We typically bring our hemp shopping bags with us to the grocery store with us so plastic bags don’t overrun our kitchen. But, we do use plastic grocery bags as trash sacks so we like to have a small supply on hand.
One thing we noticed the first time that we shopped at the Disco was that the shopping bags are labeled as being biodegradable. So are the plastic bags at Devoto (one of the other major grocery store chains in Uruguay).
We had never seen that in the States before, so we were interested by it. We checked out the website listed on the bags. Apparently this company makes an additive that makes conventional plastic products biodegradable.
Small amounts of the additive are combined with the plastic during the manufacturing process to allow plastic products such as polyethylene carrier bags to biodegrade in 24-36 months.
We thought it was very cool that a small country like Uruguay is using biodegradable plastic bags, when the major chains in the US still aren’t (as far as we know).
I bought a cubic meter of ‘tierra’ for our garden several months ago (51 plastic bags), and decided the other day to make it into a pile, since I haven’t figured out the garden yet. To my surprise, most of the bags were in a state of decomposition; some I couldn’t even turn over to dump the dirt out because they broke apart.
On the other hand, rendering the plastic into tiny bits makes me think of turning a litter problem into a toxic waste problem – I haven’t looked further into that.
Yes, the bags disintegrate within a few weeks or months! If you plan to use them for anything, use them quickly.