Are Garbage Bags Recyclable?

From the first day a person is born till the day they die, they will be producing trash almost every single day in their life.

According to EPA, 4.51 pounds of municipal solid waste(MSW) was produced by a single person each day on average in the year 2018 in the USA.

4.51 pounds of wastes per day is a lot, and getting rid of such wastes won’t be an easy job at all without the help of garbage bags.

Since most of the garbage bags used around the world today are made up of plastic, an environmental concern was raised.

And one of the main questions that came along is, are garbage bags recyclable?

Whether or not garbage bags are recyclable depends on the material that was used to create them in the first place. There are some plastic garbage bags that may not be recyclable at all, and there are others that can be easily decomposed or recycled.

Let’s talk about the plastic garbage bags for a little bit.

Are plastic garbage bags recyclable?

In order to answer such a question, we need to know what are the materials used to create plastic bags.

According to this hunker article, one of the main raw materials used to create many of the plastic bags we use today is Polyethylene plastic.

The reason Polyethylene is used in plastic bags is because it is waterproof, flexible, strong and so on. Polyethylene’s characteristics perfectly fit the things needed from a garbage bag.

The problem here is that Polyethylene takes so long to be decomposed and recycled as this source points out. The source also makes it clear that some types of bacteria can’t decompose Polyethylene which makes this type of plastic dangerous.

The way Polyethylene can be decomposed is by exposing it to sunlight. But again, if plastic bags made of Polyethylene are buried underground, then there is no way sunlight can help in decomposing them.

There are some biodegradable alternatives to Polyethylene that can be used to make garbage bags, but there is still a huge consumption of Polyethylene itself these days because it makes the garbage bags great and useful.

Should we be worried about plastic?

I believe we should be worried about the excessive use of plastics that aren’t biodegradable and here are my reasons.

It’s true that plastic may be recyclable, but that does not mean that the danger is gone. 

When plastic is sent to factories to be recycled, it is either turned into plastic bags again or decomposed through a very complicated process.

However, not every plastic bag used is sent to recycling. Most of the plastic bags that we use are thrown away in nature and they might stay there forever.

If we throw plastic bags made of Polyethylene in water for example, these bags will stay in water for a very long time which can cause a disruption in marine life.

Check out this small video posted by the National Geographic channel on YouTube to demonstrate the struggle of marine animals with the plastic bags in the oceans.

The struggle is real. Having non biodegradable plastic in nature will cause a lot of damage for the generations to come.

Are there good alternatives for plastic trash bags?

There are plenty of alternatives that can be used instead of the non biodegradable trash bags.

The best scenario is that you get a reusable bag instead of using trash bags for once. Using reusable bags will definitely lower your consumption of garbage bags by a huge factor.

If reusing bags isn’t an option for you, then you can choose to only buy garbage bags that are biodegradable. They exist in supermarkets. Read the labels on the bags that you are planning to buy in order to know whether they are Eco-friendly or not.

Due to our today’s technological advancements, we’re facing a lot of trouble when it comes to protecting our environment. From global warming and wild fire to excessive amounts of trash and so on.

If we don’t do something now, we might regret it for the rest of the generations to come.

To summarize what you have just read.

Garbage bags can be recycled but many of them are non biodegradable. Non biodegradable garbage bags are a big problem and to fix the problem, we can use some Eco-friendly alternatives. We can either reuse garbage bags or buy ones that are Eco-friendly.