Product Review: BioBag

What: BioBag

It's been almost a year since I started on this zero waste journey. We still have many items that I am trying to finish before I switch to more sustainable alternatives or just not replace them at all. Despite our efforts to refuse and reduce, we do still create trash. Our worm compost bin is apartment size and does not necessarily go through all of the food waste we generate. My husband and I don't eat lots of grains so we generate lots of vegetable and meat waste. We are also still finishing off a Costco box of garbage bags. The good news it that we only generate one bag of trash a week plus recycling. As we are nearing our box of bags, I wanted to prepare myself to look for an alternative. I found BioBag as a potential solution. 

Since I still have probably a few months before we completely switch, I contacted the company to get some samples and they sent us a 3 gallon and an 11 gallon set of their bags. I went to test the tag to make sure it would be what I wanted to use.  

My testing is not that scientific and involved tools found in any apartment. No special heating or industrial/commercial equipment was used.

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Regular Use Test

I filled the bag with standard household trash. Mostly organic materials during the week. The bag lined a ceramic canister without any air circulation. The air temperature was around 75-80 degrees during the time I had the bag in the can. After one week, the bag was already decomposing, ripping at the bottom. At around this time, gnats had started to form. My husband was not too happy, but I continued with the testing. I wrapped it in another BioBag and this time just left it outside with air circulation. The bag decomposition was slower, but definitely still getting air as you can see new gnat eggs forming. A little gross I know, but all for science right?

Bag decomposing after 1 week lining a cannister without air circulation.

Two bags wrapped together.  Slow decomposition with air circulation.

 

Burn Test

  • I did a quick burn test with the 3 gallon bag.  No heavy fumes.  It didn't even smell like I was burning anything.  The flame burned quickly and there were no residues.  I used a regular match to light it on fire and used around 4 matches to completely burn almost 98% of the bag in less than 5 minutes.

End result of burning (side view)

End result of burning (inside view)

 

Vermi Compost

This bag does not compost in a worm bin. I left a 3 gallon bag in there and it remains intact after 3 months. Here's why? Worms don't sense this as organic material yet, it's too large and must be broken down further.

 

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BioBag Properies

  • Composition (from packaging)
    • Starches from renewable, GMO Free crops. 
  • Product Packaging
    • Comes in a recyclable paper box.
  • Cost
    • Around $11 for 2 fl. oz.  Definitely pricey, but you are exchanging it for the standard product that is made of plastic and of artificial ingredients.
  • Where to Buy
    • Select grocery stores such as Wholefoods, Target, Acme and Costco.
    • On Amazon
  • Shipping Packaging
    • I received this directly from the company and it came in a USPS recyclable cardboard box
  • Made In
    • Manufactured in the USA with resin sourced from Italy as there is "no compostable resin" supplier in America that can guarantee it's GMO Free
  • Certifications
    • Certified by Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI)
    • Meets ASTM D6400 which is Standard Specification for Labeling of Plastics Designed to be Aerobically Composted in Municipal or Industrial Facilities
    • BioBag 3 Gallon Bags are Home Compost Certified from OK Compost, a European organizations that verifies composting.  This product will biodegrade in a home garden compost.
 

What's the Difference Between Biodegradable and Compostable Anyways?

Biodegradable refers to the ability of a substance to break down into small enough parts so that microorganisms can consume it. Given enough time, all products eventually biodegrade, but plastics for example take much longer. Since the production of plastic, there has been no evidence that plastic completely disappears back into our soil or waters which is why you will see many animals ingesting small plastic pieces.

Compostable refers to the ability of a microbes to break down materials. A compost requires the right level of heat, water and oxygen to support microbes and support the breakdown. Products that compost leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue and generally help improve the soil.

 

Verdict

I'll be using this product once we run out of regular plastic bags to supplement our composting and recycling effort. Though the goal is to not need this bag at all, at least these bags decompose over time especially in heated environments.

 

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