Friday, April 2, 2010

Are there alternatives to plastic trash bags?

Ask Ida

Dear Ida B. Green,

I'm getting better at remembering to take my bags into stores with me.  However, I use the plastic bags to line my garbage cans in the house.  What do you recommend for that?



Dear Daralene,

Your effort to reuse plastic shopping bags as liners is a good way to reduce the number of single-use trash bags out there and is the first step to decreasing the amount of plastics that will last for thousands of years. 

To tackle the next step, consider the fact that plastic grocery bags were introduced in 1978. Before that, people just scrubbed out their cans when necessary.  So, step No. 2: Return to the future and eliminate liners from living room and bedroom wastebaskets. These generally collect dry bits of paper, plastic packaging, tissues etc and rarely, if ever, need to be scrubbed out.

Step No. 3: Remove the need for liners in your kitchen by using a durable plastic trashcan that can be scrubbed out when necessary. To reduce the need for frequent cleaning, place wet garbage, meat bones, or any non-compostable food waste into any non-recyclable food containers that will have to be thrown away anyway. I use the bread bags, non-recyclable yogurt containers, ice cream cartons, etc. that seem to accumulate at a surprising rate.

Three easy steps to improved trash control.

Easy to be Green


—Elizabeth Jeffery

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