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When I started trying to reduce my family's plastic use, I ran smack into these two problems. We live in a rural area and have mice, and lost many things to cardboard storage. We eventually got cats, which helped enormously, but it's been hard to get away from large plastic storage bins.
And does anyone have bright ideas about plastic garbage bags? Our garbage must be bagged, we do compost, but paper bags don't really cut it for a busy family of four.
Cynthia, Since you're in a rural area, there may be farms with livestock near you. These may be a source of grain bags, which may be woven plastic or multilayered paper – very sturdy, for holding 50 lb. of grain. You could ask for those and use then as garbage bin liners. The farmers probably go through a lot of these and don't have use for them once they're empty.
Also, you can buy metal cans with lids instead of plastic storage bins. Our farm supply store carries them.
Regarding plastic storage bins we found mice became very adept at eating through the plastic! Galvanized steel is a viable option, though much more expensive. We also have a metal cabinet and trunk which have worked well.
Plastic garbage bags: if you have to bag, Biobags/other BPI certified bags, might be an option. Once you begin doing a lot of composting, you'll have very little wet garbage, minimizing the need for waterproof bagging. As you probably know, though, composting meat products are irresistible to rodents.
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