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I was recently asked, “What type of trash bag was the most eco friendly trash bag to use? I was so excited to find out the answer ’cause this is a topic I have definitely thought about – I’m serious! Everybody thinks about their trash bags right? 🙂
Seriously, this was a great opportunity for me to focus and search for a more eco friendly solution to a normal trash bag.
My First Answer
What came to mind for me immediately was to use a compostable trash bag – it’s meant to break down and so would break down in the landfill – unlike a plastic bag.
Wow! That was pretty easy! Switch my regular trash bag out for a compostable one and I’m done!
I realized it wasn’t gonna be that easy after I started doing some research! :-0
In my research I was reminded about was how a landfill works, which is important to consider.
A landfill is basically a large hole in the ground with a liner of clay and plastic. Trash is tightly packed into the landfill leaving little oxygen – which is essential to breaking down biodegradable and compostable materials.
In other words, a landfill is meant to store the garbage not break it down. So even a compostable trash bag isn’t going to do well in a landfill given there is so little oxygen. It’s going to sit there for a while too, like everything else.
[For more info on landfills, check out my post, “Where Does My Trash Go?”]
My Second Answer
Soooo, the answer to, “What’s the most eco friendly trash bag?” is to not send any trash to the landfill! Instead, reuse recycle or compost everything!
Whoa – hold on! That is NOT going happen for us. We’re a family of five and we have stuff. As much as I’d love for us to be zero waste I just know it’s not possible.
Although we have very little trash because we recycle AND compost we aren’t going to get to one mason jar of trash a year. Unfortunately, we do send some trash to the landfill.
So now what do we do? What’s the most eco friendly way to throw away the trash that’s going to the landfill?
Here’s what I’ve come up with but I don’t want you to get too excited. It’s not ideal. It isn’t super green, it’s just greenish and sometimes that’s the best it gets.
I decided to search for trash bags that were made with recycled plastic instead of new plastic.
I looked to recycled plastic as a “greenish” option since plastic is created using fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource which means supplies won’t last forever. FYI – Fossil fuels are also what is burned to create electricity.
Using a plastic bag from recycled plastic means that no fossil fuels or at least fewer fossil fuels will be used to create the bag, which helps to conserve this resource. And, conserving resources is a good thing!
[Read more about fossil fuels and why it’s important to conserve them in my post, “Get the Simple Scoop on Your Home Electricity“]
I found three different trash bags to try to see how they work and hold up. I’ll let you know in a future post how each of them works out.
As a side note, we compost all of our food waste so I’m not concerned with how these trash bags hold up to that kind of trash. However, I have used compostable bags in the past that were a bit thin and would easily tear. And, you do not want your trash bag breaking!
Here are the three that I found to try out:
Seventh Generation – made from 55% recycled plastic
HippoSak – made from plant-based (sugar cane) materials
Hefty – made from 65% recycled plastic
Be sure to click on the links above for more info on each trash bag (and to purchase!)
And the Winner Is!
I hope this, while not perfect, helps you to be more aware and make some green (‘ish) choices!
What greenish choices have you made? Let me know – I love new ideas!