Twist tie

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Twist ties of different colors.

A twist tie is a metal wire that is encased in a thin strip of paper or plastic and is used to tie the openings of bags, such as garbage bags or bread bags. A twist tie is used by wrapping it around the item to be fastened, then twisting the ends together (thus the name). They are often included with boxes of plastic food bags or trash bags, and are commonly available individually in pre-cut lengths, on large spools, or in perforated sheets called gangs.

Detailed construction and use[edit]

The outer covering can be in a variety of colors with or without printing. Plain paper, metallic paper, plastic, poly, or custom.[1] coatings are popular for different applications. The plastic, poly, or metallic paper twist ties withstand water better than the uncoated paper versions. Water-resistant twist ties are sometimes used to package lettuce and other vegetables, although hook and loop closures are beginning to replace it. Different sizes and strengths are used for different applications, from a small closure for a bag of bread to a large, heavy tie to hold unwieldy garden hoses in place. A twist tie with a broad paper covering may also be used for labeling purposes.

Compared to some other closure methods, like adhesive tape, twist ties offer the advantage of reuse.[2]

George Hinson came up with the idea for the twist tie in 1923. The original twist tie was invented by the California based packaging company T and T Industries, Inc. It was patented in 1939 and marketed as the Twist-Ems.[3]

A non-twisting plastic fastener similar to a cable tie may also be called a twist tie, although this is technically incorrect.

Twist ties, particularly metallic colors, are occasionally used to decorate packages.

The first twist tie machine was invented in Maysville, OK.[4]

Color coding for bread age[edit]

In the United States, the color of twist ties is used on grocery store bread shelves as a form of inventory management,[5] which indicates the day a loaf of bread was baked:[6]

Monday = Blue
Tuesday = Green
Wednesday = Bread not delivered
Thursday = Red
Friday = White
Saturday = Yellow.
Sunday = Not delivered

This code however is not an industry wide standard for bread manufacturers. Each bread company has its own system. So unless you call to verify the color code for your particular bread company, following this system may result in you getting the older bread instead of the freshest.

The color-coded twist ties allow stores to remove older bread so that generally only fresh bread with one or two colors of twist ties should be present on the shelves. [7]


  1. ^ Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Twist-Ems Ties Company Profile". 2010. 
  4. ^ "Encyclopedia of Oklahoma's History and Culture". 2012. 
  5. ^ Thompson, Clay, "Learn to crack grocery stores' twist-tie code for freshest bread", The Arizona Republic, January 9, 2008. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  6. ^ ConsumerWatch: Color Code Unlocks Secret To Fresh Bread. KCBS-TV (San Francisco), March 4, 2011, Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  7. ^ Michael, Paul, "Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf,", February 21, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2011