Saturday, January 5, 2013

To Bag Or Not To Bag - Your Trash

Have you ever been confused about using plastic trash bags just to send your trash to the landfill?  

Isn't there an alternative?   

How 'bout  a compostable trash bag.


Or so I thought.  

Then I learned that compostable trash bags, when used as a bag for landfill waste, add to the problem of methane generation. They are designed to be composted and work really well for that.

Methane v CO2
This is an important issue for us because methane has a more potent effect on the warming of the earth's atmosphere than CO2.

"Methane is the second largest contributor to global warming. It is a very effective greenhouse gas, 20 to 60 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the next 100 years. Emissions of methane have grown dramatically; methane emissions from human-related activities now represent about 70% of total emissions, as opposed to less than 10% some 200 years ago.

The effect of reduced methane emissions on mitigating global warming is powerful. Because methane has a fairly short atmospheric lifetime, and because it is so effective in trapping heat, efforts to reduce methane emissions will have a rapid impact on mitigating global warming." Gina Rodriguez

So, what are our choices?  We can't use plastic bags because they photodegrade and leach toxic chemicals into the ground, which very well may one day leach into our water or our food.  We can't use brown paper bags - they don't degrade in landfills due to the lack of oxygen. Bio-compostable bags don't work as an environmentally sustainable choice either.

What is the solution to our personal waste management plans -  we recycle and we compost; what about the stuff going to the landfill?

The best advice I've seen so far is - NO BAG AT ALL for the landfill-destined trash. Use a small trash can that can be easily rinsed out in the sink and because it fills up quickly, you'll be motivated to take it out and empty it often.

It seems like a strange concept. Are you willing to give it a try?

Send us YOUR story - tell us the sustainable choice you made today.  We need to hear about everyone making sustainable choices - you will educate and empower us to follow your example.  Thank you for all that you do.

Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than
thinking that a little won't matter.

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