The star seal has become the most common type of seal in the market today. Designed without gussets, the star seal eliminates gaps along the seal where leaks can occur. This unique design allows the bag to conform more easily to the shape of the container and distributes the weight of the refuse evenly around the bag. Star seal liners maximize the bag’s carrying capacity and virtually eliminate leaks. Star Seal liners are designated in two dimensions, i.e., 40×46.
A flat seal is a two-dimensional bag with a bottom seal, much like a pillowcase. Flat seals are generally leak-proof but are clumsy to handle. Also, they do not conform well to the shape of most trash receptacles. Flat seal liners are designed in two dimensions, e.g., 40 x 46.
Biodegradable trash bags– There are different types of “biodegradable” trash bags. One type is made from corn, potatoes, and other starchy plants. The other is made from standard petroleum-based plastics mixed with (often proprietary) additives meant to weaken the plastic bonds so that the trash bags fall apart more easily. (source)
• Biodegradable bags are bags that are capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms.Every year approximately 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. (Source)
• Compostable-Meets D6400 composting standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): Under a managed composting program, the product must 1) break down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate similar to paper, 2) disintegrate into small pieces within 90 days, so that the original product is not visually distinguishable in the compost, and 3) leave no toxic residue. (Source)
• Distinguishing “biodegradable” from “compostable– In typical parlance, the word biodegradable is distinct in meaning from compostable. While biodegradable simply means an object is capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms, “compostable” in the plastic industry is defined as able to decompose in aerobic environments that are maintained under specific controlled temperature and humidity conditions. Compostable means capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site such that the material is not visually distinguishable and breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with known compostable materials.(Source)
A reusable shopping bag, sometimes called bag for life, is a type of shopping bag which can be reused many times: this is an alternative of single use paper or plastic bags.
Reusable shopping bags are a kind of carrier bag, which are available for sale in supermarkets and apparel shops. Some reusable bags have been found to contain a high amount of lead in them. Reusable shopping bags require more energy to produce than common plastic shopping bags. One reusable bag requires the same amount of energy as an estimated 28 traditional plastic shopping bags or eight paper bags. “If used once per week, four or five reusable bags will replace 520 plastic bags a year” according to Nick Sterling, research director at Natural Capitalism Solutions. A study commissioned by the United Kingdom Environment Agency in 2005 but never published found that the average cotton bag is used only 51 times before being thrown away. In some cases reusable bags need to be used over 100 times before they’re better for the environment than single-use plastic bags.(source)
Researched sites are looking at reusable and recyclable bags as one in the same. This may be due to the information found on a canadian site (which may also apply to the United States):
“Although advertised in many cases as recyclable, reusable bags are not being recycled in Canada. Because each bag can be made from several different materials, recycling of reusable bags is complicated, time intensive, and costly. The bags have to be deconstructed in the recycling process. Clearly, this lessens their performance as a preferred, environmental alternative because the reusables go to landfill at the end of their useful life.”
The source this information is retrieved from also has detailed information regarding various bag types based on the materials they are made from. You can view the information here.