Are biodegradeable compost bags safe?

Should we be using the biodegradeable bags in our own compost which we would eventually use on our vegetable patch? Do the bi products harm the water course?


  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,020

    Biodegradable plastic?

    It's in my mind that they break up but they never break down. I don't know if this is still true. Plastic is a product of the oil industry and not something I would put on my compost heap

  • Do you mean the biodegradable bags that you purchase to contain your food waste ?  If so, I believe these bags are subject to heat treatment within the " turn waste food into heat" system which some local councils have adopted.

    It is unlikely that a home compost bin will be able to generate the conditions needed to break down the bags.

    Your local water authority will be able to advise you on pollution issues.

    Last edited: 26 January 2017 17:01:32

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 21,265

    Nigel Colburn ( I think ) summed it up nicely in the RHS Garden magazine. 

    "they're supposed to rot down but if always end up pulling them out of the bins which is like fishing a dead body from a canal using a boat hook"

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,306

    I think they're supposed to be made from corn starch, not plastic, and therefore ought to break down - but perhaps they need more efficient composting than a home bin provides, to break down.

    I put them in my compost bin for a year or so after we came here, together with tea bags.  I'm still removing bits of both from my veg patch ten years later.  Now I empty out my tea bags and put the "outers" in the black bin, which is where the "biodegradable" compost bags go too, after I've carried the veg rubbish out to the compost bin in them.

    Some teabags are made entirely of paper, but others have some polypropylene in, I believe.  I can't tell which is which... until they reappear in the veg beds.

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Our Council asks people not to use bio-degradable bags because they will contaminate a whole load.  Instead we use paper bags made for the purpose or line the waste food caddy with newspaper.

  • I think it depends on your local authority.  Those with the capability of dealing with the bio degradable bags sold specifically for food waste will accept these and be able to deal with them in their new treatment plants.

    If in doubt, check with your local Waste Dept.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Most Councils put the information you need in their website.  It makes interesting reading.

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