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?

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