How to Throw Away Your Trash Without Using Plastic Bags

How to Throw Away Your Trash Without Using Plastic Bags

How to Throw Away Your Trash Without Using Plastic Bags

Plastic pollution is a huge problem facing our planet. Many of us want to do our part to reduce plastic waste, starting with how we dispose of our trash. Here is an in-depth guide on how to throw away your trash without relying on plastic bags.

Why You Should Avoid Plastic Trash Bags

Plastic bags and trash liners are hugely wasteful and damaging to the environment. Here’s why it’s important to find plastic-free alternatives:

  • Most plastic bags are used only once before being disposed of. This is an incredibly wasteful use of resources.
  • It can take 500-1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. Plastic bags thrown in the trash end up in landfills where they may never break down.
  • Plastic bags easily become plastic pollution in the environment. They get swept into waterways and oceans where marine animals can mistake them for food.
  • There are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Much of this is from plastic bags and other single use plastics.
  • Plastic bags are made from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas. Avoiding them reduces dependence on fossil fuel extraction.
  • Even recyclable plastic bags are rarely actually recycled. The recycling rate for plastic bags and wrap is only 5%.

By refusing plastic trash bags, you can help reduce plastic waste and your environmental impact. Every plastic bag avoided makes a difference.

Alternative Trash Bag Options

The good news is there are many plastic-free options for collecting your trash and lining bins. Here are the top alternatives to plastic trash bags:

Reusable Bags

  • Invest in reusable cloth bags or baskets to collect trash around the house. Look for sturdy natural fabrics like cotton or canvas.
  • Cloth bags can be emptied into your main trash bin and reused over and over. With proper care, they can last for years.
  • Some reusable trash bags come in a convenient sack form with drawstring closures for easy carrying.

Paper Bags

  • Plain brown paper bags work perfectly fine as makeshift trash can liners. Reuse grocery bags or use paper lunch sacks.
  • Paper bags are compostable and biodegradable unlike plastic. Just be sure to empty any food scraps first before composting.
  • For a sturdier option, buy unbleached trash bags made of kraft paper. These are available online and at many grocery stores.

Bare Bins

  • For small trash bins, especially in bathrooms, go liner-free. The bin itself becomes the liner.
  • Use bins made of plastic, metal, ceramic or other hard materials that are easy to wipe clean after emptying.
  • Bins designated for dry, non-messy trash don’t necessarily need liners.

Taking Out the Trash Without Plastic Bags

Figuring out how to take out your trash without relying on plastic bags takes some adjustments. But there are solutions for every living situation:


  • Use lidded bins wheeled to the curb for trash and recycling pickup. No need for bags at all.
  • Designate durable reusable bins or barrels for storing trash outside, like at the side of the house.
  • Invest in compost bins to reduce trash volume. Much household waste can be composted instead of sent to landfills.

Apartment Dwellers

  • Check if your building has a trash chute or trash room where you can directly empty un-bagged trash.
  • Use a reusable bag or basket to transport trash downstairs to dumpsters. Bring it back upstairs empty.
  • Ask landlords about installing more sustainable waste disposal solutions like compost bins. Push for recycling infrastructure if lacking.

Public Trash Cans

  • Keep reusable bags in your car, purse, or backpack to hold trash when out and about until you find a bin.
  • Look for recycling bins whenever possible instead of landfill-bound trash cans.
  • Avoid creating trash in the first place by carrying reusables like handkerchiefs, water bottles, and takeaway containers.

With some creative thinking, it’s easy to take out the trash bag-free. And doing so significantly reduces the amount of plastic causing pollution in our local communities and environment. Collectively refusing plastic bags makes a tremendous global impact.