If looking to purchase green can liners, there are a few options to consider:

The most common are bags that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines, which have a minimum of 10 percent post-consumer recycled content. However, some areas have exceptions. For example, in California, bags with less than 0.7 mil, which are ideal for collecting paper, are not required to meet the EPA's post-consumer content guidelines.

Another green alternative are oxo-degradable liners, which are made from the same materials as traditional bags, plus a special additive that oxidizes, or breaks down, the bag. Oxygen activates the additive, causing the bag to disintegrate in top layers of landfills in anywhere from two months to five years, which is significantly faster than traditional bags that take 20 to 1,000 years. However, if the bag is placed deeper in a landfill where there is no oxygen, it will not degrade the same as a traditional liner. Though to some purchasers, the philosophy of having potential for disintegration is greener than no disintegration at all.

A third alternative is a hydro-biodegradable liner commonly made from cornstarch. These bags are useful for food waste diversion programs in restaurants, schools and other facilities and should be taken to a composting center. While they will break down in upper layers of landfills, in deeper levels, they could emit methane, a greenhouse gas, during decomposition.