Bin liner or no bin liner?
I know one of the hardest plastics to give up in my household is the bin liner. We are a family of 5, that produce more waste then we’d like. Its one of the most frustrating things for me to try and reduce our waste.
Our kitchen bin is built in, and it’s way larger then we need. I want to get it remade so it is smaller and has more compartments for recycling and compost. But alas, wish lists for homes are oh so long, and living life takes priority.
In the meantime, I’m always trying to explore other ways to reduce our single use consumption, So upon looking into bin liners, I was shocked to find all the different marketing layers of labeling.
Did you know most garbage bags that you purchase in the major supermarket chains are labelled ‘degradable’ – this means that they will break down through chemical additives in the plastic into smaller bits; but will always remain somewhere in the environment, as micro plastics. This is BAD. It is actually exasperating the bigger problem we have with plastic entering our food chain. Studies have found that micro plastics (small bits of plastic that have broken down in the environment) have entered our food chain. The most common way is through litter in our oceans, where sealife ingest the discarded plastic mistakenly thinking its food. Often this results in a slow painful death. Or eventually being caught to be put on our our shelves, canned or put onto display at the fishmonger’s. So your dinner is served with bit of plastics.
Plastics are entering our oceans through washing our clothes, the products we use on our skin, natural weather patters blowing particles around. Very recent studies have found that plastic nano particles can enter our bodies through our skin. It has the capability to penetrate through the blood-brain-barrier. The discovery being so recent that, there are no studies to observe the effects of this finding on humans thus far. However, observations on fish and shrimp have found the effect on their central nervous system.
Then you have ‘biodegradable’, which means that in the right conditions, microorganisms will break it down usually within 6 months. The material in biodegradable bags, are usually derived from a plant source, and should break down into natural material without causing harm.
‘Compostable’ bags, which should be placed in a commercial compost facility (not readily available in Australia as yet) that will fully breakdown within 90 days.
Then you have ‘home compostable’ which you can place directly into your compost bin in a residential environment. This obviously is the best choice if you choose to use a bin liner. But how realistic is it? If you use your bin liner to catch all your scraps to go to general waste landfill – how will you get this bin liner into your home compost, or even a commercial compost facility?
I know I can go cold turkey and use no liner – but alas it is too smelly & messy…… and then the newspaper option for me is not viable – because I don’t use paper newspapers!I know I’m not ready to give up a bin liner, for many other reasons
My message today is to be aware of what you consume. If you buy bin bags – just make sure you’re not adding to the plastic pollution out there.