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 Are You Using Biodegradable Trash Bags?

 Are You Using Biodegradable Trash Bags? | Alabama Sawyer

July 01, 2020

Thank you to Viktorija at EcoFreek for this guest post:

It's not just the trash that needs to be biodegradable… it's the bags too!

We are well and truly in a trash crisis, and traditional trash bags aren't helping the matter. So in this article, I want to show you why it's so important to use biodegradable trash bags. 

Why You Should Be Using A Biodegradable Trash Bag

As we all know, plastic bags do not biodegrade, and this isn't doing any good to our environment. All it does is add more waste to the system.

Each day we generate nearly 3.5 million tons of plastic and general waste worldwide. And in the US alone they produce 250 million tons each year, which is more than anywhere else in the world.

This is a shocking amount of trash getting generated, and it needs to stop. And here's why:

Landfill sites are unable to keep up with the demand we are placing on them. And to make it worse, trash can't biodegrade without three things:

  • Sunlight
  • Oxygen 
  • Heat 

This is a huge problem due to trash being completely buried under more trash. 

It blocks out any oxygen reaching the bottom of the pile, as well as ensuring no sunlight will ever shine upon it.

And if traditional garbage bags do start to break down, they leave behind harmful toxins and pieces of microplastic.  

And this is partly the reason why biodegradable trash bags are better than regular bin bags. They break down a lot easier, and they won't leave behind any harmful toxins.

But this leads me to my next point:

What To Watch Out For

Biodegradable trash bags are better for the environment, for the most part anyway. The problem is some biodegradable bags still use petrochemicals to make the plastic bags.

Petrochemicals aren't good for the environment at all. The following list may sound like they are suitable for the environment, but that couldn't be further away from the truth.

Make sure you avoid any of these "Biodegradable" trash bags:

Degradable - The name suggests that the trash bag will be able to degrade, but what it really means is it can neither biodegrade nor compost. Instead, they break down into thousands of pieces of microplastic.

This makes it harder to clean them up than a traditional bag due to it being in thousands of pieces. To make it worse, animals can confuse the plastic for food, resulting in their deaths.

Bioplastic - It's usually made with plant-based materials, which is great, right? In theory, yes, it's a lot better, and it won't leave behind any toxic substances. The problem comes with the methane gases it creates as it decomposes.

The best option is to send it to a commercial composting site. They manage the release of methane gases in a controlled manner.

Bio-Based - It's similar to bioplastic. In essence, it means plant-based materials were used in the manufacturing process. What it doesn't say is that it will biodegrade and leave no toxins. 

Your best option is to look for a bag with a BPI certification; it will ensure the bag will biodegrade. 

There is no better option than a compostable bag if you are looking for a genuinely biodegradable trash bag. It'd be the only one you can genuinely trust to break down and not cause more harm.

How Long Will It Take To Biodegrade 

Unfortunately, it's tough to put a time frame on it. Mostly it will depend on the brand and the overall conditions. On average, you can expect anywhere between three and six months.