As mentioned in a previous entry, I bought a box of Biobag kitchen trashbags and I'm writing now of my results.
Biobag are trash bags made from the biodegradable material Mater-Bi. (I have no idea what Mater-Bi is, nor does the website explain this mystery material) The website claims the bags biodegrade within 2 weeks if placed in an open landfill, but will take longer to decompose in those landfills that use an anaerobic method of handling their waste.
As a side note, landfill companies use a variety of techniques in managing garbage. A common method is placing a plastic liner under the landfill site to slow wastes leaching into the soil and underlying river systems or aquafiers that would otherwise pollute the water. However the EPA has stated this method of waste management will "ultimately fail"while the landfill site remains a threat for "thousands of years". In other words, the liners only delay, not prevent, the leaching of pollution into our water systems. Another waste management technique currently under study are Bioreactor Landfills. According to the Waste Management website, A Bioreactor landfill is a waste treatment landfill with technology that accelerates the decomposition of organic wastes in a landfill. This is accomplished by controlling the addition and removal of moisture from the waste mass, the collection and extraction of landfill gas, and in some instances the addition of air.
But I'm getting off track. For the last week or so, I put the Biobags to use. The website claims the bags to be sturdy, but I found them flimsy and ripped at least two unused bags in the process of tearing a new trashbag off the roll. Biobag claimed their kitchen trashbags to be strong enough to hold paper, food and other biodegradable waste items in addition to outdoor waste. I had no complaints about the durability of the bags in the kitchen, though I would be reluctant to place heavy duty trash inside the bags. The bags ripped like tissue when filled with an estimated 5-10 pounds of used cat litter. But the website did not claim their bags would withstand the rigors of cat poo. In my opinion, the Biobags are best for those people who are on the light side of trash tossing...ie, those people who throw away more wrappers and non-recyclable paper products than say those who do not necessarily recycle all their products and tend to fill their garbage bags until they can't lift it out of the trashcan.
I think Biobag is a pioneer product for trashbags and hope advances in technology and experimentation will allow the company to improve their product and encourage other companies to create their own version of biodegradable bags. But honestly, I will not buy another box of these trashbags. It pains me to state that fact, but the bags are expensive and using multiple bags for one job defeats the purpose of the product.
I would like to try a few of the Seventh Generation products, beginning with the trash bags, paper towels and laundry detergent. Their items are a bit pricey but I'm hopeful, because the products are beginning to leak into the mainstream retail world.