Compostable vs Biodegradable Trash Bags Explained

In recent times, there have been various awareness on the impact of plastic bags on the environment and the dangers that accompany it.

For many years back, plastic bags have been produced and used and this has caused more harm than good to the environment. There has been a lot of awareness and information passed down from various environmental groups and organizations on the reduction of the use of plastic bags, sustainable living, and how to save the plant. One major point has been how to replace plastic bags, however, with what?

So far, there have only been two alternatives raised by these groups and organizations and that is the use of compostable or biodegradable trash bags.

While these conversations have been going on for a while, there have been productions and usage of these trash bags, however not many understand the difference and which is more sustainable. The first thing to note is that they do not mean the same thing and are two different things from many different materials.  

What Are Biodegradable Trash Bags? 

Biodegradable trash bags are bags designed to decompose when they are exposed to certain conditions I.e. Light, air, and moisture. They break down, over time, thanks to naturally occurring microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. For the process of degradation to be complete and achieved, the right conditions must be provided.

Biodegradable trash bags are made from petroleum, however, other materials are added to make them less toxic like plastic bags, and help in the process of degrading.

The biodegradable bags are different from regular plastic bags because they were produced so that biological organisms will be able to feed on the starch and break it down. With the use of the proper amount of air, moisture, right material, and light, these organisms turn the trash bags into food and feed on them.

However, when these trash bags do not have the right conditions, they take a longer time to decompose.  

Are Biodegradable Trash Bags Good? 

Although biodegradable trash bags sound like a good solution and a better option, it is not. The truth is many materials can be used to produce biodegradable trash bags and in some cases, petroleum is used. This is in no way different from plastic bags.

A lot of people rate biodegradable trash bags better than plastic bags because additional compounds are added to help break down the carbon chain that glues the plastic polymers together.

What Are Compost Trash Bags?

These are trash bags, made with natural materials that will decompose in less time. They are designed to break down, just as organic matters do. They are made with natural fiber, such as a plant (corn, potato starch).

Although they look similar to regular plastic bags, they are different in the materials used in production and are only alike in strength. Compostable trash bags will not contaminate the soil or produce toxic substances. They often require bigger composting facilities or a larger heap of dirt (compost), than the one in the home to decompose. This is why a lot of people still find the bag not composed even after placing it in the garden heap.

The conditions required to decompose cannot be maintained in the regular household composting system. 

For the compostable trash bags, the conditions required to decompose are often created and put in place by an individual and not nature. Your compostable plastic bags will decompose in 1 to 6 months as long as it is provided the right conditions to decompose.

What Is The Difference Between Biodegradable And Compostable Trash Bags?

The difference between biodegradable and compostable trash bags is in what they are made of. The material used in making biodegradable trash bags comes from different sources including petroleum; however, there are additional compounds that help it break down properly. While the material used in producing the compostable is made from natural fibers from plants.

The production of the compostable trash bag requires less energy. They can be broken down easily and are non-toxic to the environment.

Which One Is Better?

Both trash bags are better alternatives to single-use plastic trash bags. However, among these two, a compostable trash bag is more environmentally friendly and wise, and this is because it breaks down easily.

Although biodegradable trash bags can be used in the home, there are problems that it poses to the environment. They are;

  1. Biodegradable trash bags are often placed in landfills, which is not a suitable place for proper degradation as all the conditions will not be provided there. Due to this, the trash bags end up staying that way in landfills, taking up spaces like the regular plastic bags.
  1. Petroleum is one material used in producing biodegradable trash bags; this is what results in a similar texture, and quality with plastic bags. Due to this material, chemicals from the bags find their way into the ocean, stream, etc, and in turn, the animals in these places consume them.

The above points lead to the conclusion that the most sustainable one of the two is the compostable trash bags.

Although biodegradable and compostable trash bags are encouraged, there are still more environmentally friendly sustainable alternatives to use. The most environmentally friendly alternative to use is reusable trash bags. These are strong, durable, and washable; they are also made of liners for garbage or recycling cans in the home.

The inner of these bags are antimicrobial and are made with high-quality waterproof.

Shop Both Bags

Reli. Biodegradable 13 Gallon Trash Bags (800 Count Bulk) Green, Eco-Friendly Garbage Bags 13 Gallon - 16 Gallon, Oxobiodegradable Under Certain Conditions (See Product Description)

Reli. Biodegradable Trash Bags

>> Check current price on Amazon <<

Simple Being Plant Based Compostable Tall Kitchen Bags with Handles, 13 Gallon (45 count), Compostable Trash Garbage Bags, Unscented Leak-Proof, Environmentally Friendly (Drawstring)

Simple Being Compostable Trash Bags

>> Check current price on Amazon <<

Final Thoughts 

A lot of people confuse the biodegradable and compostable trash bags to be the same; however, they are two different things from different sources. However, one thing is common with them and that is they are better alternatives to plastic trash bags.

While these two are different, we have concluded that the compostable trash bag is better than the other. There are also better alternatives to these two, which can help protect the earth.