With spring now upon us I’ve started to think about all those jobs in the garden that keep me so occupied throughout the year. Common to most garden jobs is garden waste and I’ve pondered for years whether there are compostable bags for the green bin and if so should I use them.
After doing a little research what I’ve found is that there are so many options when it comes to compostable bags for garden waste. One of the best materials for this kind of bag is paper however ensuring it is truly compostable is a challenge for most manufacturers due to the requirement for the garden waste bag to be strong.
Let’s look into compostable garden waste bags a little further
What is a Compostable Bag?
A compostable bag is a bag made out of material that can be decomposed by natural processes. The compostable bag is designed to decompose into organic matter, like soil and water, in a short space of time within composting facilities.
Compostable bags are usually made from plant-based materials like corn starch or wood pulp. Often they are not as durable or strong as regular bags which is why some people still choose the plastic option.
The compostable bag will break down in a compost pile and so it should only be used to hold compostable waste.
How are Compostable Bags Good for the Environment
Compostable bags are environmentally friendly because they break down into compost much faster compared to any other type of garden waste bag.
The reason these bags essentially return to the earth is that the are made from natural materials that will not harm the environment in any way.
By now we are all aware of how long alternative plastic bags can take up to decompose, hundreds of years whereas compostable bags will take about 3 months on average.
What Can You Put in Compostable Bags?
It is important to know what can be put in these compostable bags, so that we don’t end up with a bag full of food waste that cannot be composted itself.
And this is really the key, compostable bags can hold any type of food waste, but they should not contain any paper products or anything non-organic. This would include things like coffee filters, napkins, and obviously plastic utensils.
Within the garden environment it’s important that only organic material is placed in the bag before it goes off to the green recycling centre. This would include waste such as leaves, stems, dead flower heads, small sticks or branches etc.
Whilst technically you could put soil in these types of bags I would first check with your local recycling centre as many do not accept soil. Soil will also make the bag heavy and although some compostable garden bags can be strong they should not be considered for heavier loads.
Things You Should Never Put into Your Compost Bag
Whilst using compostable bags for the green bin is a great way to help the environment there are some things you should never put into your compost bag.
Any old garden pots for example, these would not break down for hundreds of years.
Old or broken tools, plastic sewing or plant labels if you unlucky enough to have inherited them when you bought your property.
Soil, stones and rocks should not go in the bag either. Here in the UK recycling centres will not accept this kind of waste.
During or after garden parties it can sometimes be tempting to put non organic material in the green bin. Avoid this at all costs and keep a careful eye on your guests 🙂
Why Choose Compostable Bags for Green Bins?
So you could argue why use compostable bags for you green bin anyway. Green bins are usually built strong enough to take a variety of garden waste so you can avoid using a bag all together.
But there are a couple of good reasons why you would use a compostable bag in your wheelie bin.
The first is that after some time your green bin can become very dirty and smelly and the only way to remove this is to wash the bin inside and out. Whilst this may not be an issue to all of us the elderly in particular find the heavy wheelie bins difficult to manoeuvre let along clean.
By using a compostable bin liner you can keep the inside of your green bin nice and clean for the next time you use it safe in the knowledge that the compostable bag will degrade just as good as the organic material stored inside.
The second advantage to using garden waste bags is that again, the green bins are difficult to move around and it’s not always convenient to have it placed beside you whilst you are working.
Using a compostable bag that can be simply transfer to the larger wheelie bin is much lighter and convenient.
How to Choose the Best Compostable Bags for Green Bins
When you want to buy compostable bags for the green bin, there are only a few things you should consider before making your purchase.
Size is one of the things you should consider. If you really do want the bags for just your green bin then you’ll need to measure it to make sure you get the right size.
If you’d prefer to work with smaller bags that can be dropped into the green bin at the end of your gardening day then smaller bags may well be the right choice for you.
One other thing to consider is whether you’d like to use the bags on your own home compost heap. Not all compostable bags are created equal with some bags being home compostable and others not.
3 of the Best Compostable Bags for Green Bins
«add products here»
ecoLiving Compostable Wheelie Bin Liners
240 Litre x 10 Compostable Wheelie Bin Sacks
– Bag Size: 240 litre – 1130mm x 1390mm for large Wheelie Bins // Approved for food waste recycling with most councils
– Certified to EN 13432 and carry the European standard Seedling logo
– 100% biodegradable and compostable
The Compost Bag Company
Whilst using compostable bags for the green bin is not for everyone there are reasons why you might want to use them in and around your garden.
I still see people filling black plastic bags full of garden waste and dropping them into their wheelie bins only for the recycling centre to have to remove them in processing. (hopefully!)
Using compostable bags for any job around the house has clear benefits and so if you do want to use bags for garden waste make sure they are compostable.
I’d love to hear from you, have you been using compostable garden waste bags and really love them. Did you try them and not get on well?
Let me know be leaving a comment below, it would be great to hear from you.