Recyclable & Degradable vs Biodegradable Garbage Bin Liner Bags. What’s The Difference?
When it’s comes to the world of eco-friendly garbage bin liner bags you’ll hear terms used like degradable, recyclable and biodegradable. They all sound environmentally friendly don’t they. But are they different? Yes they are.
26 June, 2016 by
Recyclable & Degradable vs Biodegradable Garbage Bin Liner Bags. What’s The Difference?
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When it’s comes to the world of eco-friendly garbage bin liner bags you’ll hear terms used like degradable, recyclable and biodegradable. They all sound environmentally friendly don’t they. Many people believe they are all the same thing and these terms are just used interchangeably to impress people buying them.

The truth is, the 2 main types of eco-friendly garbage bags are very different and good for the environment in different ways.

The best place to start is by asking yourself where will this garbage bag go when it’s disposed of.

There’s usually 3 main answers for most facilities which are…

1. Landfill - That’s general waste. Waste gets taken to the tip, dumped in a big hole and covered over.

2. Recycled - The recyclable waste gets taken to a special plant where the waste is turned back into something useful again.

3. Composting or the environment - If you have a green thumb that is.

What are the different types of environmentally friendly garbage bin liner bags and when should you use them?

1. Biodegradable Bags

100% biodegradable garbage bags and bin liners will break down organically into a natural substance.

These types of bags are often made from farmed products like cornstarch, which, in the right conditions, will break down into elements like carbon dioxide, water and methane. That’s why this type of bag is also ideal for composting but may contribute to methane emissions if sent to landfill. To meet international standards, biodegradable garbage bags need to compost within 12 weeks and fully biodegrade within 6 months.

When to use:

Composting and similar environmental applications.

When not to use:

Biodegradable bags can not be recycled and are not suited to the recycling process.

2. Degradable & Recyclable Bags

Recyclable and degradable garbage bags are basically the same thing. These bags will only break down using a chemical additive and is most often triggered by light or heat. Degradable and recyclable garbage bags can be recycled. Degradable plastic garbage bags and bin liners break down primarily through the reaction of a chemical additive like oxygen, light or heat and are also known as oxo-degradable garbage bags.

This type of bag is best suited to landfill disposal however the bag is likely to survive long enough to present a threat to animals if not disposed of correctly. As it may take time for them to break down completely, these bags can pose a threat to animals who mistake the pieces for food.

When to use:

Best used for landfill and recycling.

Look for:

EPI environmentally friendly garbage bags like XO2's EPI kitchen tidy bags are a great option if you want a degradable and recyclable bag.

When not to use:

Do not use for composting or similar applications

If you’re looking for advice or help on our recycling or waste management product range including garbage bags and bins, give the XO2 team a call today on 1300 123 499. Or you can visit XO2's waste management range of bins and garbage bags online.

Happy recycling.
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