These days, we’re always looking for more eco-friendly alternatives for everyday items that may be damaging to the environment. From reusable water bottles to reusable straws, there’s generally a way to meet your needs in the most low-impact way possible. Enter: biodegradable trash bags.
Trash bags are the one type of single-use plastic bag that the vast majority of people still seem to still accept as their go-to. But why not try to find an alternative that’s potentially better for the planet? Biodegradable trash bags may not be the perfect solution, but there are some environmental benefits to making the switch from regular plastic.
A biodegradable bag takes about three to six months to fully decompose, while synthetic counterparts take several hundred years. Most biodegradable plastics are bioplastics, made from plants rather than fossil fuels, and can be broken down by microbes to become biomass, water and carbon dioxide. However, many include similar petrochemical-based materials to conventional plastic, meaning that although they degrade faster, they’re still releasing some toxic chemicals in the process. The safest bet in terms of biodegradable trash bags are probably those that are also compostable, so they’re able to break down into compost alongside food and other organic waste.
There are, of course, still the basic trash bag requirements you’ll want to consider. They should be the right size for your trash can or bin, and durable enough that they won’t break or leak. These are some of the best biodegradable trash bag options to keep your waste contained and your environmental impact reduced.
1. Biodegradable 4-6 Gallon Trash bags
These biodegradable trash bags are made with cornstarch and other renewable plant resources so that they can naturally decompose without causing damage to the environment. They’re also compostable (likely only in a commercial compost facility) which gives them an additional eco-friendly boost. The slightly larger size allows them to easily fit any kitchen, bathroom or office trash can, and they can hold up to 11 pounds of waste without tearing.
2. BioBag Compostable Countertop Food Scrap Bags
BEST FOR FOOD SCRAPS
BioBag trash bags are certified compostable by The Biodegradable Products Institute, so you know that they meet the highest standards as far as environmentally friendly plastic bags go. These three gallon bags are perfect for leftover food scraps that you would be adding to your backyard compost system, since they are in fact able to compost there as well. They’re made from the starches of plants, vegetable oils and fully compostable polymers, and designed to fit most countertop composting buckets to keep them nice and clean.
3. Public Goods Recycled Trash Bag
BEST LARGER SIZE
While these 100 percent recycled oxo-biodegradable 28-gallon trash bags take up to five years to fully decompose, that’s a hell of a lot better than conventional plastic bags which take up to 1,000 years. These plus-size trash bags are just as strong and sturdy as regular plastic bags, and they’re definitely more environmentally conscious, so it’s really a no-brainer if you’re looking for something reliable to clean up after a big party.
4. Glad Compostable Small Kitchen Flat Top Trash Bags
You may have been buying regular Glad trash bags for years and had no idea that they also make a more eco-friendly alternative. These small kitchen trash bags are 100 percent compostable, and they guarantee five days of odor control thanks to the fresh lemon scent. They’re perfect for compost since old food can definitely start to smell, and they’re just as durable as any other Glad product.
5. Seventh Generation Tall Kitchen Trash Bags
If strength is your biggest concern in a trash bag, these are the best biodegradable option to minimize any risk of tearing or leaking. Though they’re only made with 55% post-consumer recycled plastic, if every household replaced one 50 count package of trash bags with these, we could save 403,000 barrels of oil (enough to heat and cool 23,000 U.S. homes for a year). The gencore three-layer technology also makes them extra strong, so you can count on them to withstand your heaviest trash days.
6. Wild One Eco-Friendly Poop Bags
BEST FOR PET WASTE
Waste comes in many forms, and we couldn’t forget about pet waste when searching for the best biodegradable trash bags. You can still be environmentally conscious when you’re picking up after your pup with these eco-friendly, extra thick, leak-proof, unscented biodegradable trash bags made from a plant-based starch blend. Each order comes with six rolls of 10 bags, and you can subscribe to get a discount or add a poop bag carrier to make walks even easier.
7. STOUT by Envision EcoSafe Compostable Bags
These biodegradable trash bags meet all of the requirements and certifications for compostable bags. They typically degrade in 10 to 45 days and biodegrade in less than six months in a commercial compost facility. They’re large bags engineered for composting and collecting organic waste and are definitely one of the best options if you want something guaranteed to decompose as fast as possible.
8. BioBag 33-gallon Compostable Lawn & Leaf Yard Waste Bags
BEST FOR YARD WASTE
These BioBags can be composted right along with the yard waste in a municipal compost facility, making them the perfect alternative to regular plastic or even paper yard bags. They’re 33 gallons for maximum lawn scrap and leaf collecting capacity, are durable, easy to use and made from a resin-based on plant starches, vegetable oils and compostable polymers. They’re also breathable to reduce moisture, mildew or odors even through wet weather.