As word spreads about the necessity of caring for the environment, increasing numbers of people are committed to making more environmentally friendly choices in their lives. They are driving more fuel efficient cars, recycling at home and work, and are purchasing more “green” products that are less-toxic for the environment and their families.
How we dispose of our garbage is one area that most of us haven’t tried to change, as there are not many attractive alternatives.
Most people use trash container liners and plastic garbage bags to help contain the mess. There are a few people who are so committed to the environment they use no liners or bags at all, simply dumping the trash into their outdoor trash bin. Most of us are too squeamish about garbage for this option, but would like to find something more environmentally friendly than plastic garbage bags.
Alternatives to plastic
Making plastics is the number one use for petroleum; this in itself has led many to try to avoid plastic. It is also a toxic material and takes thousands of years to degrade, filling landfills with both its bulk and its toxins. While there is a new breed of plastic garbage bag, made from bio-based plastic and designed to decompose, these are considerably more expensive than traditional plastic bags.
Many use corn products as their base, which raises the same environmental questions as using corn for bio-diesel.
Should a food crop be utilized for purposes other than food? These new uses of corn and other food crops are believed to raise the cost of our food at a time when many are finding it difficult enough to purchase food. Another question is the logic of using arable land for making plastics and fuel rather than producing food. When you look at “green” plastics as an alternative to traditional plastics, perhaps they aren’t the best idea after all.
This brings us to the advantages of using paper garbage bags, especially ones made of recycled paper.
The arguments for paper
Although you won’t find paper garbage bags in many stores just yet, this alternative to plastic is relatively easy to find online. For your small garbage containers in the bathroom and bedrooms, waxed paper liners can be purchased online by the case. These have long been used by hospitals and other commercial enterprises and are an easy way to begin using paper garbage bags. The bags are rectangular on the bottom, so they stand nicely inside the trash container. For larger garbage containers, using paper bags from the grocery works well, as most of these are quite sturdy and stand up to a good deal of weight. One problem is they are not waxed, so wet garbage does need to be contained in something else. Not that long ago, people wrapped messy garbage in old newspapers, then threw it away.
To be sure that your paper garbage bags are made of recycled paper, buying a case of grocery-sized recycled paper bags is an economical and environmentally friendly way to dispose of your garbage. Large lawn and leaf paper bags for recycling yard wastes are relatively easy to find at hardware and home stores. These super-sized bags handle the toughest jobs. With the popularity of using paper bags for trash disposal, expect to see more products available to consumers. Ones made from post-consumer recycled paper are the ideal.