Green Living Tips: Greening Your Garbage (Beyond Recycling)

There are many ways to make your garbage just a little bit more environmentally friendly. You know about recycling and how important it is. But even when you do that, you’re still left with trash bag after trash bag full of garbage.

When it comes to garbage, seek out packaging that can be recycled. Containers and tubs that cookies, butters, cakes, and dips come in can all be used for other purposes. If an item comes with styrofoam, it can easily be used to repackage or store other breakable items. If you are really creative, you may just be able to turn your trash into new, creative decorations. In addition, carrying your own reusable shopping bags is an easy way to cut back on the trash.

Despite your efforts, it is important to remember that certain items are just bound to hit the trash. The best part about many of these items that hit the garbage today is that manufactures are now meeting the needs of consumers as well as the environment. Many disposable products are now biodegradable. For instance, bags, eating utensils, plates, cups, to-go containers, and others are now being made much more environmentally friendly.

What happens to your trash bags, though? You probably don’t want to know just how long it takes for your typical trash bag to break down. Companies like Biobag*, Ecosafe, Indaco, and Green Genuis are now making biodegradable waste bags. These biodegradable bags are made from a mix of biopolymers which allows for them to completely biodegrade without leaving behind any unwanted residues.

If you’re trying to take up green living, consider switching out your normal trash bag for one of these greener-garbage alternatives:

  • True Green Biodegradable Trash Bags: These bags only take 90 days to decompose as opposed to thousands of years with those other trash bags. In addition, they are made with recycled material.
  • Plastic Biodegradable Bags by Green Genius Company: These biodegradable trash bags have the strength and price of a regular trash bag but are much more green.
  • Bag-To-Nature Kitchen Waste Bags: These bags are strong enough to hold all your garbage, take abuse, and can be tied easily. They do not leak and are unaffected by moisture. Best part, they decompose just as easily. These bags cost about $8 for ten bags and can be purchased at Ace Hardware.
  • CVS Biodegradable Trash Bags: Even store brands are catching on to the trend. The packaging is made from 100% recycled materials and each bag is made of 70% recycled materials. There is an entire section in CVS devoted to green products such as bathroom tissue, kitchen paper, and trash bags.

The average family throws away nearly 1,500 plastic bags a year. Biodegradable bags will help make a huge difference in our environment. Think about it. There are nearly one trillion plastic bags that reach our earth and spend thousands of years decomposing. You can help the environment by doing something you always do anyways…by taking out the trash.

Veronica Davis is a freelance writer and internet business columnist for Examiner. She works with several businesses online, including ones that focus on green living and saving money.

Keep in mind that there are reusable versions of many products you normally toss, including coffee filters, batteries, water bottles, and shopping bags.

Image credit: zozo2k3 at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

  1. Matt

    I don’t believe that throwing away “biodegradable” trash helps the earth at all. Landfills are carefully constructed and sealed to prevent decomposition or allow contact with the surrounding ecosystems. Even if your trash DID break down, it would be contaminated with toxic waste from batteries and paint and couldn’t be used for anything. You can plant golf courses over them only bc the roots aren’t deep enough to puncture the plastic lining. Reduce, recycle and compost!

  2. Deborah Dolen

    I do not know how “sealed” a Landfill is-more so the umpteen old land fills we have not created to any code. And the trash seeps into the water tables, not to mention other issues we are just learning about. Batteries and paint are supposed to be disposed in special areas.

    Making trash as “biodegradable” is possible is very important unless you know another planet we can start packing for now.

  3. cmdweb

    I think in truth, the solution ultimately has to be a mix of both biodegradable packaging and significant reductions in the amount of trash and landfill we produce.
    I do firmly believe that we, the consumers, should be placing pressure on the retailers and producers to ensure that they use biodegradable materials and that they use the bare minimum of packaging on every product. It’s then up to us to sort out how and where we store produce and products at home, without the packaging.

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