Life without Garbage Bags

I stopped using plastic garbage bags a few years ago. Let me tell you what I have against plastic garbage bags: they are literally waste for the sake of waste. They use virgin (or SOMETIMES recycled) resources to produce something that will be thrown straight in the garbage. They provide us no purpose between the store and garbage bin except to keep our garbage cans clean, and yet we're expected to routinely spend our money on them from now until the end our lives. We might as well just throw our money directly in the trash.

I want to make the point that they also don't decompose, but of course, we all know that pretty much nothing in landfills gets to naturally decompose. It still irks me, however, to see plastic garbage bags filled with leaves and grass clippings that would decompose on their own if not entombed in a plastic bag. And don't even get me started on people who bag their dog's feces in plastic.

End rant.

For a couple of years, when we lived in our condo, we used biodegradable garbage bags make from corn or potato starch. You can purchase these at most grocery and hardware stores. They do cost more than plastic bags, but we're supposed to be limiting the amount of garbage we're creating anyways, right?

When we moved into our house, I asked myself, "What would the City think if I just dumped my garbage straight from the can into my black bin?" Well, here's what they think. Here's my summary. Will it fly all over the neighbourhood and into the garbage collection workers' faces when the bin is tipped over (dust, kitty litter, grass)? Would it be super unpleasant and/or unsafe it ended up in the workers' eyes/mouth/skin (kitty litter, dog feces)? Could it cut somebody (glass)? The website is actually pretty specific, so those are most of the things listed that need to be in a bag for pickup. I consider this pretty reasonable. I wouldn't want kitty litter or dog poop in my eyes either.

So, I've ditched using my biodegradable bags except for kitty litter and dog poop. When it comes time to empty my vacuum canister, that will go in a bag as well. For our dog, we buy biodegradable poop bags. Everything else goes straight into the garbage can.

To minimise trips to the garbage bin, I empty all the tiny cans from around the house into one big one that I keep outside by the back door. Then it gets dumped into the City's black bin. The only thing I can tell you I have noticed is that I have had to wash out my kitchen garbage can pretty regularly because it does get grungy. The rest of the cans stay pretty clean because they are just bathroom garbage, which is minimal, or dryer lint. I also use the smallest kitchen garbage can possible so that it is easy to clean out.

Have you tried getting rid of garbage bags? Leave a comment!


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