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Your vacuum bags make collecting the dirt, dust, and allergens in your household and putting it all in one place extremely easy. Plus, they’re simple to switch out and dispose of as soon as they get full. However, are you actually supposed to simply toss these bags in the waste bin, or is there a better way to get rid of them? There are actually several ways that you can properly dispose of vacuum cleaner bags, ensuring that the dust is properly discarded and not reintroduced back into your home. We’re going to take a look at how to properly dispose of vacuum bags, depending on the circumstance.

Disposing in the Garbage Bin


According to the vast majority of sources, it is perfectly acceptable to dispose of vacuum bags in your garbage bin, as it is difficult to both compost and recycle all of the contents that vacuum bags contain, including the bags’ materials themselves. However, there are exceptions to this rule, depending on what potentially harmful substances you have used your vacuum cleaner to clean up. tells us about why there are important exceptions to this rule:

“Note that you will need to take some extra steps if you’re disposing of filters contaminated with lead, mold or any other type of debris that may be toxic to you and your family. There are specific guidelines for cleaning lead-contaminated vacuum bags, so make sure that you’re closely following these instructions so that you’re not reintroducing any toxic or hazardous waste into the environment. If you’ve used your vacuum to sweep up hazardous materials, contact your local department of health and waste division for information on how to dispose.”

Can You Compost Vacuum Cleaner Dirt?

While household dust and dirt may seem like a natural enough substance to throw into your compost bin, this is actually not the case. In all likeliness, the dirt, debris, and dust that is contained in your vacuum cleaner bags is not 100% natural or eligible to be composted with the rest of your fruits, vegetables, and coffee grounds. explains why vacuum cleaner dirt is not an eligible candidate for your compost bin:

“Vacuum cleaner dirt is not compostable in the green cart because it can include non-compostable material that will not breakdown during the composting process and will contaminate the finished compost.”

Can You Reuse Vacuum Bags?

If you are not vacuuming up any potentially toxic or harmful substances, vacuum bags have the ability to be reused. Of course, you have to be willing to do the dirty work of emptying out your garbage bag and potentially making a mess, but this can be a great way to save money on repeatedly purchasing garbage bags. Garbage bags generally aren’t designed to last forever, so don’t expect to get more of a couple uses out of each bag.

Joe Kaye of tells us why vacuum bags have the potential to be reused:

“In the past, vacuum cleaner bags were made of cloth and could be reused by unzipping and emptying them. Today’s disposable thinking has led to disposable paper vacuum bags. I’ve figured out a simple way to reuse these paper bags. The bottom end of the bag is usually folded over a few times and glued shut. To reuse a bag, I carefully unroll the end, trying not to tear the bag. I then refold it and hold it closed with two or three spring clips. When the bag is full, I remove it carefully from the vacuum, remove the clips, empty the bag, reassemble and install. I’ve gotten years of weekly house cleaning use from just one bag. Duct tape can be used on small holes in the bag, or to reinforce the area where the clips go. Just don’t duct tape the whole bag, as it needs to “breathe.”

We offer a wide variety of waste disposal options, including the proper disposal of used vacuum bags, with services readily available online. Reach out to us to see what we can offer you.

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