If you’re going plastic-bag free for March, you might be wondering what you’re going to line your bins with as your plastic-bag supply dwindles. Certainly, a number of people have asked me this question! Here are a few suggestions for how to line your bin without plastic, I hope you find one that suits you.
1. Go naked
Some councils insist all rubbish be contained, but the majority are okay with loose rubbish in your wheelie bin. If this is the case, simply collect your rubbish in a container that can be rinsed out and tip it straight into the kerbside bin. This will suit families with minimal food waste. In our house, we use 1kg yoghurt pots, one for worms, one for compost, one for chooks and one for rubbish, which all need to be emptied frequently. Kids enjoy emptying these – ours are particularly fond of feeding the worms!
2. Use a few sheets of newspaper
If you have some wet scraps going to the kerbside bin, you could hold back a couple of sheets of newspaper from your recycling and line the bin with those. This six-year-old demonstrates a nifty way to line a bin with newspaper using origami, but this is more my style: a much looser, faster technique.
3. Use paper bags or other waste bags
For those who need their rubbish to be contained, you could make use of the packaging from other food items. As you’re on a plastic-free journey, you might find you have some paper bread bags from the bakery, or if you eat chips, you could use the foil packets that aren’t suitable for your soft-plastics recycling collection.
You’ll notice a common theme with these ideas: emptying your bin frequently! Having a whole shopping bag of rubbish sitting around your home is not a great thing, it can attract ants and other pests, the kids can get into it, they split, they leak bin juice all over the place… all in all, a small container that is emptied often is more hygienic. So if you’re thinking these plastic-free bin ideas sound like a hassle, bear that in mind.
What about biodegradable bags?
Although they seem like a great idea, biodegradable bin liners are not a great replacement. These tend to be made of corn starch or another bio-material and will therefore produce methane when breaking down in landfill. Biodegradable bags are handy for those who want to compost but like to keep things contained – you can literally collect your food scraps in a bag then toss it in the compost. But for regular rubbish, it’s best to avoid plastics of any kind.
For the record, degradable plastic bags are just like regular single-use plastic bags, with all the same issues involving litter, leaching into soils, choking marine animals and so on. They simply break down faster. These are best avoided.
Got some tips or questions? Let’s hear them!