Tuesday, 14 September 2010

What is the Best Bin Liner for the Planet?

Are you as confused as I am about how to line your kitchen bin?

If yours is like mine it probably has a plastic bucket inside it's metal exterior and we could just wash it out regularly and not line it at all, but if you are like me you probably don't have the time to wash it out more than once every week or two, and at this time of year when there isn't much sunshine to dry it but the heating isn't on indoors it could be tricky drying the bin.

So should we line our bins with regular bin liners or degradable bin liners, or should we use one of those thin carrier bags in which we brought our shopping home from the supermarket?  What if you don't take bags from the supermarket but use your own reusable bags and no one else in your house brings them home either?  Could there be an alternative to plastic even?

Well the answer to the first part of the question is, that buying regular bin liners means you are using precious fossil fuels merely to dump them straight into landfill. You are perfectly entitled to do that, but it isn't great for the planet.

What about degradable bin liners?

Well, it seems they don't degrade when packed tight in a landfill site where they aren't reached by air or sunlight, so they aren't such a good idea either.  I've been hearing this from various reliable sources for some time, so I'm as sure as I can be that it's true.

According to 'Science Man' the best sort of plastic bag to use is one containing at least 55% recycled content:
"In fact, if every household in the US replaced just one package of 20 count tall kitchen trash bags made from virgin plastic with trash bags that have 55% recycled content 720,000 cubic feet of landfill space (equal to 1,100 full garbage trucks) would be saved."
I'm sure it would make a sizeable impact in this country, too.

Of course, it will also help if people take all the carrier bags they won't reuse to a carrier bag recycling point, which most supermarkets around here seem to have.

If you are like me and you find that most of your rubbish is plastic bags that once contained rice, raisins or loo roll etc, then sometimes you can put other rubbish in these, or use a large one to stuff all the smaller ones into.

I presume our grandparents wrapped messy things in newspaper before they had plastic bags.

My supply of supermarket plastic bags is coming to an end as my son goes off to university and I've nearly finished the packet of degradable bin liners I bought in a misguided moment some months ago - at least I've made them last quite well. In a few more weeks it will just be me and hubby, so I shall see if we can create a lot less rubbish than we did with the kids around and if we can avoid using plastic bags.

What do you line your bin with?



  1. Hi Karin Love your blog. I have often thought about bin liners and now I am on the hunt for ecco friendly liners. I let you know if I find any down here in Aus.

  2. Good luck with your hunt, Sarah.

  3. nothing - I compost the squidgy stuff and waah my compost bin out when I empty it. I boycott plastic so dont have many wat plastic wrappers so my bin is pretty much dry - for a rather better written post on the subject - not by me- check out my blog links xxxx


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