A Complete Guide for Compostable Bags

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About Compostable Bags

Dogs are adored by Australians. According to the RSPCA’s website, Australia has an estimated 4.2 million dogs. If each of those dogs walked once a day and their reasonable owner tidied up after them with a bag, that’s almost 1.5 billion bags used each year!

Even the most ecologically concerned individual would prefer not to handle rotting food or dog feces with their bare hands, right? Plastic bags are frequently the first step you take to disconnect from our garbage – at least until we can dispose of it elsewhere.

You may have come across the words compostable or  biodegradable, on some of the items you’ve purchased in the store and wondered what they meant. It may sound a little technical and interchangeable, but don’t worry — it’ll all make sense once you’ve finished reading!

Here’s what the two terms imply and how you can be sure you’re getting the appropriate items if you’re very eco-conscious!

In This Article

Compostable Bags

Compostable bags are the next step up from biodegradable garbage bags. This time, compostable means “anything that can be utilised as compost as it decays,” according to Cambridge Dictionary. 

Compostable materials, like biodegradable materials, can entirely degrade into natural elements, but they can also become something useful to the land. They also have a shorter window of opportunity to do so. Biodegradable items must decompose in a “reasonably short amount of time,” whereas compostable products must decompose in 12 to 24 weeks.

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So how do compost bags work? Most generally, this entails adhering to the ASTM D6400 standard’s three main requirements namely: physical breakdown must occur to the point that the product is no longer “readily recognisable” from the completed compost product, biodegradation must occur, which means microorganisms must devour the product at a pace comparable to that of other well-known compostable materials, and the byproducts of the composting process must not be harmful to or inhibit plant development.

This type of bio bag is commonly used in kitchen tin for collecting food scraps and as a subtle way to pick up after a dog’s poop. Compostable bags are convenient, ecologically responsible which are made from plant starch. These biodegradable bags are an excellent alternative to ordinary polyethylene plastic bags since they are guaranteed not to break down into microplastics. 

Return dog poo to the environment in the form of organic substances. The color covers what’s within, and it’s totally biodegradable according to AS4736.

Why should you use compostable bags? Here are the top three (3) reasons:

  1. They appeal to people who are extremely concerned about environmental impact. According to studies, about 34% of customers prefer to buy items that come in environmentally friendly packaging. As a result, many people still use biodegradable bags and containers. 
  2. Compostable bags, like cellobags, are 100 percent environmentally friendly, which is one of the most important aspects about them. These bags use less carbon to manufacture, resulting in less trash in landfills and less contamination of the air, soil, and water. Above all, these bags can aid in resource conservation by reducing the quantity of virgin or new materials used in packaging.
  3. Even though compostable packaging films and bags are slightly more expensive than standard ones, they provide a higher return on investment. This is due to the fact that businesses that use packaging films and bags have a better public image. They also provide you a competitive advantage over those that do not use environmentally friendly materials.
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What is the difference between Compostable and Biodegradable ?

It’s natural to be perplexed by the distinction between compostable and biodegradable materials. Not all biodegradable items are compostable, and not all compostable things are biodegradable. The primary distinctions are linked to their respective manufacturing ingredients, decomposition methods, and remaining constituents following decomposition.

Manufacturing Ingredients

Simply said, something is biodegradable if it is made of plant products, leaves, food trash, wood, paper, grass clippings, human and animal waste, and the remnants of deceased creatures — yes if it can be broken down by living organisms such as fungi or bacteria. Instead of petroleum, bio degradable bags are created from plant-based ingredients like maize and wheat starch. When it comes to this type of plastic, however, specific circumstances must be met before the bag may begin to disintegrate. Biodegradable plastic takes three to six months to degrade, which is far faster than conventional degradable plastic. With the help of bacteria and fungi, it must decompose into natural components like carbon dioxide and water vapour.

Decomposition Methods

First and foremost, temperatures must exceed 50 degrees Celsius. Second, the biobag must be subjected to ultraviolet light. In an oceanic environment, either of these characteristics would be difficult to satisfy. Furthermore, biodegradable plastic bags breakdown without oxygen in landfills, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21x more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Photodegradation, in which heat and UV rays from the sun weaken the plastic and eventually break it down into tiny pieces, is the most common way for it to degrade. The microscopic fragments of plastic, in theory, will be devoured by creatures. But there’s a catch: most of the plastic is buried in landfill, which means it won’t degrade due to a lack of sunlight, oxygen, or moisture. Similarly, the plastic that is strewn around in our ocean will be a concern. The substance is forced to break down anaerobically due to a lack of oxygen, generating toxic methane. So, rather than throwing your bio degradable bags in the trash, take them to a recycling center or an industrial compost heap.

Remaining Constituents Following Decomposition

Hence, ​​the fundamental distinction between both materials is that biodegradable products can refer to any substance that degrades and breaks down in the environment, whereas compostable products are only organic elements that decay in the environment. Compostable items that decompose in compostable conditions only leave behind positive residual products such as fertilizers and other nutrients that boost soil health. Biodegradable plastic, on the other hand, is dependent on the element of manufacture, which implies that some of them can leave tiny hazardous waste residue behind.

Conclusion

A brief rundown: biodegradable indicates that a material can be broken down by bacteria and organisms and compostable means that a product may disintegrate into natural elements without harming the environment.

When it comes to living sustainably, the way things decay is just as important as the way they’re made. The way we think of plastic as a one-time use item is a huge problem. Before being thrown, a plastic bag is only used once, for around 12 minutes.

As a result, the best environmentally responsible choice is to eliminate our plastic garbage entirely. That’s why compost bags are important waste diversion goods not just for your house, but also for businesses and zero-waste events. These bags are biodegradable and made from sustainable resources, according to the Biodegradable Products Institute.