Every year, millions of tons of waste get buried in our soils. However, through recycling and other means, these numbers can be significantly reduced to a minimum. Little do most people know, the most commonly disposed of items can be bought biodegradable. Biodegradable means that when the item is thrown away, it will be decomposed quickly by bacteria or other living organisms. Regular plastic items can take over 1000 years to decompose. Some of the biodegradable items decompose in as little as 30 days! Now that’s a huge difference. I think it’s imperative that we support these companies who design their products with the environment and our earth in mind. We can replace a lot of the items that we use with biodegradable or compostable ones.
1. Biodegradable Dog Waste (Poop) Bags
If you walk your dogs, and you pick up after them, you know how many plastic bags you waste. Almost none of it is ever recycled. Well here’s a way to change that. A company from Canada, Earth Rated, produced biodegradable “poop bags.” Scientists estimate that plastic can take 1000 years to decompose or more! However, Earth Rated dog waste bags are made from renewable resources and dissolve in approximately 40 days! Unbelievable. To sweeten this deal, Amazon is selling them for just 4 cents a piece! 900 for $35.
Get them here.
2. Biodegradable Kitchen Trash Bags
Naturally, since we can make dog waste bags, we can use the same process to make kitchen trash bags! These bags, made by Indaco Manufacturing leave no harmful residue after decomposing. They are compostable, which is very similar to biodegradable, except they benefit the soil after they dissolve. They are sturdy, but if you are expecting something extremely hefty, then these may not be for you. They may break occasionally, so they do require some minimal care. They are Biodegradable Plastics Institute (BPI) certified.
Get them here.
3. Biodegradable Baby Diapers
Every year, about 27 million diapers are buried in the landfills. That’s just in the United States alone. That represents 4 million tons of waste. But luckily there is a solution. gDiapers produces a diaper that can be either flushed, composted or tossed. If these disposable inserts are home composted, they can break down in 50-150 days. They are only 42 cents a piece!
Get them here.
4. Biodegradable Sneakers
How many sneakers have you thrown away in your lifetime? Maybe because it had holes, or you simply got tired of them. Well, now you can feel good about changing sneakers. As several companies have developed biodegradable sneakers which decompose in the soil! While they are still a relatively new concept, it’s worth giving it a shot. OAT shoes, for example, promote their shoes to be later grown into trees. Their shoes contain seeds and instructions inside the shoe, which you can use to plant a tree inside your shoes! The shoes will decompose over time. An amazing concept indeed. Although they have some flaws (as any shoe does), it’s still a new concept, but they are quite sturdy and can take daily wear.
Here’s a link to the OAT website: http://www.oatshoes.com
Here are some other sneaker alternatives (click on the picture for more info)
5. Biodegradable Vacuum Bags
Vacuuming produces way more waste than it should. Tons of vacuum bags are simply thrown away without being recycled. A company called Janitized produces biodegradable paper vacuum bags. They are designed to fit the majority of the major vacuuming brands.
Get them here, and see if they have one for your vacuum.
6. Biodegradable Watches
I bet you didn’t see this one coming! Biodegradable watches do exist. While they don’t decompose 100%, the majority of the watch does decompose. What do most people do when their watch breaks? Throw it out! A lot of watches end up in landfills beneath our feet. The company Sprout came up with an awesome solution. It uses earth friendly, biodegradable materials to produce its watches. So while it can take all the abuse of a normal watch, in a composite environment the watch will biodegrade. Sprout uses corn resin (99% biodegradable!), organic cotton, bamboo, mercury-free batteries, cork and similar materials. They have a wide variety of styles available at very affordable prices. Obviously, it is not the perfect solution just yet, but it’s a lot better than the average watch which usually doesn’t get recycled and never decomposes.
Check out the various watches here.
7. Biodegradable Paper Straws
Another product that we use a lot of is straws! Nearly all the straws are made of plastic, and only a small percentage gets recycled every year. A company called Kikkerland produces straws that are made from paper and are biodegradable. They look like candy canes and do the job. However, do consider the fact that they are paper and that they will disintegrate very quickly. Also, the paper is not a sustainable resource as it’s made from trees, which take many years to grow. A better solution would be to start recycling any plastic straws that you currently use or simply drink out of the glass.
You can get the straws here.
So just be aware that eco-friendly solutions do exist. Next time you are buying a product, choose the most efficient and eco-friendly products. Brands that promote and enforce a clean environment. Even if you have no concern for the environment whatsoever, keep in mind that the more efficient the product is, the more money it will save you. However, everything comes back a full cycle. The products and brands that are not environment-friendly come back to haunt you as polluted air and environment. Every breath that you take is as clean as you make it. But don’t go out there and buy anything that says it’s eco-friendly or biodegradable. Read about the product and company in depth. Some companies use tricky marketing to get your dollars.