Now that we are going bagless in supermarkets - whoop whoop - a huge dilemma arises for the nation – what to line your bins with???
Sounds pretty minor, but tens of thousands of people have been using plastic shopping bags a bin liners for years so here are a few options instead of reaching for plastic rubbish bags.
Many people say they can't go plastic bags free because they use them to line their rubbish bins but there are plenty of ways to get around the problem.
1 – Go hardcore
Use nothing and clean you bin out, this makes sense and is popular amongst the very committed but not everyone is ready to make the leap and get their hands dirty just yet. I must admit the yuckiness factor gets me.
2 - Make your own bin liners from old newspapers.
These are pretty easy to make and I use them for the bathroom rubbish bin but I find them a bit fragile for the kitchen bin.
Easy DIY Bin Liner Demo here
3 - Use biodegradable bin liners.
Now be careful as all all bin liners are not created equal. Degradable just means that the plastic bag has an additive to help it breakdown quicker but it is still plastic.
There are also ones that are made from home PLA (bioplastic) and there are a few different varieties.
We have the EcoBag ones. These are fully home compostable (they biodegrade really quickly in the compost bin). I use these in the kitchen for my compost and general waste.
Find them here
The labels “certified compostable” and “bio-based” are really important. There are plenty of products out there that say “eco friendly” or “green” but don't stack up. Avoid oxo-degradable and oxo-biodegradable bags. These are plastic bags made with fossil fuels that have an additive which means they break down more quickly than regular plastic bags – into microplastic. These are considered by many to be worse for the environment than regular plastic bags.
If you want a better option than fossil-fuel based plastic, look for these two terms:
Bio-based - means made from plants, not fossil fuels. Sometimes they are called plant-based, cornstarch or PLA. They are still plastic made from plant material, but not made from fossil fuels.
PLA is a compostable bioplastic derived from plant sugars. PLA stands for polylactic acid. It can be made from any sugar, such as corn starch, cassava, sugar cane, or sugar beet.
Certified compostable - means that the product has been tested and is proven to break down in hot composting conditions. Certified home compostable means the product will break down in a home compost bin.
These are the logos to look out for:
However, certified compostable doesn't necessarily mean they will break down in the environment, or in landfills,some require commercial composting at a high temperature. They are just as capable of creating litter and harming wildlife as regular bags.
Home compostable bags will however decompose in the natural environment. Mine start breaking down in the bin if I leave them too long.
from bag to compost bin
Now there is some debate that nothing breaks down in landfill, which is true. The microorganisms that breakdown our rubbish require oxygen and there is precious little at the bottom of the rubbish pile.
However, a lot of rubbish blows off the rubbish pile and ends up in nature. Notably, you guessed it, plastic bags. They are light and easily blown away by the wind where they end up in the ocean ready to do their damage.
If you compare the hundreds of years for decomposition of Petroleum based plastics, it is true, PLA may take a while, but it’s still a vast improvement over Petroleum based plastics. And less toxic than Petroleum based plastics if ingested by marine organisms. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Anyhoo, up to you what you chose but there is life after the plastic bag