Fortunately, more and more people are learning about how important it is to take care of our planet. Being eco-friendly includes, among many things, reducing plastic use.
Many alternatives to harmful plastics, particularly to plastic bags and bin liners, have been popping up everywhere. If you’re looking to understand more about these in order to make a change, keep reading! Biodegradable bags are actually good, and we’ll tell you why.
What does “biodegradable” mean?
In a word, it means that a product will decompose (“degrade”) completely, in a natural way, and so it will not be a threat to the environment.
Biodegradable bin liners and biodegradable bags are made of plant-based plastic, which is why they can be digested by other living organisms, and as such, they do not harm the ecosystem, but rather are able to be part of it.
In practical terms, what this means is that, when you throw these bags away, they will “disappear” in a little while and they will leave literally no plastic behind. There are many options when it comes to waste bin liners in Australia, so it’s really, really easy to be eco-friendly!
Are “degradable”, “compostable” and “biodegradable” all the same thing?
Beware! All of these terms do not mean the same thing.
Compostable and biodegradable are pretty much the same, at least when it comes to bin liners and bags. “Compostable”, as the name suggests, means that you can put it in a compost site and they will be broken down naturally.
If you have a compost bin or site at home, one thing you need to be careful about is checking that the packaging says “home compostable” or something similar, as there are also commercially compostable bags which are only suitable if you’re going to send them to a commercial composting site.
This is because the materials with which they are made require certain conditions to biodegrade properly. Still, remember that biodegradable bin bags are always a better option than plastic bags, regardless of these conditions; so if you’re not able to find the ideal option, go for the second best!
Finally, let’s talk about “degradable” plastic. Essentially, and sadly, it doesn’t mean anything that aids us in taking care of the natural world. What happens with degradable plastic is that is breaks down into tinier and tinier particles, but it is still plastic, and it does the same harm. To put it simply: it’s best not to buy these, as they are probably going to be more expensive than normal plastic bin liners and just as harmful.
What other eco-friendly alternatives are there?
The most eco-friendly option, of course, is reducing waste as much you can. Make your own compost and put (appropriate) food waste in there, recycle as much as possible, get reusable bottles and food containers, don’t buy anything you don’t need (so you don’t have to throw it away later).
For food waste and recyclables, depending on where you will place them or send them to, you can even avoid using plastic liners: a newspaper or paper bag you already have lying around can do the trick.