Biodegradable Plastic Trash Bags - Should you or shouldn’t you?

This article was written by a person who lives in Jackson County MI but I believe it applies to many communities.  Find out how your trash is handled and you will know if this applies to you or not.  The best solution is to recycle as many things as you can to avoid putting more and more into the landfills. 

Surprise! Don’t bother.
There is no sense in paying the higher cost if you live in Jackson County, MI . 
Biodegradable bags only degrade in a composting environment. Your trash never gets there. We have a county ordinance requiring all household trash to be burned in the County incinerator or as it is named in true Orwelian style, the “Resource Recovery Facility.”. If you have a trash service picking up your trash, that is where it goes. If you take your trash out to a landfill, they throw it in a dumpster and haul it to the incinerator. Biodegradable bags don’t burn any cleaner than regular plastic bags.
Even if we didn’t have the incinerator, these bags still wouldn’t do any good for the environment if 1) you are not sorting your trash and 2) there is no composting landfill in your area.
There are cities that have such programs. Householders are responsible for sorting trash into compostable and noncompostable, and then bagging appropriately. The trash haulers keep the bags separate and the landfills compost the appropriate trash.
 In Jackson, though, you might as well save your money.
There is debate as well whether the bags are a good ecological choice even in the ideal situation where they are used properly.  If I understand the science discussion correctly (a major assumption!) The plant-based biodegradable agents hold plastic particles together.  When a bag biodegrades, it leaves small particles of plastic behind.
Cindy Eby
Real Goods, the GreenGrocer, Inc
at Art 634 
634 N Mechanic Street
9am to 7pm M-F
9am to 4pm Sat