In response to the excessive use of plastic, many governments worldwide are taking action to reduce disposable plastics. The Canadian government has outlined a comprehensive plan to eliminate plastic waste by 2030. The initial phase of this plan was launched in December 2022, involving the prohibition of manufacturing, importing, and selling single-use plastic items such as checkout bags, cutlery, and straws.
Switching from single-use plastic bags to compostable bags could be a big step in reducing the amount of plastic waste. This change not only addresses the adverse effects these bags pose to our health and the environment but also serves as a solution to rectify such issues.
Compostable bags are objects of interest due to their positive attributes. Let us explore their characteristics and why they are regarded as superior option for packaging.
What Are Compostable Bags?
These sustainable bags are packaging designed to break down naturally into compost or organic matter within a specific timeframe. Unlike traditional plastic bags that can persist in the environment for hundreds of years, these bags are made from materials that biodegrade and return to the Earth. Thus, leaving behind minimal to no harmful residue.
Usage and Applications
Carrying Groceries and Goods
As more places reject single-use plastic bags, individuals are encouraged to consider reusable plastic bags. However, a significant challenge arises when people possess multiple reusable bags but frequently forget to bring them while shopping.
This situation leaves them with a few options. They might purchase another reusable bag, but this choice doesn't align well with environmental concerns. They may opt for paper bags, although these aren't suitable for carrying heavy items and might not compost effectively.
Compostable bags, on the other hand, function just as effectively as plastic bags. People can transport groceries and repurpose the bag for compost or pet waste. These types of bags also offer additional benefits, such as substituting them for thin plastic bags in the produce aisle or for wrapping meat at grocery stores.
Packaging Organic Foods
These bags are also ideal for packaging organic foods. They ensure that the products remain fresh while avoiding using conventional plastic packaging. This is especially important for maintaining the organic and natural integrity of the items.
Restaurants and stores throw out food waste too. They can't use regular curbside composting, so they hire companies to handle it. But cleaning the bins gets hard. Cleaning bins means using water or machines, which isn't great. Even after cleaning, bins can still stink and have bugs. Compostable garbage bags made for these bins can solve this. They hold everything, stop messes, and are better for the environment. They're easier and cheaper too.
Benefits of Compostable Bags
Less Landfill Waste
Ordinary single-use food containers can't be reused or recycled because of food leftovers. This means the container and the food waste end up in our regular trash bins. Compostable packaging changes this by allowing everything to be collected together. This is a big help because it lessens the impact of organic stuff in landfills.
Less Need for Fossil Fuels
Plastics are slow to degrade, posing a significant challenge, particularly when they find their way into environments such as oceans. This stresses the significance of selecting plant-derived materials, which provide a more sustainable choice.
Uses Plant-Based Materials
These eco-friendly bags are created from plant starch and contain no harmful materials. Plant-based materials are a great choice for the environment, and they have another advantage – they can be used repeatedly. When these bags are put into a composting system, microbes help them break down quickly and turn into compost.
It comes from the leftover parts of sugarcane once the sugar is taken out. Instead of burning these remains, we can use them to create things like plates and cups. After we use them, they can turn into compost, which provides nutrients for plants.
Lower Carbon Footprint
These type of bags generally have a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional plastics. The production of bioplastics emits fewer greenhouse gases since they rely on renewable plant sources.
Organic waste emits methane gas when discarded in landfills, with methane being more detrimental to the environment than carbon. If we were to assess landfill emissions as a distinct nation, it would stand as the third-largest pollution contributor globally, surpassed only by China and the USA. Adopting composting for both food waste and compostable packaging serves as a potent tool in the fight against climate change.
Composting for a Better Environment
The world's ecosystems are grappling with the challenges posed by overpopulation and pollution. Nevertheless, there is a potential solution that can contribute to improvement: composting. Compost does good things for the soil, plants, and animals:
- It makes soil stronger and helps plants grow better.
- Composting stores carbon and supports useful microorganisms, making the soil rich.
- It means we don't have to use as many chemical fertilizers, which is better for rivers and oceans.
Collecting and composting organic waste is key to creating a better circular economy. Soil erosion and damage to farmland are problems everywhere. Soil erosion and farmland damage are issues everywhere. And composting can help by turning this waste into a valuable resource for better farming practices that care for the land.
Proper Disposal and Recycling
Compostable garbage bags come with environmental benefits that require proper disposal. They can be added to composting systems – either municipal or industrial – where they break down and become compost, enriching the soil. Remember that these bags shouldn't be mixed with regular plastic waste, as they need specific conditions to break down properly.
For those interested in using eco-friendly bags at home or for their business, compostable garbage bags can be turned into compost safely using various methods. Some compostable garbage bags should be taken to special composting sites, and they can also sometimes be added to garden or food waste collections for composting. To ensure, check with your local Council.
If you want to dispose of these bags at home, you can put them in a home compost heap or bin as long as they are approved for home composting. Commercially compostable garbage bags can be easily discarded as well. Collect them and take them to a facility that handles large-scale composting, ensuring the conditions are right for proper decomposition.
These type of bags usually break down fully in about 10-60 days, although the time it takes also depends on the temperature of the composting environment. If the conditions are around 60°C, these bags can break down in as little as 30 days.
These type of bags are NOT typically recyclable in the same way as traditional plastics or paper. They are meant to break down naturally in composting conditions, and the recycling methods used for regular materials might not suit them.
To ensure it’s handled correctly, follow the disposal guidelines given by the manufacturer or local waste authorities. This way, they can be composted properly and won't mix with regular recycling, which could lead to problems and lower the quality of recycled materials.
While regular plastics can be recycled in some cases, these bags need special facilities for recycling. Some places can process these bags along with other organic waste, but the widespread infrastructure for compostable bag recycling is still developing in many areas.
Order Compostable Bags For Sustainable Solutions
These eco-friendly bags offer a promising solution to the environmental challenges posed by traditional plastics. Their benefits apply to versatile applications in everyday life. So, the next time you're looking for a convenient way to carry your groceries or package organic foods, consider reaching for a compostable bag and step towards a greener world.
Ready to make a positive impact on the environment? Discover Patek Packaging's wide selection of these sustainable bags that offer both convenience and sustainability. Choose our compostable bags to enhance your brand's eco-friendly image and contribute to reducing plastic waste. Join us in embracing a greener future today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Compostable Bags Differ From Biodegradable Bags?
Compostable bags are a more specific category within the realm of biodegradable bags. These bags are engineered to adhere to stringent guidelines that ensure they break down entirely within a particular timeframe and specific conditions.
When placed in a composting environment, such as a compost heap or facility, these bags undergo a complete decomposition process, turning into compost or organic matter. This compost can then be used to enrich soil and support plant growth. These bags are developed to contribute to a sustainable waste management cycle by leaving minimal residue and being part of the natural nutrient cycle.
On the other hand, biodegradable bags encompass a broader range of materials that can break down over time. While they do degrade, the process can vary widely and might not result in a complete breakdown. Some biodegradable bags might only break down into smaller fragments, which can still have environmental implications as these fragments might persist in the environment for a prolonged period.
Unlike the biodegradable bags, the breakdown of biodegradable bags doesn't have to adhere to specific timeframes or conditions, which can lead to variability in their environmental impact.
Can I Use Compostable Garbage Bags for Packaging Food?
Yes, these type of bags are suitable for packaging organic foods. They help maintain freshness and can break down food waste, contributing to a sustainable waste management cycle.