Eco-terrorist Bin Lina captured

It seems that there is no correct answer. Whatever is proposed, banned, substituted or recommended – someone can find an environmental downside. Kate Hall delves into bin liner issues in her latest column to cover the debate of paper bin liners versus plastic bin liners. Quote.

Now that plastic bags are banned from supermarkets (yay!), it seems we’re all freaking out about how we are going to line our bins. Paper bin liners are definitely making a comeback, and they’re often presented as the best eco-friendly bin liner alternative. Sorry to be a party pooper, but they aren’t the best for the environment either.

There’s a common myth floating around that paper bin liners will break down quickly, and leave users with a clean conscience. This is not the case.

Landfills are highly compacted spaces dug underground, with no air flow. For paper to break down, compost conditions are required. To put it simply, the right balance of carbon, and nitrogen.

Entire newspapers have been dug out of landfill 25 years later, still intact. Plus, if a paper bin liner does end up breaking down, the anaerobic activity means methane gas is released, which is even worse for our atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

It’s important we remember the purpose of a rubbish bin: to contain our trash. Why then, do we need yet another product inside the bin, to do the exact same thing? The best option is to have a ‘naked bin’ and go completely bin liner free. Simply wash your rubbish bin regularly, and enjoy the savings. End quote.


Now you and I know that neither methane nor carbon dioxide from human sources are going to make the slightest difference to the atmosphere or climate but that fact would not make it into a Stuff article, so we will let that pass.

There never seems to be a rational explanation from the landfill-haters why the fact that some things might not break down is a bad thing. We are told plastic bags might survive for a thousand years in a landfill. So?

Now we are told a newspaper can survive for 25 years. And?

What about the builders’ rubble that gets buried in a landfill? How many thousands of years will that last?

There are many ex-landfills that are now parks and reserves. Do the users of those parks really fret about the longevity of the trash beneath their feet?

And, if you are going ‘naked’ with your smelly bin, make sure you do not wash it with heated, soapy water as that uses energy and discharges detergents into the environment.

And better not use fresh water as we are told we our fresh water resources are in peril as well.

Or, simply, ‘Get a life.’