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Home, Home and Garden

Eco-Friendly Bin Bag Alternatives

So, today let’s talk eco-friendly bin bag alternatives, and if you hang about to the end you might just find a twist in the tale…

Now, I know, I know, I appreciate bin bags are not the most glamorous of topics. It’s no plastic-free makeup or how to go plastic-free in the bathroom, but it’s important to talk about all the little ways we use plastic in our homes to see where plastic can be swapped for better alternatives, so let’s get down to bin bag business!

eco-friendly bin bag alternatives uk

Eco-Friendly Bin Bag Alternatives

1. Ditch the Bin Bag

By far the single most eco-friendly bin bag alternative is to go bag-less. Yup, completely cut out the need for a bin bag. Instead line the bottom of your kitchen bin with old newspaper, and simply tip the contents of your bin into your wheelie bin when the bin is full.

If you are composting food waste, either in your garden or via your local council’s food waste collection, then there is probably no need for a bin bag, as all the wet waste will be in your compost bin.

Voila! Cheap, cheerful and 100% sustainable!

2. There is No Other Alternative

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no other eco-friendly alternatives to bin bags other than the no bag method. You can go compostable*, you can go recycled plastic*, you can go degradable*, you could use a paper bag, but the moment that bag goes in landfill then it’s purpose is lost.

You see, as I explained in this post about biodegradable plastics, and if they are good for the environment, in order for biodegradation to occur three basic resources are required – heat, light, and oxygen.

If a biodegradable or compostable material, including paper and food, ends up in a landfill site it can take decades upon decades to decompose, all the while releasing the greenhouse gas methane (this is a really interesting/horrifying article if you’re keen to learn more – wait until you get to the bit about the 1967 order of guacamole…!). In short, this happens because in landfill sites waste is essentially mummified, in a complete absence of light and oxygen.  If food that has ended up in landfill stays pristine for 50 years or more, there really is little hope for biodegradable or compostable or paper bin bags in landfill.

3. No, Really, There is No Other Alternative

By now, maybe you’re hoping that there is another eco-friendly bin bag alternative answer that some clever bod has come up with. Sadly, this isn’t the case, and I think the whole eco-friendly bin bag question highlights the fact that we can’t simply shop our way to sustainability.

What we need aren’t eco-friendly bin bag alternatives but real change away from producing so much waste. Food composting facilities need to be available to everyone. We need to buy less stuff, and when we do need to buy products they need to be ones that don’t break so quickly or can be repaired easily and affordably. We need more repair cafes. We need to switch from using disposable products to reusable products as and when we can.

This is easier said than done – so this needs to be combined with support from the Government by taxing the hell out of producers who produce goods in unrecyclable packaging. There needs to be a crackdown on those that produce products that aren’t designed to last, such as manufacturers that design using planned obsolescence, and greater governmental support for the circular economy and zero waste.

In short, we don’t need to find a better bin bag, we just need to re-think our attitude to waste and all collectively work together to keep as many things out of landfill as possible. What do you think?

Home, Home and Garden

Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Kitchen Roll

When it comes to the kitchen I’ve already covered eco-friendly alternatives to cling film, but what about plastic free and eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll?  

Kitchen roll is that other so-called kitchen staple, and undeniably very useful, but as a disposable product packaged in plastic, it isn’t the greenest.  If you’re ready and looking to make the switch, then I’ve got some great zero-waste and eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll up my sleeve for you! 

If you’re not ready, pop back later when you’re ready, no pressure!  When it comes to green living my all-time number one tip is to make one small green switch at a time.   There’s much less overwhelm, and it’s so much easier to find a starting point than if you are trying to green all the things all at the same time.    

Go Roll-Less

eco friendly alternatives to kitchen roll uk

One of my easiest eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll is to keep a drawer or basket filled with cloths.  I buy cheap as chips cotton cloths from the supermarket or from Wilko when I find them minimally packaged because my working mum budget doesn’t stretch to having a basket full of organic cloths.  Anything that’s not single-use paper towel is a big positive in my eyes, so I don’t feel guilty about it.  If it’s what you can afford then don’t feel guilty either.   

For an even more frugal and green approach you can also cut up old clothes or towels that are way past their best, and use them as kitchen roll alternatives too.  If you’ve got a sewing machine you might want to stitch the edges with a simple and quick running stitch to prevent fraying.     

To use, I just grab a cloth when I need to wipe a spill, or for any other kitchen roll related task, and then pop the dirty cloth in the washing machine when I’m done.  Job done.

Make Your Own Kitchen Roll

reusable kitchen roll diy

If a random pile of cloths stacked up in your kitchen doesn’t appeal to your aesthetics, or if you want an eco-friendly alternative to kitchen roll that still looks like kitchen roll (perhaps making it easier to make the leap to reusable?), then the good news is there are heaps of reusable kitchen roll tutorials out there.  This one, from A Beautiful Mess, is pretty comprehensive.  

eco friendly alternatives to kitchen roll

If you aren’t particularly crafty or are too time poor (me, on both counts!), then thankfully you can buy a roll of reusable kitchen roll on Etsy.  This one*, from Earth Kind Creations on Etsy, is pretty and practical.  

Use A Plate

eco friendly kitchen roll swaps

I have a feeling you will either be with me or not on this one.  When I was growing up in the 1980’s, and my mum made me a sandwich, or toasted cheese, or a bit of cake, it was always served up on a piece of kitchen roll.  I’m not dissing my mum – she worked full time and didn’t have time to be doing a constant stream of dishes that 3 kids create – so kitchen roll plates it was.  Was that just us or did you do that too?

This one was so ingrained on me (I honestly thought it was the MAIN use of kitchen roll!) so it took me a long time to break this one, but now I always serve food up on a plate.  It helps that we have a dishwasher!  

Reusable Napkins

easy eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll

This one is another throwback from my childhood.  For my packed lunches my mum wrapped my sandwiches in kitchen roll, or at least popped a bit of folded up kitchen roll in my lunchbox to either mop up any leakages or to act as a napkin.  I do this for my own kids now, whenever I make them a packed lunch, but with washable napkins.  

Pro tip: dark coloured napkins are king at hiding an all manner of food stains!  

Have you found any other eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll?  As always do let me know in the comments below!