As concern grows over plastic waste, more people are looking for eco-friendly alternatives to traditional plastic garbage bags. Biodegradable trash bags have several advantages over traditional plastic bags.
First, they break down more quickly, reducing landfill waste. Second, they are often made from renewable resources. Finally, they help to reduce the carbon footprint, making them an eco-friendly choice.
You can easily find quality biodegradable trash bags on Amazon. With increasing options available, prices are coming down and they now compete with regular plastic garbage bags.
Investing in biodegradable bags means less plastic clogging up landfills, littering nature, and degrading into microplastics. It’s one small change that collectively can make a big difference for the planet.
We tried the 13 gallon compost bags and found them to be a bit too thin to hold much more than half a bag. They get much heavier than the usual trash bag due to the contents being laden with water. After using them, we switched to the smaller, 2.6 gallon size that makes sense for the counter top. If you have a dedicated 13 gallon bin then the bigger bags could be fine for you. This applies to composting bags; biodegradable bags for regular trash won’t have these issues.
Unlike traditional plastic, biodegradable bags are made from materials that can break down into natural elements over time.
As concern grows over plastic waste accumulation in landfills and the environment, biodegradable bags offer a solution to reduce our reliance on plastic. But how exactly do these bags work, and are they right for your household?
Biodegradable garbage bags can be made from a variety of materials designed to decompose, unlike traditional plastic derived from petroleum. Some common examples include:
- Starch-based plastics like PLA (polylactic acid) – Derived from renewable plant sources like corn starch.
- PBAT (polybutylene adipate terephthalate) – Made from petroleum-based chemicals, but designed for faster breakdown.
- PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates) – Biosynthesized from microorganisms.
- Cellulose – Derived from wood pulp or cotton.
These biodegradable materials allow the bags to fully break down into natural elements when exposed to bacteria, moisture, and other environmental conditions.
How do biodegradable garbage bags break down?
The biodegradation process depends on factors like temperature, moisture and oxygenation. Under the right conditions, biodegradable bags can start showing visible deterioration within 2-3 months. Complete breakdown typically takes 6-24 months.
Here’s an overview of the biodegradation stages:
- 1-3 months: Materials start to break down. Discoloration, cracking and fragmentation become visible.
- 3-6 months: Further decomposition from microorganisms and water. Bag structure continues deteriorating.
- 6-24 months: Material is fully consumed and assimilated into natural elements. Bag completely biodegrades.
Proper disposal accelerates the process. Landfills and commercial composting provide ideal conditions.
Are biodegradable bags compostable?
Not all biodegradable bags are certified compostable. Compostable bags will biodegrade under home composting conditions, while biodegradable bags may require commercial facilities to fully decompose. Check labels for compostability.
While related terms, biodegradable and compostable have important differences:
- Biodegradable means a product can break down into natural elements over time.
- Compostable means a product meets specific standards (like ASTM D6400) for breakdown in an industrial composting facility.
What are the pros and cons of biodegradable garbage bags?
Biodegradable bags offer benefits but also have limitations to consider:
|Reduce plastic waste in landfills||Typically more expensive than regular plastic bags|
|Prevent plastic bag litter and pollution||Require proper conditions to fully biodegrade|
|Made from renewable plant-based resources||Limited availability compared to conventional bags|
How should biodegradable bags be disposed of?
To allow proper breakdown, use these recommended disposal methods:
- Municipal or commercial composting – Ideal if certified compostable.
- Landfills – Will biodegrade faster than conventional plastic.
- Recycling – Check if your program accepts biodegradable bags.
Biodegradable garbage bags provide an eco-friendly choice by fully decomposing through natural processes much faster than conventional plastic. Consider choosing biodegradable for your next trash bag purchase.