Do you need to line your compost bin? If you do use one, are compostable bags actually compostable? What’s better for lining a bin- paper or bioplastic? You aren’t the only one with these questions! We hear these questions all the time. The answers, however, depend on your personal preferences and the compost facilities in your area. Read on to find out what you should be doing with your own countertop compost liners.
The Dirt on Compostable Bags
Putting compost directly into a countertop bin is not an issue at all, and nothing to worry about. You could even line your bin with newspaper, a paper bag, or pieces of paper towel/ toilet paper rolls to help keep gunk away, and then dump everything directly into your compost heap or bin for pickup.
But if you don’t enjoy rinsing out your empty bin often, or just prefer the ease of a bag lining your countertop compost bin, then my recommendation is to look for the right brand of compostable bags. Not all are created equal!
We personally recommend BioBags for countertop bins. We’ve tried a bunch of different brands and this is the only one that we find strong enough to handle lots of waste, even liquid, without breaking down immediately. While BioBags makes strong bags, they do indeed breakdown in a compost pile. Even a backyard pile!
Benefits of compostable bags
The best benefit of a compostable bag is that it contains what is in your bin and you can easily remove all the waste that you’ve tossed in your compost bin without having to do any scraping or handling. Think potato, cucumber peels, or coffee grounds that have stuck to the side of the bin, that kind of waste that wouldn’t easily dump out.
Another benefit is that it can help contain smell, but if you have the right kind of compost bin and are emptying it out frequently, smell is rarely an issue. Especially if you are not composting meat, dairy, or bones – but if you are able to compost those, it’s best to keep them in the freezer in a paper or compostable bag until it is time to toss them in your compost pile.
Mold can be a bit of an issue if you leave your food scraps in your countertop bin too long. But if you empty it frequently enough, mold really shouldn’t crop up. Now, if you empty your countertop bin into an outdoor bin that then goes to another collection point, mold can be an issue, in which case a compostable bag would be handy. But many compostable bags don’t come larger than a few gallons, so really, there isn’t a strong case for lining an outdoor compost bucket.
Cons of compostable bags
One of the biggest negatives of choosing to use compostable bags is selecting the right kind. Finding something that not only is truly compostable, but also whether it can compost at home or within an industrial composting facility can be tough. When looking for bags, steer clear of:
- Degradable or Oxo-Degradable bags: These will break down, but not entirely, and contain plastics. So even though they may appear to be a bag that will break down in the right conditions, it will still deposit plastic into the earth. Not good! Certainly not something we want to put back into our soil!
- Biodegradable bags with plastic ingredients: Again, just because a company selling bags claims it will break down in the environment, if it contains plastic, it will not. Look for bags that are made of real materials that can be consumed by bacteria and fungi – just like your compost! It if didn’t come from the earth, it won’t return to the earth.
So, not only does having to source the just-right bag create more hassle, you also are spending additional money when you really don’t have to. But again, if you want to go the route of bags, there is a pretty clear option.
BioBag is the best choice for lining your compost bin
With compostable bags, you can just toss everything directly into your compost pile or leave the bag with the compost out for collection if you use a service. We love Biobag because the bags are compostable both in industrial and home composting and are made from natural ingredients, but with a strength that’s comparable to a regular plastic bag.
What we love about BioBag, too, is that they are a private company, local to Florida, dedicated to creating compostable bags. It’s not something they just do on the side, it’s they’re whole business! They even make shopping and produce bags, pet waste bags, and so much more! Their products are certified compostable, so you can definitely trust they will break down!
Where to buy compostable bags
You can also buy BioBags on Amazon.
Here are some of our favorites:
What size bag do I need for lining a compost bin?
We suggest using 3 gallon bags for lining your countertop compost bin.
We provide 13 gallon bags to our customers so they can line their 5 gallon bins. This helps keep bugs and smells away here in the SWFL heat.
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