I quit using plastic garbage bags, or any type of plastic lining in my trash cans. Why? I just don’t see why we need to place trash in plastic bags, taking much longer for it to decompose in a landfill. I thought back to my kids earlier diaper days and the Diaper Genie. I had one and used it for about a week, but I never understood why it was a good idea to turn dirty diapers into plastic sausage links. It made no sense to me whatsoever.
I have, what most people consider, a very small trash can and recycling bin in my house. They’re so small they fit under the sink cabinet. They’re both plastic bins, making them easy to wash and they don’t leak. Also, the small size makes them easy for my kids to empty into the outdoor containers.
I ran out of plastic liners a few months ago. I decided to try going linerless. It felt a little weird at first, but soon I started to wonder why I ever used plastic liners in the first place. They really don’t do anything other than make the trash less biodegradable. If I have some wet trash, typically food, I can place that in another piece of trash like a plastic wrapper from another piece of food. This new system has been good. No issues to report. Buying things to purposely throw away is making less and less sense to me.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned in this process and a few tips I’ve picked up in researching this topic.
Biodegradable garbage bags. These bags cost a bit more, but if you absolutely need a trash liner, this is a good way to go.
Repurpose shopping bags. Instead of buying bags, reuse the ones you get from shopping. They’re usually not big, but just consider it a motivation to cut down on the amount of trash you produce. Use these for the ‘wet trash’ only when needed.
Learn what can and can’t be recycled. You would be surprised at the list of what can and can’t go into the recycling bin. Pizza boxes? No, because they have grease on them. Styrofoam? Yes, they started recycling this a couple of years ago. I’ve found that most waste can be recycled. We fill up our recycle bin way before the trash bin.
Separate your trash into bins. Some people have a compost-type bin for food trash, separate from the regular trash. I have a separate bin for plastic caps so I can take them to Aveda for recycling. I don’t do composting yet, but the change in our grocery shopping habits yield way less waste and trash.
Consider composting. I’m still considering it. :)
Repurpose you trash. If you need a liner for something, use a bread wrapper or potato chip bag. You’re not adding anything to the trash and you’re not spending money buying fancy plastic liners to make your trash more attractive for the garbage truck.
Use plastic washable containers. Get rid of the metal trash cans, use small plastic ones, then you won’t need liners.
If you’re not sure about this, try it for a week. You can always go back to using liners. If nothing else, you’re saving money on trash.