Waste Management, 33(6) 2013, 1381–1389
Comparison of compostable bags and aerated bins with conventional storage systems to collect the organic fraction of municipal solid waste from homes. A Catalonia case study

Belén Puyuelo, Joan Colón, Patrícia Martín, Antoni Sánchez


The separation of biowaste at home is key to improving, facilitating and reducing the operational costs of the treatment of organic municipal waste. The conventional method of collecting such waste and separating it at home is usually done by using a sealed bin with a plastic bag. The use of modern compostable bags is starting to be implemented in some European countries. These compostable bags are made of biodegradable polymers, often from renewable sources. In addition to compostable bags, a new model of bin is also promoted that has a perforated surface that, together with the compostable bag, makes the so-called “aerated system”. In this study, different combinations of home collection systems have been systematically studied in the laboratory and at home. The results obtained quantitatively demonstrate that the aerated bin and compostable bag system combination is effective at improving the collection of biowaste without significant gaseous emissions and preparing the organic waste for further composting as concluded from the respiration indices. In terms of weight loss, temperature, gas emissions, respiration index and organic matter reduction, the best results were achieved with the aerated system. At the same time, a qualitative study of bin and bag combinations was carried in 100 homes in which more than 80% of the families participating preferred the aerated system.