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What's better: trash compactor or reg. trash bags?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
We just moved into our new house a few weeks ago, and there is a trash compactor in the kitchen. I've never had a trash compactor, so I bought trash compactor bags so we could try it out. The bags are more expensive than regular trash bags ($15 for 44 bags) and are much thicker plastic. I was very pleased to see that, with all our recycling and composting efforts, our family of four uses up less than one trash-compactor bag in one week! I've only had to empty it once and we've been using it close to three weeks, and that includes unpacking and moving-in related extra trash.

But now I'm wondering: does the thicker plastic of the trash compactor bag negate any good that it does to compact our trash down to a smaller size? Am I suffering from delusions in thinking that compacting our trash to a much smaller size, yet incasing it in thicker plastic, is somehow beneficial to the environment? Would we be better off generating more bags of trash in thinner plastic bags?

Furthermore (and I realize this is more a frugality and finances question) do you think it is financially advantageous to buy these expensive bags rather than the cheaper bags that we would use a lot more of? I would guess that we used to fill a regular trash bag every other day.

The one good thing I can say is that we make fewer trips to the trash collection place than we would otherwise. (We can take our trash and recycling 3 miles down the road to the county trash collection area for FREE.) But since I make efforts to consolidate my errands, I wouldn't be driving there anyway unless I was already out for some other reason.

I'd love to hear your educated guesses regarding this conundrum.
post #2 of 5
Not sure about this but i found some "degradable" composting bags that you can buy there call "bag to nature" heres a site http://www.indaco.ca/bagtonature.php not sure if this helps.
post #3 of 5
Things that come to mind:

- I have a family of 4 (going on 5), and we barely fill one kitchen bag in a week, even if we do more processed food or stuff in any given week. But if you're filling a "regular" bag several times a week, and a compactor bag once a week, you should be able to figure out the cost-ratio equivalent to make that decision.
- You wouldn't be able to compact in a regular bag.
- It makes absolutely no difference to the future of your trash if it's encased in heavy plastic or light plastic. It's not going to decompose in any way, shape, or form. That said, we prefer to use the biodegradable bags, just on principal. (or is it principle? too lazy to look it up now)
- if I had a compactor, it would take me so long to fill it up, that I think it might smell bad (even though we compost everything).
- We have weekly trash pick-up, but our can rarely has more than a bag plus some random stuff in it, except on rare occasions.

--janis
post #4 of 5
Try using a regular bag. My parents were able to use regular bags with their compactor - but it was an older compactor and they only compacted once or twice per bag.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input!

Regular bag won't work. Even the compactor bags get a little torn here and there. But I'm still very pleased with how seldom I have to change the bag now. It is averaging once every 2 weeks.
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