Have you ever considered buying compostable plastic bags before? If so, they’re great at helping to reverse the trend of polluting our environment, which can also contribute to climate change.
Doing your part isn’t difficult, and it must start at home first. Plastic is one of the world’s biggest polluters, and plastic waste of all kinds runs the risk of ending up in the ocean at some point. In addition, plastic bags take 10-20 years to decompose. That’s why biodegradable plastic is an excellent thing to have around, something that can directly lower human waste and pollution altogether.
But there are some steps that one should take to successfully use these bags the right way. Anything biodegradable cannot be handled in the same way as their pollutant counterparts. You’ll want to know what do when you purchase them, which this article will help you with. go through each of the steps one-by-one. In the end, you’ll be all set to start using your bags immediately. Let’s get started!
What are Compostable Plastic Bags?
Compostable bags aren’t made from the same synthetic materials that ordinary plastic comes from. Instead, it consists of mostly plant material that will break down into carbon when in contact with other organic matter. When mixed with decaying material, the process works a lot faster. Keep in mind that the bags themselves can last for a long time, so long as you store them in a cool and dry place, such as a pantry or cabinet.
Here’s What You’ll Need to Use Them
This section is a brief introduction to some of the items that you’ll need to use your biodegradable bags. You may already have some of the products listed. Others may not be needed at all, depending on your setup and what you intend to do with the compost once the trash is ready to be taken out. When this is the case, it will be mentioned.
- Biodegradable Plastic Bags – This is the obvious item, one that you should look for first. But when you do shop for the bags, remember to pick up a size that’s big enough to hold the amount of compost you intend to product with them. If you don’t, you may find yourself going back to the product’s page to look for an additional box. Your bags should have an acceptable expiration date that’s least a few months away from the date that you buy them.
- Compost Bin – If you don’t plan on lifting your trash out of the compostable bag when it’s full, you’ll need to use a compost bin. Either way, it’s always a good thing to have around. Just remember that there are certain food items that you should never throw into the bin, if your aim is to make healthy compost. Anything that’s cooked or has too much food waste would likely attract rats or mice if you store it outdoors. And be sure to place hole throughout the bin itself when storing it outside. If the bin will stay indoors, then you won’t have to do this.
- Compost Heap – A compost heap is similar to a compost bin, minus the bin itself. You could make this from old pieces of wood if you wanted to. However, doing it this way might be harder for you, more so based on the region in which you live. If it’s too dry, then you may not get enough bacteria to break down the compost (and bag) quickly. If it’s too wet, the compost could become smelly and difficult to move around when it’s ready to put into your soil (assuming that you have a garden).
- Compost Matter – Of course, you’ll need to sort out the items that you good for you to compost, things that you can place into the compost bag until it’s filled. As stated, you’ll want to avoid any foods that are cooked, meat in particular. Cooked veggies may also be a problem, although you may get away with some if they’re dried out by the time that you throw them away. The compost should be a mixture of raw vegetables, paper shards, cardboard shavings, small pieces of food. Grass clippings, tea, coffee grounds, and paper towels also work great at speeding up the mixture in a timely fashion.
Directions For Using Compostable Bags
Step 1: Have a Plan First
By this point, you should know how you’re going to build and dispose of your compostable bag when it’s filled. If you don’t plan on keeping the bags and wish to send it to be composted by someone else, contact your local waste management. They could either have the tools necessary to do it properly, or not. However, you’ll likely be restricted to what you can place inside of the bags before you hand it over to them.
Step 2: Prepare Your Compost Method
Be sure to not get your ordinary trash mixed up with things you’re going to throw away in the compost bin. This is assuming that you’re going to make compost. If not, then you could throw away all of your trash items as normal, using only one bin in the process.
Step 3: Fill Up Your Trash
The next step is to make sure that you fill up the trash correctly. Don’t put in anything that you know would make the bag break down prematurely or could ruin your compost. Cat litter and most meat products are a big no no. Add a little dry material into the mix if you’re making compost.
But above all, try to keep the bag as dry as possible when throwing things away. If the bag becomes wet before it’s ready to be taken out, the bottom would become soggy and may break when lifted. Once way to avoid this happening is to use an additional bag over the first one, commonly known as “double bagging.”
When the compostable bag is filled up or ready to be taken, you should tie it if it’s going in your normal trash. For people producing compost. Just check it in your bin, transfer over to a compost pile, or leave in the bin that you already created to hold to compost in.
Step 5: Add to Your Compost Heap
Once the bag is taken out of the bin, you’re ready to add to your canister for trash pickup. For composting away from your home, you may have to place it in a separate container. But if the bag is staying in your home, place it somewhere that’s appropriate, in a place where the microorganisms inside will be exposed to just the right amounts of water and air (but not too much).
That’s it! There’s nothing much to using compostable bags, so long as you know what to do with them beforehand. As you can see now, much of the steps are based on how you intend to use the bags when you get them. Try to read up more on what you should do when creating your compost, or what you should be placing inside the bags in the first place. And don’t forget that the bags don’t necessarily have to be used for composting.
They’re perfectly safe for throwing away all trash items as normal if you wanted. Whichever way you choose to use the bags, understand that simply having them around and replacing the synthetic plastic you’ve used before is a huge way to combat air and ground pollution. Feel happy to have done your part, then tell your family and friends how to use compostable bags when you’ve gotten the hang of it!