Nobody wants a gooey, messy kitchen compost caddy. Compost bags will prevent that problem.
But what waste bags are the best? Is there a difference between biodegradable and compostable? And do they actually break down in your compost pile or not?
I’ll clear up all these questions for you! We’re going to explore the compost liners that are available right now. Some are meant for a municipal compost collector, others are for home gardeners. But you’ll find the right one for your needs by the time we’re through!
|Best OverallBioBag Compostable BagsBest Overall||Check Amazon Price|
|Sturdy MaterialBag-To-Nature Compostable LinersSturdy Material||Check Amazon Price|
|Good For Worm BinsOggi Eco-Liner Compost Pail LinersGood For Worm Bins||Check Amazon Price|
|Multiple SizesSecond Nature BagsMultiple Sizes||Check Amazon Price|
|Heavy DutyUnni Compostable BagsHeavy Duty||Check Amazon Price|
|Commercially CompostableNorPro 100% Compostable BagsCommercially Compostable||Check Amazon Price|
The 6 Best Compost Bags For Your Kitchen
1. BioBag Compostable Bags
- Contains 100 compostable food scrap bags,16.9...
- Home compostable and are compatible with a...
- Our Food Scrap Bags securely line and fit most...
I have to give high marks to BioBag compostable bags. They were some of the first on the market, and are still my personal favorite.
First off, they’re constructed of plant starches, vegetable oils, and compostable polymers. They’re designed in a way that enables them to break down in both home and industrial composting.
In the first place, they’re just good compost pail bags. These waste bags are gathered at the bottom to seal them. This directs the compost towards the center of the pail and allows for a more complete fill of your bin. And they’re sturdy, comparable in strength to plastic bags.
Very few manufacturers take the time to have their waste bags BPI certified. These are certified compostable bags in both America and Europe as compostable. They also meet OK Compost HOME requirements.
I’m not going to claim that these will last in the kitchen bin for weeks and weeks as you slowly collect plant based materials. They won’t. But if you take them to the pile often, you’ll find that these are a great option for you.
2. Bag-To-Nature Compostable Liners
- Extra stength prevents leakage
- No need to double bag
- Formulated for accelerated breakdown
Need something a little bit sturdier? Bag-To-Nature compost waste bags are designed for municipal composting. With these, you collect your kitchen waste as normal. Once you’ve gotten your bin filled, pull this out and tie the corners, and drop it in the municipal bin.
Because these are heavier in weight, they don’t break down as fast. They’re really not meant for home composting, although they can be. It’ll take a whole lot longer than thinner bags would, though!
If you’re in a community that has a municipal compost collection system, these are perfect. They’ll put the entire bag and its contents straight through the hot compost process.
3. Oggi Eco-Liner Compost Pail Liners
- COMPOST: Compostable bags hold kitchen food scraps...
- LINERS: Compostable liners designed to fit most...
- FRESH: Eco-liners help to maintain the cleanliness...
Extremely thin, the Oggi compost bin bags are made out of cornstarch. And yet they still do well in most typical usage.
The biggest drawback of these is that you can’t leave them in the bin for too long. The cornstarch will start to slowly melt when exposed to moisture. You’ll need to tote them out to the bin often.
On the flip side of these, they do in fact break down in most worm bins. It’ll take a while before the worms take notice and start to nibble on the bag itself, but it will happen!
If you’re using Oggi bags for your worm bin, be sure to puncture the bag once it’s in the bin for good worm access. Leave the top open as well. It may be there for a while, so be prepared for that. You may have to screen out bags and bag pieces from finished compost for a while.
4. Second Nature Bags
- 10 LITRE capacity; 41 cm wide x 43 cm tall; best...
- 100% CERTIFIED COMPOSTABLE in Canada, the US,...
- STRONG AND DEPENDABLE, our premium bags are made...
Are you trying to bring home coffee grounds from the office? Looking for an option that’ll hold up long enough to get it home without making too much of a mess?
Second Nature compost bags are heavy-duty. They’re guaranteed to break down in roughly 26 weeks, so they’ll be around for a bit. If they’re in a hot compost pile, they’ll break down quicker.
But those of us who want to be eco-friendly at work as well as at home are going to love these bags. They’re sturdy, constructed of a mix of sugar cane and other plant fibers, and worth your money.
5. Unni Compostable Bags
- 2.6 Gallon / 9.84 Liter capacity; Size: 16.3 in x...
- CERTIFIED COMPOSTABLE IN U.S. & EUROPE: Certified...
- HIGHEST BIOBASED CONTENT: UNNI Compostable Bags...
Much like the BioBags, the Unni compostable bags are also certified compostable. They’re also rated for home composting, which makes them great for gardeners.
Slightly heavier than BioBags, the Unni bags are going to decompose a bit slower. The upside to this is that they’re a bit sturdier, but only slightly.
One of my favorite parts of Unni’s bags is that they offer larger sizes. If you’re looking for a temporary storage solution for leaves in the fall, this may be exactly what you need. They’ll eventually break down with the leaves, and it all becomes compost in the end!
6. NorPro 100% Compostable Bags
- Each bag is 6 liters, .65 mil, measures 14" x 16"...
- Ideal Size for Compost Bin Capacity is suitable...
- Our trash Bags securely line and fit most kitchen...
NorPro compost bags have one major downfall. In their printed material, they state their bags aren’t suitable for backyard composting. They’re meant to be food storage for industrial-composting only.
They’re lighter-weight than other industrial compost bags. It’s best if they’re used for smaller batches of compost. The bright side to these is that they’re often available in many supermarkets. If you can’t order compostable bags online, this can be a real benefit.
I would recommend pretty much any other bag I’ve covered today before I’d recommend these. Beggars can’t be choosers, though — and these are still far better than plastic bags. If you’re unable to get any of the others, these will work for you.
What Is A Compost Bag?
Simply stated, a compost bin liner or bag is used to line your countertop compost bin.
But not all are created equal. For instance, you wouldn’t want to use normal plastic bags for food storage, as these don’t decompose. They’ll need to be thrown away.
While some bins have inner liner pails, not all do. And if you’re squeamish about decomposing veggies, you won’t want to scrape out the inside of your bin.
Manufacturers have stepped in with bin liners as a sustainable alternative. It’s quick and easy to remove one of these and toss it into your tumbler composter or compost pile.
There are other forms of bags than just compost bin sized! Compostable trash bags are starting to become more popular. So are biodegradable trash bags. Even compostable dog poop bags are available. But for today, we’re sticking with the ones that go in the kitchen bin.
Do You Need Compost Bags?
First off, are you composting in a countertop system or sending your compost to a municipal system? If the answer to that question is no, then most likely you won’t need compost bags. If you are composting in a bin in your back yard, you can simply collect the compost in a bowl or plastic container and throw it in your pile as needed.
Compost bags are best used when you are composting in a countertop system, or sending your compost to a municipal waste facility. In both of these settings the plant based material the bags are made of can be easily broken down. The conditions in a home compost pile or bin don’t break the bags down as quickly.
However, if you don’t mind waiting you can certainly add these to your compost bin or pile, but don’t put bags that haven’t broken down into your garden. You may opt to use compostable trash bags if you aren’t using a kitchen bin.
Biodegradable or Compostable: What’s The Difference?
There’s a wide variety of eco-friendly bags available now. So what’s the difference between them? Some are biodegradable, others are compostable. Isn’t that the same?
Biodegradable means that it will, in time, break down and compost in a landfill situation. It’ll take a while, but eventually it’ll become soil. These are usually best used to hold stuff you’re placing in the trash bin.
In contrast, compostable means that it breaks down fast in certain conditions. Usually, these conditions require an industrial composting facility. But there are variations which are meant for home composting use. See, compostable trash bags, for instance.
So which is better for the home composter? It depends on the bag and what it’s constructed from. Most bags made of cornstarch or plant fibers will break down in home composting. It may take longer than you expect, so be prepared for that. A hot pile speeds the process up.
As a general rule, stick with compostable bags or compostable trash bags for home use, and biodegradable ones for your trash company. Both are better alternatives to standard plastic bags, but only a few break down in your compost pile.
Limitations Of Compost Bin Bags
These bags aren’t without their limitations, though. Let’s talk about those!
Two things decompose compost bags quickly: moisture, and heat. While it’s unlikely that your kitchen waste will heat up before you take it to the compost pile, it can happen. Plus, fruit and veggie food waste may be moist.
You’ll need to swap out your compost liner bag or compostable trash bags regularly to prevent it from becoming weak and tearing. Most people will change it out 2-3 times a week, depending on the amount of organic waste. If you generate kitchen scraps and food waste quickly, it may be even more often.
One of the biggest issues that those with compost home bins have discovered is that tying off the bag is a no-no. Like a plastic bag, it’s meant to keep food scraps inside. Unfortunately, it can also prevent microbial life from getting in if it’s tied tightly. It’ll likely take longer to break down if you tie your compostable trash bags or kitchen bags, and this can deter the nature of these bags as renewable resources.
To prevent that, I recommend leaving the bag open when you take it out of the compost home bin and you’re adding it to the pile. Some go as far as dumping out the bag and then adding the bag to the pile, too. You can also rip the side of the bag to allow exposure to the air.
Most food waste is green waste, and without browns, organic waste doesn’t evenly decompose. That’s another excellent reason to rip open your bag… it allows intermingling of browns and greens.
One big failing: you usually don’t want to add these to your worm farm. While they won’t hurt the worms, it will take a long time for the bacterial and microbial life in the bin to break down the bags compared to your food scraps and brown matter. The worms won’t show interest in them until they’re already falling apart.
Finally, some compost bags and compostable trash bags still have a tendency to leak moisture. Place a couple paper towels in the bottom of your bin to soak up any condensation or drips from food scraps. You can then add those to the compost when you take the bag out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are compost bags worth it?
A: If you are composting in a countertop container, or sending your food waste away to a municipal compost collector, definitely. As long as you aren’t using uncomposted waste bags when you apply compost to your garden, they should be fine in a compost pile or bin.
Q: What bags to put compost in?
A: We recommend the BioBag Compostable Bags listed above. They’re sturdy and made of plant based materials that break down easily.
Q: Why are compostable bags not allowed?
A: Some municipalities have banned them as they cause issues in waste collection systems. Outside of compost facilities, one compost bag placed in a recycling bin can contaminate a collection of recyclables.
Q: What are the cons of compostable bags?
A: They aren’t suited to every compost pile, and every compost system. They also may not break down as quickly as you need them to.
Q: How often do you change compost bags?
A: Change them every couple of days.
Q: Can you compost in a Ziploc bag?
A: While you can use a Ziploc in place of a compost bag, do not attempt to compost it. It will not break down. Compostable trash bags or waste bags are a better choice, though.
Q: Should I put compost in plastic bag?
A: You can, but don’t try to compost plastic bags. If you run out of compost bags or waste bags, a paper bag is a better substitute for your food scraps than plastic bags.
Q: Which is better biodegradable or compostable?
A: Compostable bags have a degradation process that is much faster, and they’re made of plant based materials that don’t harm the surrounding environment like biodegradable bags can. Compostable bags are kind of renewable resources in that way.