Compostable plastic garbage bags: Why they have no place in the organic waste bin

Compostable plastic garbage bags are becoming increasingly popular and are now available in many supermarkets, household goods stores and online shops. They are often made from corn or potato starch and are a convenient way to dispose of organic waste. More and more people are opting for compostable garbage bags. Their goal: to protect the environment and ease their conscience. But what was intended as a well-intentioned attempt ends up causing widespread ecological damage. Nature is subject to an extremely complex ordering principle in which all mechanisms are perfectly coordinated. But with industrialization and the exodus from rural areas to the cities, our relationship with the environment has rapidly deteriorated.

Today we are desperately trying to save what can still be saved. There are problems like stars in the sky. Often you get the feeling that we humans create new problems in parallel with every solution. This is exactly what applies to compostable plastic garbage bags. Being environmentally conscious is undoubtedly desirable. We owe this to our descendants, not least of all. But on the way to a sustainable solution, compostable garbage bags are completely unsuitable. Therefore, you should definitely avoid disposing of them in the organic waste bin. In fact, they have no place there at all.

Why compostable garbage bags harm the environment

By labelling them "compostable", manufacturers often suggest that they can be disposed of in the organic waste bin without any problem. In reality, their message distorts reality and creates a misleading interpretation. Although they meet the applicable standard and are certified accordingly, they do not keep their promises. The real problem arises in the composting plants. In principle, the conditions there are ideal for allowing organic waste to rot completely. The material is sealed airtight in a fermenter for four to six weeks. Temperatures of over 60° Celsius also ensure a perfect climate, with hordes of microorganisms decomposing the waste. But as soon as compostable garbage bags come into play, the picture changes suddenly.

According to the Euro standard, they must have decomposed after 12 weeks, but only by at least 90%. The remaining parts must not exceed two millimeters in size. The logical consequence: up to 10% can remain in larger parts in commercially available compost. In addition, bio-microplastics contaminate the finished compost, which further worsens the condition of our ecosystem. Whether biodegradable or not. Given the short period of time available to composting plants, the Euro standard represents an impossible undertaking.

The compost must be ready and marketed within six weeks at the latest. In addition, the technical equipment of many composting plants leaves a lot to be desired. Not only are they not able to decompose the bags efficiently, but the sorting technology used is also not designed to distinguish compostable garbage bags from conventional plastic bags. This means that the supposedly organic bags end up in the residual waste or incinerated along with other contaminants. This is by no means complete composting.

Utopian continuation by hook or by crook

In the meantime, the manufacturers of compostable garbage bags have reacted and developed their products further. Shorter decomposition times are intended to meet the requirements and enable faster composting. Composting plants are also making an effort and using new technologies to speed up the process. What is seen as a positive experiment by some has a sobering result for others. The original purpose, namely complete composting, remains unfulfilled. This becomes clear to the consumer at the latest when the compost is used in the home garden. The plastic particles contained can even make the beds sparkle in the moonlight, which drives the credibility of the apparent addition of nutrients down to the basement.

Even if technological progress allows the bio bags to decompose completely in the future, nothing will remain of them except water and CO2. The Federal Environment Agency is also convinced that compostable garbage bags made from corn or starch do not contribute to nutrient-rich compost. Quite the opposite: contaminated compost and an increasingly overloaded waste system are among the biggest problems that compostable garbage bags bring with them. But what about energy recovery? Here, too, a similar picture emerges. The bitter reality: more energy is gained from burning compostable plastic garbage bags than from composting them.

Innovation is not always synonymous with improvement. It often sets processes in motion that have serious consequences. This is also impressively demonstrated in the case of organic bags. But it could be so simple. Garbage bags made of environmentally friendly paper have always been a good compromise solution. Of course, without further burdening the ecosystem and the consumer. So it is more than time to recognize the potential of sustainability and recycling. If you really want to do something for the environment, you should avoid compostable garbage bags and consider sustainable alternatives instead.

Paper organic garbage bags are your safe plan A

If you are looking for a truly sustainable solution, paper organic waste bags are the perfect choice. They are much more environmentally friendly than compostable waste bags and also decompose much faster. They relieve the burden on our waste system and allow operators of composting plants to breathe a sigh of relief. The biggest advantage: They are biodegradable and can be composted completely - 100%. In addition, paper waste bags have no frills and do not leave behind any collateral damage such as "organic plastic residues". They are low in emissions, conserve resources and thus contribute to a clean environment. Of course, you could also wrap your organic waste in newspaper and throw it in the organic waste bin. Or simply collect it in a bucket. However, if you do not want to do without the convenience of a garbage bag, paper organic waste bags are the measure of all things. They give you a real opportunity to calm your conscience and dispose of your waste quickly, easily and, above all, sustainably. However, sustainability does not only start with disposal. You can also see the signs of the times when shopping. Paper bags made from renewable raw materials are an excellent choice.

Change always starts with yourself

From an ecological point of view, compostable garbage bags are a major mistake that we should avoid at all costs. A much better solution is unprinted paper bags made from 100% recycled paper, which you can easily dispose of in your organic waste bin. In addition, by buying these bags you are doing a good thing in several ways. They close the ecological cycle and thus conserve resources. No matter how you look at the topic: After this article, it should be clear to everyone that compostable garbage bags are not the last word in wisdom. There is a lot to do if we want to preserve our ecosystem. It is therefore important that we take responsibility and ensure that waste disposal is as sustainable as possible.

So it's time to rethink our lifestyle and raise awareness of sustainable solutions that meet our needs without putting a strain on the planet. With a little willpower and foresight, we can all make a big difference and make our waste production more efficient. No one has to forego convenience when it comes to waste disposal. Paper garbage bags offer a wonderful and, above all, environmentally friendly alternative to protecting nature. We must be aware that our behavior must protect the environment instead of trampling on it. After all, we are only guests in this world. Invest in your future and choose paper garbage bags. With small decisions, each and every one of us can help to minimize the impact of human actions on nature. This is the only way we can create sustainable systems that can meet the challenges of our time.