Glendale, CA

Are Compostable Bags Necessary?

Caroline at EatDrinkLA

California's composting law designed to lower the amount of landfill garbage created is in full swing, and by now you should be used to throwing your food waste into the green waste bin. But should you pay for compostable bags? This article looks at three popular compostable bags that are available (including one that is completely free) and weighs the options for you.
Compostable Bags Blog ImagePhoto Credit: EatDrinkLA

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What is a Compostable Bag?

Compostable bags are bags that look like plastic but are actually made of vegetable matter that can be fully broken down. Not all "compostable bags" are created equal though, and even retailers like Amazon are guilty of allowing companies to mislabel items compostable when they are actually just degradable - and might even contain plastic! The easiest way to spot a fake is if you see a too good to be true price. The Greener Walker Brand of Dog Waste Bags costs around $15 for 540 bags that are labeled biodegradable. It says it's made with a bio-corn starch blend and is the first item that comes up when you write compostable dog bags into the search. Read the reviews before you buy, because there are generally some honest ones that point out if a product does what it says it does. Many reviews state that these are not even biodegradable! Cross-reference the brand with a google search before you buy it, then you'll really know what you're in for.

Why Use Compostable Bags?

If you're already bagging your food scraps for city composting, you might as well speed up the process with the right kind of bag. While the city of Glendale, where I live says plastic is alright, because it's most accessible to the consumer, it takes me weeks to fill up the bin before I place it to be picked up. By then my entire trash bin could begin turning into compost! I also always pile leaves on top which reduces odors and helps the composting process.
Compostable BagsPhoto Credit: EatDrinkLA

The Bags to Use

I tried three different brands when I first started to separate food waste into a countertop garbage: Repurpose, Grove Collective, and the free Trader Joe's variety used to collect fruits and vegetables. The results were surprising!

Grove Collective is one of my favorite companies to order from, as I find their app pretty addicting to click through for eco-gear, but the price of the 25-count 2.6-gallon countertop bags is $6.99.

Next, Repurpose has a slightly larger kitchen counter bag, at 3 lbs, and it performs the same as the Grove brand, but you get 50 bags for $10.99!

Lastly, Trader Joe's offers compostable bags for your fruits and vegetables when you shop there. If you don't rip them open when you get home, you can reuse them in your kitchen countertop garbage can. I loaded mine up with everything from runny egg shells to watermelon slices, and it held up as well as the other two bags. The only downside might be that it's slightly smaller. But it's totally FREE!
Trader Joe's Compostable BagPhoto Credit: EatDrinkLA

So should you pay for compostable bags?

If you can get by with a handful of reused produce bags (assuming you shop at Trader Joe's), then I would recommend that route. You could always stock up on just a box of the Repurpose brand in case you need it. I choose them over Grove Collaborative because of the price ($10.99 for 50).
Repurpose Compostable BagsPhoto Credit: EatDrinkLA

Happy World Saving! You're doing great!

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Specializing in the best of Los Angeles! I want to show you how to eat, drink, and live your best Los Angeles every day of the week. My favorite style of articles to share are listicles and "best of" roundups.

Los Angeles, CA

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