Six Greener Alternatives to Plastic Trash Bags
Are you on your way to a zero waste budget? If you take your trash to the curb in a plastic trash bag every week, finding a more sustainable alternative to that plastic bag can be a challenge. We have put together some more environmentally friendly garbage bag alternatives to help you reduce the use of single-use plastic garbage bags.
There aren’t many reusable garbage bag alternatives out there yet. The Canadian company Kwik Bagit makes reusable, washable bag models that you can use to collect your recycling and garden waste. Kwik Bagit also offers an adjustable pocket holder for telescopes that can be used to secure almost any pocket size with retaining clips that hold the bag in place when it is filled.
Your blue recycle bag is made of RPET mesh to allow the recycle to air dry and has a reinforced base so it doesn’t leak. Your green bag is a poly / fabric-fleece mixture and is used to transport garden waste to the compost collection point. They also offer a black bag for exercise equipment. These reusable bags can be sprayed with a hose and cleaned and reused dozens of times. Reuse is always better than single use products, and getting rid of plastic waste that is intended as trash is a big win!
Reusable bags will not work for normal roadside garbage collection. However, you can lessen your impact on the earth by using plant-based garbage bags, even if they are single-use. Using plant materials instead of plastic is a great choice because growing plants has a lower environmental impact than oil mining. Plants are a renewable resource, while fossil fuels, which are used to make conventional plastic, are non-renewable.
There are many offerings on the market including bags of sugar cane, excess plants, corn starch, GMO-free plants, and much more. Many of these plant-based bags claim to be compostable, which brings us to our next greener garbage bag alternative.
Compostable bags are designed to break down into organic material after a certain period of time. This is ideal if you are transporting garden waste to a composting facility or transporting food waste destined for composting. For your garbage at the landfill, compostable bags are also beneficial, especially since you cut out your plastic garbage. The contents of modern landfills don’t degrade nearly as quickly or as quickly as a compost heap, but organics do degrade a little. Foil plastic garbage bags turn into microplastics after a very long time in the landfill.
Compostable bags help reduce this microplastic pollution, even if placed in a landfill. There are many compostable bags on the market, most of which are plant-based. Check out well-rated UNNI ASTM and ProGreen compostable bags.
Bags with recycled content
Another more environmentally friendly option for disposable bags is to use a bag with recycled content. It is well known that it is better to use waste of any kind and turn it into a new product than to use virgin oil to make a single-use plastic item.
There are many bags with recycled content to choose from. We can recommend looking for certifications to differentiate brands like Evolution Trash Bags that have been certified by the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. Also consider well-rated brands like Neat or brands like Seventh Generation that have been running this eco product for some time.
DIY your trash bags
Perhaps the most environmentally friendly alternative to a normal plastic garbage bag is to make your own garbage bag. See the Make Your Own Zone for some folding instructions for many bag sizes. These instructions instruct the artisans to use newspapers. However, you can also make bags out of mailer ads (similar to a newspaper) or leftover craft paper. Of course, paper bags can only be used for dry garbage, so this option is best for an office or bathroom trash bin. Reusing what you already have on hand and have used is one of the most environmentally friendly options for trash bags!
Skip the liner
What are the bagging rules for your garbage truck? Maybe you can skip the trash can liner entirely! Trucks that throw the garbage straight into their compactor can allow you to shred the bag. We encourage you to inquire about this alternative before setting up. Most recycling should be bagless, but it’s not the same in every community and very unusual for trash. When you need to bag your trash, all you should do is line one large trash can in your house and throw all of the trash cans in that one bag. You can significantly reduce pocket usage by using just one.
Even if your home isn’t a waste, you still need to collect and recycle compost. Choosing a greener option for your trash bag is one way to make your life on earth more gentle.