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Environmentally-friendly plastic bags are a type of bag that is biodegradable, and will break down generally in a few months in a compost bin, rather than over thousands of years in a landfill. They are often made from materials such as corn starch, which decompose much more easily. Some heavier weighted environmentally-friendly plastic bags may be reused multiple times to bring items home from the grocery store, such as the somewhat more popular cloth bags that are now produced. When used properly, these eco-friendly bags can be beneficial to the environment, but it is important not to simply throw them in the trash after use.
In order for environmentally-friendly plastic bags to break down, they require light and air. Simply throwing them in the trash where they will be taken to a landfill likely means they will be covered with pounds of other trash and might never degrade, much like regular plastic bags. It is also possible for them to find their way into rivers and oceans and potentially harm wildlife, also just like regular plastic bags. People who use environmentally-friendly plastic bags should be prepared to compost them in order for the bags to actually break down and not contribute to the amount of trash already on the planet.
There are many instructions to be found online for creating a home compost system. It is easy and can even be done on a countertop, and is a great way to use food scraps and yard clippings to create a natural fertilizer for a garden. Bags that are biodegradable can be added to a compost bin, where they will break down and be truly environmentally friendly. One thing to keep in mind is that biodegradable, environmentally-friendly plastic bags are often sold to pick up pet waste.
Again, these pet waste bags should not simply be thrown in the trash, but they also should not be added to a regular compost. It is possible to create a separate compost system just for these bags to allow them to degrade and return to the soil. This compost should not be used in a garden for fertilizer, but it is an eco-friendly way to dispose of pet waste.
Other types of environmentally-friendly plastic bags might not be biodegradable like the ones mentioned above. These bags might just be made of heavier weight plastic, often with sturdy reinforced handles. These may be used repeatedly to bring groceries home without needing to use the many plastic bags given out in stores. When these are thrown away, however, they will still contribute to the amount of landfill waste on the planet.