The typical plastic bag takes decades to centuries to break down once in the landfill. As they degrade they leach their petroleum based chemicals into the soil, affecting the environment. Even the production of these plastics is bad as it’s based on polluting fossil fuels.
But there are biodegradable options now. Biodegradable bags or bio bags are made of bio plastics. They can be med of resins derived from plants, vegetables oils and compostable polymers which then can be consumed by micro-organisms. One popular substance is non GMO corn starch.
Bio bags are compostable, meaning they are broken down by microbial digestion to create compost. The term biodegradable can be misleading as all things break down in due time. The preferred term is compostable for these eco bags.
While these eco friendly plastics are thin they still have many uses. In the commercial cleaning sector they can be used as waste basket or recycling basket liners. In places that use food composting you can use them in food scrap collection buckets. The come in a variety of sizes for 5 gallon buckets, 13 gallon kitchen size, to 23-33 gallon “Slim Jim” cans.
The benefits of bio bag commercial liners:
1) They reduce labor costs by protecting containers and keeping them clean.
2) High penetration barrier against bacteria, viruses, spores and mold.
If you are in the retail sector you can use them for shopping bags. It is still best to have customers bring in their own bags, but sometimes the customer is not prepared or is on the go. These can be used in grocery stores, restaurants and farmers markets, and special onetime events.
One company to look into is BioBag USA. They make eco friendly bags here in the usa with plant based resin from Italy. There is no “compostable resin” supplier in North America that can guarantee a resin that is based on GME free crops! They do not sell direct to consumers, but you can find them online and at traditional retailers. They do have commercial options on their website.