I found myself recently needing to purchase something to line my waste/landfill bins with. Up until now, I've been relying on a tub of single-use plastic bags that I've collected over the years, but they've (finally!) run out. When I went to the supermarket, I was quite surprised to find multiple options all claiming to be green or eco friendly. There were:
- 100% virgin plastic (i.e. 'new' bags)
- X% recycled plastic (unknown source)
- X% recycled plastic (sourced from the ocean)
- X% plant-based (unknown source)
- 100% plant-based (made from sugarcane, not compostable)
- Biodegradeable (i.e. compostable, conforming to AS 4736-2006)
The percentages varied between brands: with recycled plastic usually between 80-95% and plant-based between 40-60%.
Which is the right choice for containing things headed for landfill? Or is there a better option?
- The majority of my household waste usually ends up in either green (garden/food waste) or mixed recycling, but there are a handful of items that still can't go in either of those. We normally fill a small under-sink bin in about a week.
- The waste stream in my local area goes to a managed landfill, where it is buried.
- I have read Alternatives to garbage plastic bags and while I agree that ideally we shouldn't need them at all, or make do on the odd plastic bag that enters the home through other means, unfortunately this doesn't fit everyone's use case, and in the event that garbage bags MUST be purchased, it would be helpful to have these comparisons to make the best (or least-worse) option.