Are "Green" Garbage Bags Good for the Environment?

garbage containers Question: What product do we buy just to throw out again? Answer: Garbage bags.

New “green” products, like biodegradable garbage bags, are a hot topic. But it’s usually best to manage with fewer products instead of buying more, even if they are “green.”

In most cases, biodegradable bags pose less danger to landfills and groundwater and are a better choice than conventional garbage bags.

When biodegradable bags start to decompose, the nutrients from your garbage go right into the earth. But what if you have spray cans, batteries or other contaminants in your garbage? Using a biodegradable bag will increase the likelihood of dangerous chemicals leaching into the ground.

Here are tips for using fewer garbage bags:

  • Create less waste by using up leftovers, shopping carefully, avoiding disposables, and choosing products with less packaging.
  • Reuse bags from gifts and purchases for your garbage cans, especially for non-biodegradable items.
  • Separate. Peels, plant cuttings, cores, newspapers and shells can be composted and turned into fertilizer for plants.
  • Recycle cartons, papers, newspapers, cans, plastic and bottles.
  • Batteries should be placed in collection bins for that purpose only. Don’t forget the small batteries found in toys and watches.
  • Consider skipping the bag, especially for dry waste. Dump contents of your garbage can straight into the larger bin.

Do you have tips for greener household garbage? Please share them in the comments.

More garbage-reducing tips on Green Prophet:
Drinking Beer in Cans and Other Middle Eastern Recycling Problems
Ten Ways to Buy Less When You Breastfeed Your Baby

For tips on making less garbage by preserving food, using leftovers, and cooking from scratch, see Hannah’s website Cooking Manager.

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One thought on “Are "Green" Garbage Bags Good for the Environment?”

  1. Leslie says:

    You are wrong about ALL biodegradable bags being good. Biobased ones which cannot biodegrade in landfills and sit there for hundreds of years and oxy-degradabale ones which many leave heavy chemicals behind.There are some good biodegradable bags that are landfill biodegradable, like Green Film.When they end up in the landfill they biodegrade into humus then into methane , which is GOOD! Methane is now harvested in 75% of all landfills in the US and creates energy like electricity more cheaply than solar or wind power.

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