I currently use plastic garbage bags in the kitchen. I would like (if possible) to use something plastic free, as hygienic as the usual plastic bag and easily obtainable in Europe.

Is there any sustainable (biodegradable or plastic free preferably) alternative to plastic garbage bags?

  • 2
    What kind of waste ends up in your garbage plastic bags and where does this waste go?
    – Earthliŋ
    Jan 29, 2016 at 23:15
  • We use special rubbish bags made of paper. They are tough, so they don't fall apart straightaway when wet.
    – RedSonja
    Feb 1, 2016 at 9:32

5 Answers 5


Ironically, the better you are at reducing your waste, the less likely you are to succeed at replacing plastic bags for the irreducible portion. My mother throws out actual garbage twice a year - one small plastic bag such as the ones you get from grocery stores, every 6 months. While she always has a reusable shopping bag in her purse, she finds that plastic bags come into her house anyway - for example people bring things over in a plastic bag and leave it - so she uses one of these waifs and strays to accumulate 6 months of garbage.

Newspapers, which could be used to wrap messy garbage so you don't need plastic, are better put into the recycling to be turned into other paper - and better still declined and read online. Jars and tins which could hold messy garbage are better put into the recycling also. Where I live we can recycle tetrapacks (I know this is rare) and film plastic, and she saves these (rinsed) and brings them to us when she visits, so they can be recycled. She lives in a city with a "green bin" program so all food waste and other nasty stuff goes into the green bin, which insists on very specific bags being used. Foil, Styrofoam and such are also recycled. Egg cartons and rubber bands she also brings to us, and we give them to our farmer, who uses them to wrap up other people's vegetables, eggs etc.

Most importantly she's quite rabid about what she buys. She has completely stopped buying certain things she quite enjoys, because of the packaging they come in.

Her actual garbage typically consists of some potato chip bags, wax paper, and other inert-but-not-recyclable materials that don't need to be in a plastic bag. She just uses one because that shows people that it's actually garbage. I would suggest to you that reducing the total amount of garbage you produce in this way is a much bigger contribution to sustainability than changing what you put your garbage in.

  • 1
    That's impressive! There was a thread the other day on outdoors.SE about using wax paper as a firelighter -- maybe you saw it.
    – Chris H
    Feb 4, 2016 at 16:47
  • Should we bring our waste to you? I would ask. But the key message instead of asking how to kill our planet safely, stop killing it is brilliant in the end. I would make it the slogan of the sustainability web site. Because you are right. All sustainability that we are talking everywhere is about how can we pretend that we save the environment, not addressing the core issue, which is also results from our major value to "have a beautiful" life, regardless environmental consequences. Feb 15, 2016 at 11:08

Long before plastic bags became ubiquitous, stores provided customers with paper bags. It was also a time when people used to read hard copy newspapers as their main source of news. To utilize the stack of newspapers that was accumulating daily they wrapped their kitchen scraps and other domestic garbage in several layers of newspapers before disposing of the wrapped bundle in the rubbish bin.

Another thing you might want to consider is, if you buy milk or other beverages, such as juice, in paper tetrapack containers you can open the top of the container and fill it with "stuff" before disposing of a neat package of trash.


If you have pets, then the empty food bags make great trash bags. Use a stapler to close them up when they are full. If you don't have pets, ask one of your friends to save the bags for you. Many of them are plastic, but it was plastic that is already considered trash, so getting an extra use out of it is a great thing.

Also, consider composting or vermiculture for getting rid of kitchen scraps and non-glossy paper products. Save the landfill for the non-biodegradable stuff.


If you have a rolling trash can that you have to roll out to the street e.g. once a week, get a couple 5 gallon buckets with lids on craigslist for free (I see them all the time out on the curb for pickup), and use those to collect the garbage. Empty them into the rolling trash can when they're full.

The reason I say to get buckets with lids is because if ever one started to smell bad that lid would keep it from stinking up your house or if you set it outside it'll keep cats or raccoons out of it.

Use cardboard or paper to throw it in the rolling bin first so that stuff doesn't get stuck to the bottom.


Burlap sacks from feed or buy empty from the feed store. Watch they dont sell you plastic ones. They are easy to spray off and dry outside and alt them if you are patience. I think they cost too much to set them on the curb unless u are using them for animal feed. But local prices vary.

  • 1
    alt them? Is that a typo?
    – user2451
    Sep 3, 2017 at 17:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.