Tuesday, November 6, 2007

No More...Garbage Bags

My dilemma is this: when I run out of plastic garbage bags, where am I going to put my trash?

I have three options right now:
  1. Continue to buy plastic garbage bags
  2. Buy biodegradable plastic bags, which will take many, many years to decompose in an airtight landfill
  3. Start vermiculture composting so that I can use paper bags for the garbage that doesn't go in the bin
So I'm not interested in options one and two, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to start composting inside my house. I mean, I have so many questions. Where will I keep the bin? How much work will it require to take care of the bin? Am I too lazy to do it?

I do want to compost, though. I guess I'm just scared.

Another quandary
In order to recycle in my Chicago ward, you have to put recyclable items into blue plastic bags. But I HAVE to recycle, so I guess that means I won't be able to totally avoid plastic garbage bags no matter what I do.

Fortunately, the city of Chicago is planning to adopt a new Blue Cart Program, but unfortunately, it's been delayed until July 2008. Once the program is in place in my neighborhood, I won't have to use blue plastic bags anymore. I can't wait.


Anonymous said...

Do you have to compost inside your house? Can you use a backyard composter? Since your landlords let you have a garden, wouldn't you be able to have a composter out there?

I'm not against worms; they're great. But I don't have them myself because I'm afraid to try and keep small creatures alive (which is why I don't have kids!) A composter is so much easier because you can ignore it for months and still get great compost from it.

I do encourage you to compost your food waste in some way. If you can get rid of the wet stuff from your garbage, you won't need plastic garbage bags, either petro- or bio-based.

Tree Hugger Outdoors said...

About the plastic bags for the recycling.

Is that that just for local pickup?

Most cities have a drop-off center where you sort the items into separate dumpster like containers yourself.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Yeah. I would definitely love to compost outside, but my neighborhood has a pretty big rat problem and I think my landlords would object. Actually, I'm about 99% sure they would object. But I guess I don't know too much about outdoor composting. Would it attract rats?

As for the worms, a few of my friends are worm composting and it seems to be going great for the one who went all out and spent the money on a pre-made bin. I'm hoping it will go well for me if I buy a pre-made bin (made of recycled plastic), too. I have to admit that I am a bit worried about keeping those worms alive and happy. We'll see...

sasha said...

Hey there!

We just switched to BioBags. (http://www.biobagsusa.com)

I'm not sure how long they take to biodegrade, but the company claims that they begin to biodegrade upon contact with the microbes in the soil. They are 100% corn.

I'm so glad you joined The Great Plastic Challenge! I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.

Radical Garbage Man said...

Vermiposting is way easy! Just make sure you make a bin that's big enough for your food scrap management needs. I made one by nesting two old Rubbermade bins together, but it's only about a square foot of area since I figured I wouldn't need any more. I've instead been sending excess scraps out to my friend's house in the country to add to her compost, so overestimate your needs, as the worm population will adjust itself to the food level.

As for Beth's concern about killing small creatures, I have trouble keeping houseplants alive and yet my worms are thriving on a mixture of veggie scraps, newspaper and neglect. In a fit of abition/guilt I sat down over the weekend to harvest compost and make fresh bedding. While sorting out the vermipost, I found at least three different sizes of worms and numerous egg cases, which I take to mean 4 generations at work. So if my black thumb can keep the little guys happy, anyone can!