapers may be bad for health, so I edited the question. I think any other question would need to be closed as being non-constructive. – Earthliŋ Jun 3 '13 at 20:35
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In New Zealand, deep fried fish and chips are a very popular takeaway food, and an icon of NZ culture. The normal way to package them is in a single sheet of blank newsprint paper with newspaper wrapped around the outside for extra strength and insulation.

The paper also helps excess moisture to breathe (often helped by a few holes punched through the paper with a metal skewer) and soak up some of the fat.

So perhaps a combination of (more expensive) blank newsprint and used newspaper might be an option, if one sheet of paper is not enough.

  • yeah thats the nice way to use the newspaper – Yadav Chetan Jun 4 '13 at 8:58
  • Using the blank sheet sounds like a good way to prevent health risks from re-used newspapers. – Evan Johnson Jun 4 '13 at 14:58
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    I'm not so sure that this really addresses the risk from ink contamination -- porosity goes both ways, the grease soaks through to the inked newspaper, and components of the ink can soak back through the other direction to your food. It may reduce contact with the ink, but not eliminate it. If the ink is believed to be harmful, then I don't see this as being an effective way to eliminate the risk. – Johnny Jun 6 '13 at 18:15
  • @Johnny, unless you leave it wrapped for many hours, the flow of oils will be pretty much in one direction. I've never seen evidence that the ink from the newspaper has bled back into the white newsprint, let alone into the food. – Highly Irregular Jun 6 '13 at 19:38
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As far as papers go newsprint is probably the most environmentally friendly paper there is. It can be produced from a wide range of wood pulp, uses the least amount of chemical bleaches or agents to change the consistency or quality. In the US over 90% of newsprint is created from recycled paper.

In addition repurposing a newspaper that is bound for the landfill is going to be much more sustainable than using a plastic or laminated paper container that many foods use. I am sure there are more sustainable options but none of them are likely to be as convenient or easy to attain and use as an old newspaper.

That does not mean that the newspaper is safe. Some inks used in printing are quite dangerous to ingest. It is not likely to be the most sanitary option either as it may have been handled by many people and thus contaminated by any bacteria on their hands. It the newsprint was unprinted and freshly used it is likely as safe as any for wrapping food. But the paper is very porous so any liquids it comes in contact with are liable to bleed through to your food.

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