are compostable bags good?


The Compostable Bags and Compost bins Connection?

More neighborhoods in North America are using compostable bags as curbside programs expand. You get a 32, 65, or 96-gallon green bin and some instructional material about how to compost. After a few weeks, fewer homes put out their green compostable container on trash day. If they were facing the same problem as us, then we know why that is. Storing compostable material without it giving off a nasty smell and causing a mess that’s a cleaning nightmare is not easy.

Can Compostable Bags in Curbside Compost bins keep it clean?

Various bag sizes are available to make waste management more manageable, from the most used 13-gallon trash bags to the larger 33-gallon garbage bags. When using these bags indoors, we are faced with a dilemma. Do we wait till that bag fills up completely, or do we bring it out one-third full once a week? Luckily, most 13 to 33-gallon bags are cost-effective & cheap. Most of the neighborhood has sorted that out now.

How much food does a small family produce per week?

Because of extra fees, fines, and penalties for not separatinme first woman pointing to herselfg waste, everyone has green bins on trash pick-up day. I don’t know how much they have in theirs. Suppose our containers can be used as an indicator. That’s at least 4 to 6 kilograms of food waste a week from a few houses that aren’t going into the landfill.

I don’t use the compost bins. It gets too stinky.

The city-provided green trash & recycling containers get dirty & challenging to maintain. Separating organics & using your bins as advised, you may get a smaller regular trash bin. In many cities & towns, you pay based on that bin’s size, so if half of your trash is compostable. You could downsize to a smaller regular trash bin and save money on your monthly waste bill. But many families are too busy to rinse recyclables before tossing them. Meanwhile, others do not care or want to be cleaning a nasty trash can, so no real improvement has occurred.

The challenges of curbside composting

The first challenge is to figure out how to store compostable materials in the kitchen in a sanitary way to prevent them from giving off a nasty smell, attracting insects, leaking, and making a mess. 

Why should we separate food waste & bag food waste? 

If you have a small family or don’t produce much compost daily, you could probably go with a smaller wastebasket. We’ve got four people here, including myself. I mostly eat a plant-based diet, producing a lot of waste. We all agreed that we wanted a lid for the compost container to keep odors and bugs away.

There are many cockroaches in places like Texas, where temperatures are high. You might even get some mosquitoes and fruit flies buzzing near a compost container, leaving behind eggs that turn into larvae or maggots. Seeing even a few larvae can turn anyone’s stomach, usually when people panic. We also most certainly didn’t want to be feeding any other insects, rats, rodents, or large critters.

Hardware stores near me

They’re a few sizes based on your output from the 8, 10, or 13-gallon bin for the kitchen container or catcher. Choose a kitchen bin with a foot pedal, handy when peeling an apple or scraping leftovers from a plate or something to drop right in. They are cheap and can be picked up at any local store near you, Home Hardware, Home Depot, Walmart, or Target for about $30 or less. You can also find one at a dollar store.

Plastic Vs. compostable bags for curbside composting Bins

The environmental answer is “IT DEPENDS.”the era of compostable bags is here

  • Some cities, like Toronto and Ottawa, allow residents to use plastic bags because they are separated at the municipal composting facility. 
  • And some don’t. Compostable, biodegradable, and plastic are treated the same.
  • Others accept only certified compostable bags. 

If reading that confused you, Imagine others who have just given up. Our waste management collector accepts all kinds.

Why do we use plastic or compostable bags?

The next & most important thing we needed was a bag or liner for that trash can. Without it, I couldn’t have taken out the trash every couple of days and dumped it.

pests trash can green bin odorBut how the disposal system is designed causes a stink and, as mentioned, attracts files & then maggots. The idea of the food being loose in the compostable bin sitting outside the house, heating up, and attracting insects & possibly rodents is not anyone’s idea of even a painful chore, but it happens frequently. We tried every favorite, always handy plastic grocery bags or store checkout bags for the first couple of weeks.

They fit in that pretty well, and to prevent extra liquids from leaking out, I would double bag a bag and take it out maybe after about three or four days. This avoided wet items like tea bags or watermelon cantaloupe rind that might leak a lot of liquid and come through the small holes. No one likes garbage juice leaking along the floor when carrying your bag to dump it.

Paper compostable bags test

paper lawn compostable bags curbside pilePaper bags come to mind when considering a compostable bag for curbside composting. If a good deal came along, I picked up paper bags; they are considered more environmentally friendly. The tall paper bags for trash cans fit & sit well, too. You can roll the edges over the lip of the can, but that prevents the lid of your kitchen trash can from closing.

It’s natural for us to take care when lifting paper bags out of the bin without wanting the bottom to fall out because we are holding wet compost materials. We carry the bag out to the bin outside. A paper bag with a soggy bottom would crumble away and fall out while carrying it out to the compostable bin. It was always a mental fear while lifting a load out.

Premium quality eco-friendly compostable paper bags

Today, some great reinforced bottom paper bags are available, holding wet waste for prolonged periods. Still, the sides also count, too, and they get weak after some time.

If you don’t already know, there is a considerable price gap between paper and compostable or plastic bags. We produced an average amount of unavoidable food waste and leftover scraps, including the wet and juicy stuff, perfect for composting in the bin. Regular-sized trash bags, like the 13-gallon bag in the kitchen, are not compostable. 

So, I went online and researched compostable bags. I had questions that needed answers.

Are compostable bags compostable?

Would compostable bags break down over time and not increase environmental pollution?

The other thing is in the short term, I did not want it to break down. If you fear that a bag made of biodegradable plants will degrade quickly, especially when it gets wet and stuff soaks through & leaks out in your bin. As many brands popped up with similar reviews, we decided to go with our favorite, the13 13-gallon-sized bag. We went for the large pack, a hundred in the box; we paid about $30 for it; that’s almost a year’s supply of trash bags at two bags a week.

The compostable bags must meet the standards for compost stability in Europe and the United States. Most brands will mention that on the bottom of their box, meaning these bags meet the criteria for the ASTM D 6400. It needs to meet that standard to be compostable in the United States.

How compostable are compostable bags?

 Based on the word, you would think they would turn into good old compost, micro plastic in glass hand holding but that’s not the standard they’re looking for. According to the box, it says it’s made from plants and vegetables. The messaging is misleading—compostable bags break down correctly if disposed of properly in a maintained municipal facility.

The box’s statements make you believe compostable bags break down over a certain amount of time. It suggests that you can bury them in your yard under the leaves. The truth is far from reality. Compostable bags break down in a carefully controlled municipal facility. It may take a lot longer to break down naturally, if at all.

What does the ASTM D 6400 standard mean?

Municipal compostable facilities provide heat, and the stuff gets turned over to give oxygen and new material. The small pieces will break down. I think there are a few months in which 90% of it has to be dispensed that way, and of the remainder, it’s more about the size over a certain amount of time.

Are compostable bags durable? Are they strong?

carry hang food waste in compostable bagsCompostable bags must be stored like paper bags in a cool, dry place. Heat and moisture cause them to break down, and you don’t want to have this, mainly before you’ve used all of them.

Compostable bags are pretty solid & rigid. You can stretch them out slightly out of shape but cannot poke holes in them. Imagine your finger as a blunt piece of trash accidentally disposed of is applying pressure and trying to drive through the material. It would take moderate pressure to poke a hole in it. Compared to regular plastic trash, compostable trash bags come in different millimeter thicknesses, so it’s easy to find one near the same thickness.

How do compostable bags behave over time when exposed to moisture?

 After we’ve had the bag holding food waste for a couple of days to a week, it depends on what’s chucked away, for example, chicken & fish. When I pull a bag out, a little moisture-like condensation is present. I can wait about an hour or so for the moisture accumulated in the bin to evaporate before putting it in a fresh, compostable bag. But I usually rinse out & wait till the container is dry or the wife gets mad.

Outdoor 32-95 gallon compost bins

We have an outdoor 32-gallon green bin and two 96-gallon carts for recycling and trash. The city picks up the green container once a week.

How does a week’s worth of trash in compostable bags in curbside composting carts hold up?

A few moisture droplets in the bottom are standard, but the bags are held up. Sealing bags tightly is essential to avoid leaks if the bag position shifts or leaks due to expanding gas inside. But from years of throwing in packs, often when bags are piled on each other, waste matter leaks and stinks up the bin.

Jumbo oversized trash bags are suitable for lining your large outdoor -32-, -64-, or 95-gallon waste container. They are also a good option for keeping outdoor carts clean. 

  • But that’s a tremendous amount of plastic used to prevent the mess of a few bags. 
  • But they are hard to find on store shelves. 
  • And they balloon up constantly when you’re throwing in stuff

Are compostable bags good?

Yes, you can get a compostable bag as thick and sturdy as a plastic bag. However, the timeline in which compostable bags in curbside composting bins break down should concern us. Food waste is collected on a weekly schedule. A quick wash, spray, and airing will keep your indoor and outdoor trash cans clean and fresh.

Washing will remove moisture buildup, grime, and odors. Sealing your bags well will prevent smells and pests. Products that you can use along with compost bags are available to make home waste management effortless. I’ll discuss them towards the end.

How to fit small compostable bags in curbside compost bins

We want things to be clean while doing the least amount of work. If it can help save time and money & help the environment, that’s an extra. Check out what we think is a pretty good solution that does all that & more.

Learn how to use your compostable bags in curbside composting cans, along with our simple DIY system to make your waste management mess & hassle-free. You can fit regular 13- to 33-gallon bags in large outdoor 32-, 65-, or 96-gallon trash cans. Bags are firmly held wide open, hanging in the bin. This makes it effortless to quickly throw in big bags or food waste, such as watermelon chunks, without using large oversized bags.

You control the problem with smells and sanitation and never have a dirty bin to clean.see the difference medium vs large trash bag holder in compost bins
It’s a super-easy way to keep bins clean and nuisance pests away from your home’s containers and area.

If your neighborhood’s getting on the composting bandwagon, BagEZ makes it efficient. To learn how? Click here. Youtube video link

I hope I made choosing bags easier for you and maybe even using them.


    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
    Buy Now