One of the things that you’ll surely find in any American house is one garbage bag (usually a lot more). It’s pretty easy to understand why it would be like that. There is no house where people live that won’t generate waste daily, and waste will have to be disposed of, to maintain decent hygiene.
Most people aren’t able to go out each and every time they generate a small amount of waste. This means that you will usually need a container where to put your waste until you get out of the house to throw it away. Most people use garbage bags for this.
However, what about the garbage bag? Will it end up in the same garbage bin as the garbage or will it just become trash and litter landfills? This is just one of the questions that people have around garbage bags. As you might expect, we have all of the answers in this article.
In the post below you will find explanations around different questions that people have around garbage bags, so all you have to do is to relax and give it a short read.
Is The Garbage Bag Recyclable?
It is fairly easy to recycle most things nowadays. Everything from clothes or papers, up to bigger items like electronics, all are recyclable and should be recycled. There are some items, nonetheless, that you won’t be able to have recycled, and, to most people’s surprise, the garbage bag is one of them.
You should know that the garbage bags are usually made from 100% recycled materials, which means that the plastic fiber within them is very thin. You would have a lot of issues if you’d try to recycle them because of this.
This, along with the fact that when they are thrown away they will usually wet and dirty, will pose quite a few challenges when trying to recycle them. Most of the bags won’t even reach a recycling center, to begin with. If you insist on having them recycled, it would mean that someone would have to first wash and try them, and then sort them by color. If any of the processes are missed, the garbage bags can end up in a different category for recyclables, which can be really bad.
And of course, the only reason to use a garbage bag is to fill it with trash. As soon as the bag is full, you will take it out and throw it in the trash bin. At this point, you might have figured out what the issue is, but here it is: The trash from your bin will go directly to the landfill. This is why you would usually have to avoid throwing recyclables in the bin.
Putting recyclables inside a garbage bag will leave the impression that everything from that bag is just waste and shouldn’t be recycled. Seeing that garbage bags move straight from your home to the landfill, as soon as they are filled and left outside, their contents will not get sorted at all.
People that do the recycling are so used to garbage bags that they won’t even notice them, so it won’t even pass their thoughts to have them recycled. So things are pretty straightforward: garbage bags are not recyclable.
Are Garbage Bags Biodegradable?
So now that it’s clear that you won’t be able to recycle a garbage bag, you might be asking yourself what would happen if you just throw them away. How would you know if they are biodegradable and if they are, how much time it would take for them to disappear completely?
This issue isn’t one that you should tread lightly, especially if you care about the environment. Knowing how much damage a simple bag does to your surroundings should make a difference in how you treat it and how you dispose of it.
It might come as a surprise, but garbage bags, in general, are biodegradable. But, as you might expect, the answer is never that simple. It would take quite a lot for the materials the garbage bag is made from to become one with nature. Let’s go into a little more detail:
Most garbage bags are made from all of the plastics that you, and people like you, place in the recycle bin. It’s one of the many products that are made from recycled bottles and other used plastics.
It is a known fact that plastics and plastic products will take a very long time to biodegrade. And when I say “a very long time”, I`m talking about 100 years in some cases. And even after they are considered 100% biodegraded, they will simply break down into harmful microplastics and will populate your surroundings instead of simply disappearing.
So the question shouldn’t be whether a garbage bag is biodegradable, but instead, how long it would take for the process to reach an end and what will be the end result.
The bag might go through a lot before it completely disintegrates and the plastic materials turn into microplastics. Heavy rains might move them from landfills right into waterways, from where they’d end up in rivers or seas. Even wind might move them in time on a piece of land where they shouldn’t be.
Animals that come in contact with these bags while they disintegrate might get harmed. The animals might even mistake the bag for food and end up choking.
So even though garbage bags are biodegradable, you will have to wait almost a lifetime for them to go through the full process. There are a lot of things that can happen in such a long period of time, most of which will cause harm to the environment or other people one way or another.
Are Garbage Bags Bad For the Environment?
This is one of the tougher questions. The whole point of a garbage bag is to store waste to protect the environment, so most people think it would be a blessing for nature. Well, this is a question that some people have, so why not go through it?
So are garbage bags bad for nature and the environment in general? The short answer is Yes, and we’ll explain why.
As we’ve already said somewhere in this article, garbage bags are made from plastic materials. Aside from the fact that you can recycle plastics, they are very bad for the environment and will take forever to decompose. The biggest problem related to garbage bags, along with the fact that they are made of plastic, is that they can’t be recycled. These are the two main reasons why these bags will be very bad for the environment.
And, as you surely know, plastics contain high levels of chemicals, some of them very toxic.
What About Black Plastic Bags? Are They Biodegradable?
Usually, you won’t hear both biodegradable and plastic when talking about the same product. This is for the obvious reason that plastics are among the materials that take the longest to decompose. Their average biodegrading time is a few hundred years, although, in the end, they will, in fact, biodegrade. This is the case concerning everything made of plastic.
This answer is very straightforward when we talk about black plastic garbage bags. It will take a few decades for these bags to completely disappear from the picture. This, of course, means that throwing such bags will mean littering the area for a lot of years to come. And a bigger problem will be if the area gets heavy rains because those bags could be moved in bodies of water and hurt the marine life.
It not only damages the aquatic biosystem, but it harms plants and land animals as well. And, as already mentioned above, the plastic won’t biodegrade completely. Instead, millions of or microplastic particles will stay in the ground or be picked up by air and spread all around the planet. This, over the span of hundreds of years, will hit the overall fertility of the soil, it will affect the plants and the surrounding environment.
The best thing you can do to partially prevent this is to generate as little waste as possible both at home and in other places where you spend your time. This, in turn, will mean fewer plastic bags being used, so less thrown as well. You can also look for a more environment-friendly alternative to garbage bags.
Are There Any Good Alternatives To Plastic Bags?
Most people only heard about disposing of their trash using plastic bags but you should know that there are a few alternatives that will help the environment.
Don’t use bags at all
It sounds counterintuitive. but you can actually get rid of plastic bags without replacing them with anything. All you have to do is simply throw your waste directly into the bin outside. This will only work if you’re used to making very little waste. Else, too many trips outside to throw every little piece of trash will make you hate this alternative.
Even if this technique works for you, you should still try to separate the waste. You should try to avoid throwing recyclables in a trash bin. If you really want to make a difference, you could even try to separate whatever food is left and make it compost for fertile soil.
This is a great way to reduce your pollution footprint if you live alone or if you have a very environment-conscious family. If this isn’t you or if time isn’t on your side for such a drastic measure, then you can try one of the methods you will find below.
Use carton boxes instead
You can also use carton boxes to throw away your trash. You can use any carton boxes, but the bigger, the better. You can even use the big box your TV or washing machine came in. Just make sure you don’t throw a lot of wet waste, or else the bottom of the box might break.
To use it, simply place it somewhere where you can access it with ease and put a lid on it. Anything will work as a lid, even a broad carton. You can reuse a carton box again and again until its bottom starts to get soft. To use it as long as possible you should make sure you refrain from throwing wet waste and any type of liquids directly in the box. You can also add newspapers to its bottom to make it last longer.
Try reusable bags
There are a lot of different bags that you can use more than once. These kinds of bags will be better for the environment and will help you save money in the long run. These bags will enable you to take the waste to the bin, dump it, and then reuse them a number of times before they break. You will have to wash them after each use to avoid any bad smells, but you should also be careful not to tear their material when cleaning them.