I recently read a Letter to the Editor in my local newspaper from a person who was outraged about the possibility of a ban on plastic shopping bags because it meant he’d have to buy plastic bags to line his rubbish bin, rather than reuse a shopping bag. So I thought I’d explain why you don’t need a plastic bin liner at all.

Let’s think about the reason people want to line their bin with a plastic bag. It’s to contain the wet stuff and make it easier to clean the bin, right? What if I told you there were some easy ways to eliminate the wet stuff from your bin? Crazy idea but it’s possible.

Now, let’s think about what the wet stuff actually is. I’m thinking it could include:

  1. Food waste
  2. Other kitchen waste like old sponges and baking paper
  3. Tampons and pads
  4. Disposable nappies

The rest is recycled and a few items go to landfill but they’re not wet and don’t require a bin liner.

Okay, here’s how to deal with this wet stuff:

  1. Compost the food waste. Do this and you will reduce the volume in your bin by 40%. Bonus, you won’t have to take the bin out as often. There is a way to compost for every situation and you really should be doing it to reduce pressure on landfill sites and to reduce generation of greenhouse gases.
  2. Make sure you use biodegradable sponges, baking paper and other products so that you can add them to your compost too.
  3. Use reusable menstrual products, there’s quite a few modern options out there.
  4. Use reusable nappies and wipes (and biodegradable for extra points).

Yippee, not only can you feel great about not using plastic shopping bags but you’ve also significantly reduced your environmental footprint through excellent waste management practices in your home!

But if these steps are too big for you, just reuse something you already have in your rubbish bin like a bread bag (until you’ve eliminated those too), or use newspaper to wrap the wet stuff in or line the whole bin. Come on, it’s time to act.


48 thoughts

  1. Actually, the biggest problem is that the council demands that everything in your general waste bin is bagged and not loose to reduce the chance of rubbish flying away during the collection and littering the streets.

    However, when I saw this post I thought, she’s going to suggest cardboard boxes or paper bags. You could always use paper that is being trashed to wrap around waste. It would absorb any liquid (probably nearly as good as plastic bags) and if your waste is small anyway because your trying to reduce, it may do a good enough job. I wouldn’t go crazy and tie it up or anything…though you could…I would just roughly scrunch or fold as best I could.
    Other options would be to use paper/cardboard boxes of their small enough that has filled it’s purpose, fast food packaging.
    Although now I’ve said this I realise we are using things we could recycle, reuse or compost…clearly I need some ore practice.

    Anyway, it’s the councils making it impossible to walk away from the plastic bags. Though you’d be unfortunate to be spotted not using them

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is interesting. I haven’t had garbage collection for two years but I never knew it was a requirement to bag up your waste like that in all my other years. I would think if it’s okay for recycling it’s okay for the waste bin. Is it something that is enforceable or something simply recommended? I will ask my friends in waste management for advice too. I did suggest newspaper wrapping in the post, and I think that would work. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just got word from my council that they don’t require the rubbish to be in bags. That’s great news! There must be other councils like this – I hope. 😄


    1. You might not find sponges as such but you could try healthfood stores or homeware stores for biodegradable dish washing products. You could also knit a wash cloth from wool or some other compostable material. At the moment I’m using an old cotton tea towel that I cut up because I like to use up things I already have as much as possible. Hope that helps.


      1. At South Gippsland Shire we no longer require that everything in the garbage bin be in plastic bags. It is up to the resident.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’ve started cutting up old towels into rectangles and using these instead of dish cloths. The advantage is you can throw them in the wash and they come out beautifully clean. As they get raggier and raggier, they head down the line to become cloths to wash the car, clean the glass on the fireplace, etc., until they meet their final doom.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The website didn’t say what to do after scooping up the poop. Is it buried? Trown into the bin? Flushed down the loo?
      I would have no issue with burying except that I have no extra space on my land where I can bury things not fit for use with edible plants. I’m struggling enough to find room for a compost heap. Would love to hear your thoughts

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nola. This is relevant to my post before this too. I had someone tell me that the bin fills up before it composts…. Would be good to hear from someone who is successfully composting dog poo.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you replied to the paper with exactly these words. My blogger friend Celia has a great dishcloth pattern if anyone wants to be creative. I’ve started one but haven’t used it to be able to comment on it. https://figjamandlimecordial.com/2016/03/29/knitted-dishcloth-pattern/ She also has some info about them here https://figjamandlimecordial.com/2015/09/08/knitted-cotton-dishcloth/ Maybe share it if you think its suitable. I’m happy to knit one or 2 up for anyone if they proved the cotton!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love my knitted dishcloths. I knitted them myself but I used bamboo ‘fibre’ as I feel that it is grown and used with less chemical usage than cotton. They are terrific to use and wash up really well. Last for ages!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Who the heck wrote this? Reusable menstrual products?Are you joking? That’s fine for some women, especially if they don’t have access to tampons. However, I would never be okay with that.


    1. I’ve been using reusable pads for coming up ten years. Best thing Ive done in my life as period pain has vanished. It takes extra effort but it is better for health and saves money as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’ve been using washable/reusable pads for at least 20 years and it’s not gross at all. You simply rinse and wash as you would your underwear. If you have a very heavy flow it might not be ideal for you but there are other options out there such as cups etc. Back in the day, reusable was exactly how our foremothers had to deal with menstruation and while it might not have always been easy it was certainly commonplace.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What do you do with bones and meat scraps? my understanding is not to compost these. I still put these and fish bones/ shells in biodegradable bin liners and would like to know what others do

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there are compost options/products that do take meat etc (kobashi is the name that comes to mind) but I believe they can be expensive. As I have dogs, they help me deal with most of these items, though if bones have been cooked I use these for stock bases before throwing away. I figure they’ve had more than one use and will eventually breakdown in landfill.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I bury it or put it the compost. We have very little of this sort of waste so that helps with vermin control (which is the only reason not to include those items) but the reading I’ve done says you can also safely bury this sort of food waste 6inches deep and it will decompose quickly – 6 months I think. It’s also possible to make your compost vermin proof by adding a bottom to it if it sits on the ground. Hope that gives you some ideas to work with in your situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Have put waste meat and fish including bones for many years in my Bokashi bucket , a really easy way to compost, and nothing wrong with menstral washable pads, we had nothing else in the fifties. Iam giving a “eliminate waste in your home” presentation on Sunday 15thJune at 1:30 at 21Glenbrooke place Willow grove . Basic simply ways to live without plastic. Tel: :0429657247

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If people have a GREEN BIN (provided by my council for all garden cuttings & waste, how about popping the doggie poop into that and the bones also … ???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are not allowed to put food waste in your garden bin. I don’t know why. I assume its to do with how they deal with the waste or perhaps health and safety. Better you dig a deep hole in your garden


    1. Christine, Lemons too will compost well, if you have an efficient composting system such as I described a few minutes ago. Just don’t overload. Like the meat and the fat, it all gets eaten up by the grubs, fungus and bacteria in the compost. Get a pH kit if you are unsure and just add a touch of lime if you are putting a lot of lt in. In my big system, it all goes through, by the time you reach bin 3, all that is still breaking down is usually just eggshells, which usually take a few cycles and go eventually, or end up in the garden bed where they slowly break down. Smash them up really tiny if they bother you, I don’t waste the time or energy!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. No problem at all composting anything organic, as long as you do it well. I originally built a 3 bay one out of excess hardwood fencing when our fencers over-catered. After 15 years they finally became unusable and I replaced with 3 large ones for a major hardware chain. Both the old and the new took up about 3 square metres, each bay about a metre cube. Start with an inch or 2 of good soil, (Once the system is running, use the oldest compost.) I usually feed the compost ever weekend with all the food scraps. The only think I don’t put in is bones, although small fish bones will go in. Cover with more of the oldest compost, then a layer of grass clippings – never put them in your green bin, they are invaluable. Continue until all 3 bins are full, and you have a continuous system for the rest of your life. cover for the compost comes out of the bottom of the oldest bin, as does anything you want to add to garden beds, pots, etc because what you get out at the end is a rich, crumbly, dark soil mix.

    Feel free to add stuff like soil wetter, or slow release fertiliser,, etc, to improve this already fabulous mix. Just make sure that anything you add is covered with soil to keep off flies, and don’t add more that a thin covering of grass clippings on that, or it will tend to mat – too much starts to look like peat!

    A solid heap (wood or plastic) keeps out rats – I’ve never seen one, nor evidence like holes, disturbed compost or droppings. The wooden version was open at the top, so I put a bigger load of clippings on top for protection. the plastic version has a lid. You can add meat, you can add fat, just don’t overload one area – if for some reason I had a massive amount, I would probably compost a few extra layers. For those with less space, you can buy a single rotatable drum, which I believe would work but might fill up before everything is done. However, the ability to rotate it regularly would increase the aeration, so may work even better – someone else would need to comment.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t remember what led me to the page originally, but glad to see people interested. While the quick trip down from Sydney is via the Hume, my preference is always the NSW south coast then via the Gippsland. Was sad to see the Giant Worm disappear between trips with our first child (5 in 1993) and our second. Any idea when it closed?

        Liked by 1 person

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