Comparison of Biodegradable & Compostable Garbage Bags

Comparison of Biodegradable & Compostable Garbage Bags

Biodegradable and Compostable Garbage Bags are generally considered to be an efficient way to store large amounts of garbage out of disposal areas. On a regular basis, we would all throw garbage out of our home. If we leave the waste of all our homes it would add up to a huge pile of garbage waste. With the growth of the human population, the land space still remains the same. There are a lot of people all over the world who are not aware of the existence of eco-friendly products in the market. Eco-friendly garbage bags are still fairly new in the market, which is why several governments and other organizations are organizing campaigns to introduce and promote these Earth-Friendly products.

There are two types of eco-friendly garbage bags sold on markets, the first type is the Compostable Garbage Bag. Compostable Garbage Bags are types of garbage bags that break down quicker than biodegradable bags. Compostable garbage bags will decompose completely in a span of about 10 to 45 days. The second type of eco-friendly garbage bags would be the Biodegradable Garbage Bags. The process of decomposition for biodegradable garbage bags takes about 18 to 36 months.


Q: What is the difference between biodegradable and compostable? 

A: Biodegradation is a chemical process in which materials are metabolized to CO2, water, and biomass with the help of microorganisms. The process of biodegradation depends on the conditions (e.g. location, temperature, humidity, presence of microorganisms, etc.) of the specific environment (industrial composting plant, garden compost, soil, water, etc.) and on the material or application itself. Consequently, the process and its outcome can vary considerably.

In order to be recovered by means of organic recycling (composting) a material or product needs to be biodegradable. 

Composability is a characteristic of a product, packaging or associated component that allows it to biodegrade under specific conditions (e.g. a certain temperature, timeframe, etc). These specific conditions are described in standards, such as the European standard on industrial composting EN 13432 (for packaging) or EN 14995 (for plastic materials in general). Materials and products complying with this standard can be certified and labelled accordingly.


Q: Does compostable material require incineration? 

A: In accordance with American and European Standard, plastic that is labeled as compostable is generally intended to be sent to an industrial or commercial composting facility which has higher temperatures and different breakdown conditions. As with landfilling, home-composting bears the risk of producing greenhouse gases. Unless, the materials or products compliant with the standards recognize by US / EU conformity mark stating their home composability. 


Q: Does compostable breakdown in landfills? 

If compostable products are placed in an open landfill or dump where oxygen is available, they will decompose at a rate similar to other biodegradable materials in the same setting. If compostable products are placed in the more common anaerobic (air-locked or capped) landfill and deprived of oxygen and micro-organisms, then the ability of the compostable products to decompose will be severely restricted. Modern landfills are designed as low-oxygen environments so that the waste cannot decay. This environment helps to prevent decomposition which produces harmful greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide, as well as leachate, which pollutes ground water and soil.


To conclude, Biodegradable garbage bags today are turning into a more environmentally friendly solution and alternative to its users. Today, we have biodegradable garbage bags that decompose faster than traditional plastic bags and many other eco-friendly alternatives when it comes to dealing with disposable wastes.