Does anybody know anything about biodegradeable plastic bags?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 19, 2010 2:52 AM GMT
    My organic market has just started using biodegradeable plastic bags. I asked what do they degrade into? ...carbon dioxide? ...water? ....what?

    I bury my kitchen veggie scraps in my garden. And I was wondering if I could just bury the whole bag and not have to pour the scraps out first.

    It turns out they are made of plastic with corn starch. I am not sure how the corn starch figures into the production. But the bags still have plastic molecules in them. Seems to me, if the bags decompose, wont they just release plastic molecules into the environment, whereas conventional plastic bags would just keep them all locked up in the damn old bag.

    From the little bit of information that I can find on the internet, it seems these biodegradeable bags only really decompose completely in special faciltites. Otherwise, if buried in an oxygen-free environment, like a landfill, they decompose to methane, which is many magnitudes worse for the greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide!

    I am wondering if anybody on here knows more about this.
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    Sep 19, 2010 3:05 AM GMT
    Most "biodegradable plastic bags" on the market are just regular polyetheylene bags with a green dye and one of several "magic additives" that are supposed to make them biodegradable. None of them have been demonstrated to actually work, except under a strong UV light, which is absurd. They certainly don't degrade under anaerobic conditions.
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    Sep 19, 2010 4:35 AM GMT
    I wouldn't call them biodegradable. I think they just "break down" faster than regular plastic bags. Mainly because the plastic is thinner. As for methane gas.. some landfills recover the gas and sell it. But most landfills burn it off. There's a pretty big landfill next to the freeway on the way to my parents' house. It's quite a sight seeing a big burning flame coming from the top of the hill. icon_confused.gif
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    Sep 19, 2010 4:38 AM GMT
    It will be interesting to see how the store responds. I am supposed to get an answer. Nobody knew. I don't think anybody asked before.
  • Webster666

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    Sep 19, 2010 4:39 AM GMT
    I buy biodegradable bags at the Walgreens drug store, to put all my compostables in. When I have a bag full, I throw it into the compostables recycle bin, and the trash man picks it up, once or twice a week. I have no place to bury it.
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    Sep 19, 2010 4:41 AM GMT
    Webster666 saidI buy biodegradable bags at the Walgreens drug store, to put all my compostables in. When I have a bag full, I throw it into the compostables recycle bin, and the trash man picks it up, once or twice a week. I have no place to bury it.

    It's probably best to get them away from your house. They don't sound very good.
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    Sep 19, 2010 4:47 AM GMT
    The material they use for Sun Chips bags is compostable. Like, after you finish the chips, just toss the bag in your compost pile. It's supposed to break down after a couple months.

    And yes, the bags are freakin loud. icon_lol.gif