Scroll to top

These compostable trash bags break down in weeks, not years

By some estimates, the average American household goes through 100 trash bags a year. That’s more 12 billion single-use plastic bombs across the country.

Enter HoldOn Bags. The Materials winner in Fast Company’s 2023 Innovation by Design Award, HoldOn has developed plant-based, home-compostable trash bags that start to break down in weeks and completely disintegrate in six months, with no micro-plastics left behind. The brand also has smaller compostable bags for food scraps, and compostable zip-seal bags. “We tried some of the compostable bags on the market and they quite literally were not holding on to your trash, which is part of the reason that we named the brand HoldOn,” explains Sheeva Sairafi, cofounder and president of HoldOn Bags.

The company launched as an e-commerce brand in May 2022, but is now also available on Amazon and Target. The bags are made up of three ingredients: PLA, which is made from renewable plant material and helps increase the stiffness and tensile strength of the bags; cornstarch, which helps the bags biodegrade; and PBAT, a biodegradable polymer that helps expedite the breakdown process once moisture is introduced. PBAT is still partly derived from petrochemicals, but Sairafi notes that it takes 60% less fossil fuel to produce HoldOn bags compared to your typical plastic trash bags.

The recipe took a year and a half to develop, with the drawstrings being the most challenging part. The final material ratio remains proprietary, but at 25 microns, or 0.98 millimeters, HoldOn bags are also thicker than the average compostable bag, which ranges between 15 to 20 microns. As for the drawstrings, the team landed on one extra ingredient—calcium carbonate—which makes the strings a bit stiffer and prevents them from breaking apart quickly.  

It’s worth noting that trash bags (even those made of compostable materials) still end up in landfills because of the contents they hold. There, the plant-based ingredients that make HoldOn Bags products are still bound to give off methane, but at least the bag will disintegrate. “Our whole focus is that bag, even in a landfill, is not going to stick around forever,” says Sairafi. “And if it gets blown off into the wind, it’s one less piece of plastic that’s going to be around for thousands of years sitting in a waterway somewhere.”

Original article:

Related posts