My Solution to Garbage Bags....

is not about developing a bio-based or recycled plastic bag.

My solution is to stop using big garbage bags and just put it into a garbage bin.

And I just suggested it to my wife and her response was...

"ugh... that sounds like a lot of work... I just woke up Steve, can we talk about this later?"

But here's what the City or Toronto says about garbage collection:

Each bin/bag/item cannot weigh more than 20 kg (44 lbs) or it will not be collected. Ties/bungee cords must be completely removed before collection. All items must fit in the appropriate bins and the lids must closed for collection.

Do you see ANYTHING on that list that requires you to use a garbage bag?

I don't use a bag for my recycling and I used to put my compost in a bin without a bag and that could be messy, but manageable.

So why do we need garbage bags?

I know some municipalities require residents to use specifically coloured bags, but I don't think that's the norm.  

Of course there will be times when a garbage bag is necessary, but I think most of the time it's not.

Maybe you've already figured this out, but it's a novel concept for me, and I'm guessing 95% of residents in North America... 

So what do you think, this New Year, can we start the no garbage bag revolution?

Are you with me????  And will you offer me a place to stay if my wife boots me out for taking on yet another planet saving project?


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  • NYC just started a compost program where you drop your bag of compost into an app-controlled trash (compost) can — WHICH IS LINED WITH A THICK PLASTIC BAG. I was so happy about the expanded composting, so sad when I saw them picking up the compost.

    Aari on
  • I try not to use garbage bags as well. I use the green home compostable bags in my garbage can and empty it into the large garbage can. Once the bag starts to get dirty I place it in a bucket to shred into small pieces and home compost it. It’s more work for me to do it this way, but it makes me feel better that I’m not contributing to the plastic issue. I spend more money on compostable or biodegradable products but at the end it’s worth it. I don’t use clay cat litter and I use my own cotton grocery bags. I also buy as much grocery products in glass as I can so I can recycle. I’m all in for products with no plastic so I appreciate Etee! I’m looking forward to more plastic free products from your company!

    Nancy Fouts on
  • Your wife ought to be used to you by now, but quit waking her up!

    The trash company we use requests all trash be put in trash bags that go into the large, wheeled, lidded trash can we “rent” from them. It’s called a “toter.” Some of their trucks have the arm that grabs and dumps the cans, other trucks do not. I think bagging all the trash is to protect the trash men and women from coming into direct contact with the trash and garbage as much as possible. The toters are used in my area to keep animals from ripping the trash bags apart. You can’t just put out a trash bag.

    We don’t have recycling in my area. I drive 31 miles north, one way, to recycle all the plastic bottles the husband goes through. (Plus the few I generate). God forbid he use a reusable cup or bottle. He HAS to have his chocky milk in the pint bottles! Plus all the sports drinks he goes through. Two or three a day. You can’t find those in anything but plastic bottles.

    Part of that is due to his Rheumatoid Arthritis. Some days he just can’t eat, but he can drink his sports drinks and his protein shake things.

    Part of it is him being an obstinate, contrary, bull-headed, pain in my … neck.

    I’ve written to the companies to please put their drinks in aluminum cans, but they ignore me.

    I have tried to reduce plastic use in other areas as much as I can so far. A lot of this “green” stuff is very expensive. To BE green, you have to HAVE green (money), ya know?

    When I take the plastic bottles to be recycled (allegedly. I don’t actually trust the company that handles that), I haul them in plastic trash bags and dump them out of the bags. I then reuse the bags.

    For scooping out the cat litter, I buy biodegradable, vegetable-based bags for that. Which then go into the larger trash bags.

    I sort and store paper, junk mail, catalogs, etc., and haul them the 30 miles along with the plastic bottles.

    I have reusable grocery bags I take with me every time I go grocery shopping. Husband refuses to use them. So I store all those flimsy plastic bags he brings home and take them back to the grocery store to shove in their recycle bin.

    Metal food cans, etc., get washed out, stored, and hauled 10 miles the other way to the junk yard. 5 cents a pound for “number 2” steel. They take the cans in those clear recycle bags.

    Because the husband is a thorn in my side when it comes to recycling, I buy water in aluminum cans, since filtered tap water isn’t good enough for him. Those cans are stored until I have a bagful, then I take them to the junk yard, as well. 25 cents per pound for aluminum. They also take those in the clear recycle bags.

    Because the husband is a pain, we pay extra to the trash company for the huge toter can because I know as soon as I’m dead, all recycling will cease and he’ll need that huge toter trash can for all the trash that he will then generate.

    I also buy a few boxes from Terracycle to recycle some stuff. Terracycle recycles practically everything, but I just can’t afford it. Terracycle works by having separate boxes for different kinds of items. You buy the box. They ship it to you “free.” You fill the box with the particular item, then ship it back to them. The shipping is “free.”

    What’s needed are sturdy, strong trash bags that are truly biodegradable.

    What we really need, I think, are incinerators that can burn trash, cleanly, to somehow generate power. Not being an engineer or a scientist, I don’t know how that would work, but I’m pretty sure it could. I mean, “they” use nuclear fuel to boil water to make steam, which turns turbines, which make electricity. Why couldn’t you burn trash to boil water to make steam?

    Rickie Bansbach on
  • Unlined trash cans would be a health hazard as mentioned above. I have using my own reusable bags for Grocery shopping since they first became available. Recently I found a company in the US called “Bagups” which makes bio-degradable plastic bags which am now using. While they don’t have a chinch sack closer they can be tied shut so garbage is not loose. This was the best solution I could do given where I now live in Virginia where they recycle next nothing and have now composting programs.

    Steve on
  • I love this idea, and think there are some simple (even partial) steps. Like putting dry garbage into the trash bin without any outer bagging… in my area, mechanical arm bin pickup. Much of the nay-saying in other comments is about wet garbage creating smell. Perhaps separating wet from dry garbage is a simple start, and it means composting to the maximum efficiency. Even if very few bags are used, isn’t progress a good first step? I have found since beginning composting in our own yard, our kitchen garbage is significantly reduced and it is definitely doable for me to try this bagless method.

    Pam R on
  • As of a few years ago, I just started using empty cat litter bags or empty large cat food bags to put my garbage in before taking it out to the bin. Those large bags would also just end up in the garbage, so I decided to use them AS the garbage bags.

    Cindy W on
  • Since plastic bags are no longer available at grocery/drug stores, I use the paper bags always given with any purchase. I compost, so don’t have any “wet” trash. If I do I put it into the freezer and dispose of it on trash pick up night.
    My trash is minimal, so I can wait a week or 2 or 3 for garbage pick up. I vote for paper

    Susan Beale

    Susan Beale on
  • I concur with a majority of you. It blows my mind when people put their recycling in a plastic garbage bag!!

    Mahk on
  • As a child I remember using big metal trash cans that were filled without garbage bags. As I got older, along came the plastic bags. I agree that we should eliminate the plastic bags. I also agree with the comments above about trash blowing everywhere on trash days, sadly, there’s already enough trash blowing around as it is!:<(. I think paper bags might be a viable option and if the paper products were made of recycled paper and/or grown sustainably we may have the best possible option. I also think reducing consumption should be a goal along with composting which keeps trash to a minimum as well as cleaner and easier to handle with paper bags.

    Greg Thuotte on
  • We do everything we can to cut down on what has to go in the trash, and use biodegradable kitchen trash bags.

    Pat on

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