Photo: What's the eco-friendliest garbage bag?

Break the bad habit of reusing plastic shopping bags for your garbage. (Credit: Microsoft Images)

Go garbage bag-less!

Sound too hardcore? Then line only one household garbage pail.

If you recycle and compost (PDF file), most household trash is dry and doesn't need a liner. And when you focus on making smarter purchases, you can reduce waste in the first place.

If you must have a liner, reuse a paper bag. Another solution is to reuse something destined for the landfill (and not recyclable) like a pet food bag.

Do break the bad habit of reusing plastic shopping bags for your garbage. I'm a big fan of reusing, but in this case, plastic shopping bags should be recycled and kept out of landfills.

Sign up for Queen of Green tips by email

Plastic shopping bags turned garbage liners skyrocketed when our cupboards were overflowing—and they were a menace. Many Canadians have switched to reusable cloth bags for their shopping. Then they ask, "What will I use for my garbage?"

At one point I promoted the use of the compostable bag. They are labelled with a black-and- white Compostable label that ensures they will decompose. These bags break down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass, and leave no toxic residue.

Sounds magical, right?

There's a catch. Compostable bags will break down readily in the right conditions. Unfortunately, the right conditions do not exist in most of our landfills, which lack air, moisture and sunlight.

Your best option is to reduce the waste leaving your home, hence reducing your reliance on bags to haul the stuff to the curb! No harm in stopping your waste collector on garbage day (or contacting your city) to ask what they recommend. Now that many cities rely on incineration, we don't want to be burning plastic!

Read more