Currently, we have a plastic waste crisis on our hands. The number of non biodegrading plastic waste in the environment is rapidly increasing, while landfills are getting filled up with plastics that takes centuries to degrade.
Because of that, we should strive to lessen our use of plastic drastically. One of the most used plastic products are plastic bags, and in this case, trash bags.
One of the easiest methods to reduce plastic in the environment is to reduce our use of trash bags. Humans produce on average 1,1 kg of trash per day, while OECD countries average 2,2 kg of trash per day per person. That’s a lot of trash, with 7,8 billion people on earth, that means, there’s about 8,58 billion kg of trash produced every single day.
A lot of those trash are disposed using plastic bags to the nearest landfill. Aside from hiding the unsightly waste, plastic bags also reduce the foul odor so that it won’t disrupt public activity.
Sadly, that also means that there are a lot of plastic bags that are rotting away in our landfills. They can’t degrade by themselves because a lot of plastic is non-degrading, or at least takes a couple of centuries to fully degrade.
The solution? Use biodegradable trash bags. There are numerous benefits of using biodegradable and compostable trash bags compared to your regular plastic bag.
- 1 What Are Biodegradable and Compostable Trash Bags?
- 2 How to Choose The Right Biodegradable and Compostable Trash Bags
- 3 Top 10 Biodegradable and Compostable Trash Bags
- 3.1 UNNI 13 Gallon Compostable Trash Bag
- 3.2 Bag to Nature 13 Gallon Compostable Jumbo Kitchen Bags
- 3.3 JTSC Products 13 Gallon Compostable and Biodegradable Trash Bags
- 3.4 Pro Green 2.6 Gallon Compostable Bags
- 3.5 Biobag 3 Gallon Kitchen Food Scraps Bags
- 3.6 Stout by Envision 30 Gallon Compostable Bags
- 3.7 Second Nature Bags 3 Gallon Kitchen Trash Bags
- 3.8 Primode 13 Gallon 100% Compostable Bags
- 3.9 Green Earth Compostable 13 Gallon Biodegradable Trash Bags
- 3.10 Eco-Smartbags 13 Gallon Biodegradable Trash Bags
- 4 The Verdict
What Are Biodegradable and Compostable Trash Bags?
In essence, a biodegradable and/or compostable trash bag are trash bags that will decompose if left in nature for a set period of time. If it’s also compostable, it will degrade into organic materials and finally soil.
How to Choose The Right Biodegradable and Compostable Trash Bags
Just like picking a regular trash bag, when choosing the right compostable and biodegradable trash bag, you also have to consider things like size, price, and added features. These are the basic parameters that you have to evaluate to find the right trash bag.
However, when picking compostable and biodegradable ones, there are a few extra things that you have to look for.
Biodegradable vs Compostable
They may sound the same and you might feel that they’re no different, but there’s a difference in the certifications and standards for these two products.
Biodegradable bags are cheaper, but they don’t degrade as easily compared to compostable trash bags
Bags that are labeled as “biodegradable” are often made from innovative plastics and polymers that are able to decompose naturally, under the right circumstances. However, those circumstances usually require light and oxygen, two things they won’t have under a pile of trash in a landfill.
Luckily, some biodegradable trash bags have added chemicals that helps the plastic break down in any environment. This ensures that it’s able to degrade anywhere without external help.
It’s also a lot harder to recycle a bag made out of biodegradable plastic as it needs to be sorted in a certain way. The special plastics and polymers usually don’t play well with regular plastics.
That being said, biodegradable bags hold together really well (due to them being made out of plastic) and are often cheaper than compostable bags. This makes them a more wallet friendly option if you’re willing to sacrifice some eco-friendliness.
Some biodegradable bags may even be fully compostable and just don’t carry the certification due to manufacturing differences. Just note that if your city or municipality requires compostable bags, they cannot be merely biodegradable.
Compostable Bags Break Down Faster!
If you’re looking for something that will break down really fast in the environment, look for bags that are labeled as “compostable”. Unlike biodegradable bags, these bags are regulated and will decompose under nearly any conditions.
Keep an eye out specifically for those that are BPI and ASTM D6400 certified. If you live in Europe, also look out for the Austrian TUV or the OK Composting certifications. Not only are these bags proven to break down fast, but your city composter will also be sure to accept them.
Don’t forget, though, that because these bags are compostable, they’re going to start breaking down pretty quickly if you have any wet and/or organic matter in them. So you’ll need to change your bag fairly often or try to keep food scraps in a separate container. One trick is to line them up with newspapers if you frequently dispose of wet waste to reduce moisture content.
Most biodegradable, compostable trash bags are made from plant starch, either potato or corn starch. While both will break down equally well, potato starch bags are just a bit more environmentally friendly. Potatoes require less water and take up 40% less land to produce the same amount of starch compared to other plants. Because of that, if you want to minimize your environmental footprint, potato is the way to go.
Thickness is Important!
We all know that plant starch based trash bags are not as strong as their fully plastic based ones. But, you’ll be surprised at how well they handle regular use.
If you usually fill your trash bags to the brim, remember to pick a fairly thick trash bag to reduce the chance of ripping or tearing. You don’t want any of those food waste spilling all over your kitchen floor do you.
Anything over 1 mm of thickness is classified as a heavy duty bag. These bags will be able to withstand anything the average household throws at them at daily basis.
Remember, pick thick bags over thin ones if you prefer to fill them up to the brim.
Drawstring and Handles are Usually Not Included
Most biodegradable and compostable trash bags don’t have ties and handles like many traditional trash bags. Handles and drawstrings are normally made with heftier, reinforced plastic, that’s stronger than the bag itself. So, it’s harder for manufacturers to produce these in line with the rest of the bag due to certification reasons.
Be aware that unless the box explicitly states that the bags do have drawstrings, you’ll likely have to tie the corners together yourself. But considering the fact that these bags generally need to be changed more frequently than normal plastic bags, that might not be much of an issue.
You won’t fill these up right to the brim, right?
Top 10 Biodegradable and Compostable Trash Bags
Now that you know how to choose the right trash bags, without further ado, here are our pick of the 10 best biodegradable and compostable trash bags for environmentally conscious consumers like you!
UNNI 13 Gallon Compostable Trash Bag
This trash bag from UNNI is a high quality trash bag that’s completely biodegradable and also compostable. It’s perfect for either home or municipal/industrial scale composting. Whichever method you choose, this fast degrading compostable bags are one of the best in the industry.
This bag is certified by the US BPI according to their ASTM #6400 standard, and also complies to Austria’s TUV OK Compost standards for home composting. Because of that, you’re guaranteed a high quality trash bag whenever you’re using UNNI.
It’s mainly designed to handle kitchen food waste, garden waste, and pet litter. But, you can also dispose of general household trash using this bag, it’ll handle anything short of chemical and soap/detergent based waste.
It’s 0.71 mm thick liner made out of plant starch will hold for quite a long time. Although, just like any biodegradable bag, it’ll need to be replaced every few days, maybe 2-3 days just to be safe.
If you’re thinking of dumping wet waste or liquid waste into this trash bag, you better think twice. Even though it’s strong, it’ll dissolve rather quickly, just like any other trash bag, if it gets into contact with water. So, take care to dump relatively dry waste into these bags if you want them to last more than just a couple of days.
If you’re in the market for a high quality, durable, easily decomposing trash bag, that’s environmentally friendly and highly compostable, you can’t go wrong with UNNI 13 Gallon Compostable Trash Bag.
Bag to Nature 13 Gallon Compostable Jumbo Kitchen Bags
Bag to Nature Compostable kitchen bags are perfect for those of you that have municipal or neighborhood compost programs. These bags are strong, hefty, and best of all, wont break down with normal use.
These bags are certified in the United States and produced in Canada. If you’re buying this, you know you’re supporting Canadian workers.
It’s made out of plant starches so it degrades fast. It takes about 4 weeks from the moment you dump these bags into a composting environment to the point where it dissolves and turns into biomass.
However, the strength of these bags means that it will be hard to use in home compost systems. Given the 13 gallon sized bags, it would be hard to use in your home compost system anyways.
So, remember to use this if you have a municipal or neighborhood composting initiative. If not, you’d better use a smaller sized trash bag if you want to compost it.
If your neighborhood has a composting program and you’re in the market for a great quality compostable trash bag at a decent price point. Back to Nature’s 13 Gallon Compostable Jumbo Kitchen Bags are a great choice.
JTSC Products 13 Gallon Compostable and Biodegradable Trash Bags
JTSC Products Compostable and Biodegradable Trash Bags are considered as one of the strongest compostable bags around. It’s also quite thick so you wont have to worry about this bag leaking or ripping when being used.
This bag has a thickness of about 1 mm, plenty thick for storing everyday food waste. However, it is recommended to change bags after 2-3 days of waste collecting, especially if it’s food waste.
Even if it’s thick and strong, like any other biodegradable and compostable trash bags, watery waste still can dissolve the lining. If you’re disposing of waste that produces water or is watery, line some newspaper over the bottom of the trash bag.
This bag’s lining is made out of plant starch with extra biomass, when it decomposes, it’ll create a lot of biomass material. It’s designed to break down completely in a composting environment after 45-90 days.
However, exposure to sun, heat, and moisture can increase the decompostion speed. Because of that, always remember to store these bags in a cool place that’s not directly exposed to the sun.
JTSC Products 13 Gallon Trash Bags are great if you want a heavy duty, thick, and strong compostable trash bag for your everyday waste disposal needs.
Pro Green 2.6 Gallon Compostable Bags
These small 2.6 gallon compostable bags from Pro Green are perfect for kitchen scraps, garden waste, or cat litter.
This trash bag has passed the compostable certification in the United States and Europe. Because of that, you can be sure that the bags are of high quality and won’t dissapoint.
These bags have thick linings of over 0.7 mm to reduce the chance of puncture and tear during daily use. The thickness also prevents the trash from leaking.
This bag is also made out of corn starch so it will decompose fairly easily when introduced to a composting environment.
Due to it’s small size, it’s perfect for home-based composting schemes. It won’t take too much space like their 13 gallon counterparts would. Because of that, if your city doesn’t have a composting program or you’d like to make your own at home, this trash bag is the perfect fit.
If you’re in the market for a small sized trash bag that you can compost on your own in your backyard. Pro Green’s 2.6 Gallon Compostable bags are a great deal.
Biobag 3 Gallon Kitchen Food Scraps Bags
Biobag is one of the original pioneer for the compostable trash bag. These bags are designed to be composted at home using home composting systems, although, it still does okay at industrial scale composting plants.
Because these bags are designed to work under the lower temperature of home compost systems, they degrade more easily compared to other trash bags. These bags need to be changed every 2-3 days to ensure optimum performance and no leakage.
Naturally, this bag is designed to store kitchen and food waste, leafs and other lawn/garden wastes, or pet waste. Sadly, few consumers have reported that this bag handles wet waste poorly and may even decompose entirely if exposed to too much liquid.
Because of that, you have to try to dump fairly dry waste into the trash bag. It’s the unfortunate side effect of the bags being very easy to decompose. Some even report these bags only taking a few weeks to fully decompose into organic matter.
Biobag is certified by the BPI according to their ASTM D6400 standard and also meets the European EN 13432 standard for biodegradable products. Because of that, you can be sure you’re getting top quality product when buying this trash bag.
The bag is made out of plant starches, plant oils, and other compostable polymers and resin imported from Italy. It’s made entirely in the United States. So, if you buy this, you know you’re supporting home industry back in the US.
If you’re looking to buy a great quality biodegradable and compostable trash bag that’s quick to degrade and is specifically designed for home composting systems, the Biobag Kitchen Food Scrap Bag is a great choice.
Stout by Envision 30 Gallon Compostable Bags
For those of you that are looking for something larger than your standard kitchen trash bag, these 30 gallon trash bags from stout by envision might just be your cup of tea.
These bags are made in the United States and are certified according to the USCC and BPI standards. Because of that, you could be sure that you’re buying a high quality product when buying these bags.
The bags are really thick, having a lining thickness of over 1.1 mm. You won’t have to worry about these bags ripping or leaking during daily use. But, just to be safe, be sure to replace these bags after a couple of days. All biodegradable trash bags, no matter how thick or strong they are, won’t be as durable as the regular plastic based ones.
Being thick, you’d think that these bags would take a long time to decompose fully into organic matter. It turns out, Stout by Envision trash bags only need about 10-45 days to degrade, and about 6 months to fully decompose into organic matter in a composting environment.
If you’re in the market for extra large trash bags that are heavy duty and thick, while also being fully compostable, Stout by Envision is a great choice.
Second Nature Bags 3 Gallon Kitchen Trash Bags
These small 3 gallon trash bag’s from Second Nature is extra thick and extra strong to reduce the chance of leakage and tearing. While there is no stated thickness, it’s plant starch and sugarcane based lining reportedly lasts up to a week during testing.
It’s also certified according to international standards such as the BPI, ASTM 6400, and Vinçotte. This trash bag is certified to be 100% compostable and will degrade in nature. According to tests and reviews, it takes a maximum of 26 weeks to fully decompose in nature.
If in any way you’re not satisfied with the product, they also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee in which they’ll give you a full refund. With this guarantee, you basically don’t have to worry about a thing when buying this.
Second Nature Bags 3 Gallon Kitchen Trash Bag is a high quality biodegradable and compostable trash bag at a decent price point. If you’re looking for a small bags to dispose of kitchen food scraps, these are a great choice.
Primode 13 Gallon 100% Compostable Bags
These compostable trash bags by Primode are extra thick and strong to avoid leakages and ripping during general use. It’s 0.87 mm thick lining made out of corn and vegetable starch can withstand a lot of punishment without breaking.
This bag can even handle a little bit of wet waste, though we don’t recommend you to throw liquid waste here. Remember, any type of biodegradable and compostable trash bags are not fully liquid resistant.
Primode 13 gallon compostable bags are certified by the BPI and European TUV to be 100% compostable. These bags take a little bit longer compared to food waste to decompose. But, it’ll decompose well in a composting environment or even in a regular landfill.
These bags are also just the right size for a regular 13 gallon trash can, unlike several other trash bags. Because of that, these bags are really easy to use. You won’t have trouble fitting them on your trash cans.
If you’re in the market for a great quality trash bag that’s also easy to use, easy on the environment, and is sold at a great price, Primode’s a great choice.
Green Earth Compostable 13 Gallon Biodegradable Trash Bags
Green Earth Compostable biodegradable trash bags are made out of GMO Free plant starches to ensure it’s sustainability and eco-friendliness. It’s certified according to US BPI and European Ok Compost for home and municipal composting standards.
It’s plant starch lining is 1 mm thick to ensure sufficient strength and tear resistance during daily use. You won’t have to worry about this bag breaking apart when used to line your trash cans.
This bag is suitable for either home or industrial composting standards, degrading quickly into nutrient rich hummus, water, and carbon. However, the decomposition speed is of course different. Industrial composting with its higher heat will dissolve this bag faster compared to home composting.
It’s also tall enough to perfectly fit your regular 13 gallon trash can, unlike several other compostable trash bags. Because of that, you don’t have to try hard to fit this into your trash can perfectly.
This is a great trash bag for you guys that prefer a non-GMO based biodegradable trash bag for daily use.
Eco-Smartbags 13 Gallon Biodegradable Trash Bags
Eco-Smartbags Biodegradable Trash Bags is not made out of plant based starch, it’s made out of recycled plastic. Because of that, you wouldn’t have any durability problems. This bag handles wet waste really well, unlike other biodegradable trash bags.
It’s plastic based lining is also a lot more durable compared to plant based ones. It won’t rip, tear, or puncture easily during daily usage. However, keep in mind that it’s not that thick, take caution to avoid overloading these bags with too much trash.
It’s made out of plastic, so, how does it biodegrade? It turns out, the company added a proprietary additive to the mix to improve degradation speed. Because of that, when left in the environment, the bags will decompose naturally.
According to the company, the bags will degrade after a maximum of 7 years. This is confirmed by testing and customer reviews which claims that the bags need about 1-7 years to fully decompose. That’s plenty fast for a plastic based trash bag.
Sadly, due to it being made out of plastic, it won’t be compostable. Because of that, don’t leave this in your composting pile, it’ll take too long and might disrupt the composting process.
If you’re in the market for a biodegradable trash bag that can handle wet waste as good as dry waste and is relatively stronger compared to most biodegradable trash bags, Eco-Smartbags 13 Gallon Biodegradable Trash Bags are a great choice.
Picking the best compostable and biodegradable trash bag is tough. Different needs calls for different bags. If you usually compost at home, try bags that are smaller in size and thinner. If you prefer to send them to industrial scale composters, try using a larger sized one that’s also thick.
If you usually dump watery waste, try finding ones that are not made out of plant starch. Compostable is pretty much out of the picture here, barely any compostable bags are made out of plastics.
So, there you have it, our take on the 10 best biodegradable and compostable trash bags you can buy in 2020. Good luck finding your perfect trash bag!