It makes sense … you’re wanting to do what’s best for the earth, so you’re looking into eco friendly dog poop bags.
You have good reason to as well because we all know by now that plastic can cause all sorts of issue which not only negative impact the earth, but wildlife as well.
But, if you’re going to be paying slightly more for eco friendly dog poop bags, they better provide some type of eco benefit you’d expect.
What we intend to do in this informational guide is:
– Outline the impact plastic dog poop bags have on the environment
– Identify your eco friendly dog poop bag options as alternatives to plastic dog poop bags
– Identify the pros and cons to using eco friendly dog poop bags
– Provide a summary – are eco friendly dog poop bags worth the money?
– Outline 7 potential sustainability problems and potential solutions to dog poop disposal
The guide below is a complimentary guide to a previous guide we’ve put together on compostable vs biodegradable vs flushable vs plastic bags.
Let’s get right into the guide below!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
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Eco Friendly Dog Poop Bags: Are They Worth It, & Which Are Best?
What Are Some Of The Most Eco Friendly Dog Poop Bags?
Before we get into the guide, for those who want to jump straight to looking at poop bags designed around sustainability, here are some our top picks for the best eco friendly dog poop bags:
Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags
- My Alpha Pet Dog Poop Bags (on Amazon) – are ASTM D6400 Certified (USA) and EN13432 Certified (EU), and break down and decompose in just 90 days.
- Bio Bag Premium Pet Waste Bags (on Amazon) – In 2017, they are BPI certified to meet the ASTM D6400 specification.
- Flush Puppies Doodie Bags (on Amazon) – meet the ASTM d6400 standard and California law for “compostability” claims, and are certified compostable by the biodegradable products institute (BPI).
Compostable Dog Poop Bags
- My Alpha Pet Dog Poop Bags (on Amazon) made with resins from plants and vegetables. Are ASTM D6400 Certified (USA) and EN13432 Certified (EU), and break down and decompose in just 90 days. This compostable bag is an alternative to a polythene plastic bag
- Flush Puppies Doodie Bags (on Amazon) also meet the ASTM d6400 standard and California law for “compostability” claims, and are certified compostable by the biodegradable products institute (BPI).
Best Eco Friendly Dog Poop Bags: Reviews
My Alpha Pet Dog Poop Bags
Are ASTM D6400 Certified (USA) and EN13432 Certified (EU)
Meets strict European VINCOTTE standards for back yard composting
Break down and decompose in just 90 days
Made with resins from plants and vegetables
Come in a 120 or 240 count
Bags are 9 x 13 inches
Large enough for big dog waste
Colored green and unscented
View the My Alpha Pet Dog Poop Bags on Amazon
Bio Bag Premium Pet Waste Bags
In 2017, they are BPI certified to meet the ASTM D6400 specification.
Made from plants, vegetable oils and Mater-Bi. Made from a resin derived from plants, vegetable oils and other polymers
Comes as standard bags, or bags with handles
Manufactured in the USA
Comes in 50, 150 and 200 count packs
View the Bio Bag Premium Pet Waste Bags on Amazon
Flush Puppies Doodie Bags
Certified compostable by the biodegradable products institute (BPI).
Meet the ASTM d6400 standard and California law for “compostability” claims, and are
Comes in a 60 bag pack
View the Flush Puppies Doodie Bags on Amazon
The impact plastic dog poop bags have on the environment etc.
This guide outlines some of the pros and cons of plastic in general, and on the environment.
But, a few important points:
Plastic dog poop bags break down in the environment when exposed to UV light – it’s estimated it takes 500-1000 years for a plastic bag to fully break down in the environment
Plastic can get caught and stuck inside animals who swallow it, and it can tangle them up and immobilise them
It can also pollute water and soil with petro polymers once it breaks down
Plastic dog poop bags can’t be recycled after use because – a) only hard plastic can be recycled and b) only dry and clean plastic can be recycled (it’s too hard to clean and dry poop bags after they have been used)
We should also note that a similar dog poop bag to plastic dog poop bags are the Degradable or Oxo-biodegradable dog poop bags.
These are a plastic type bag, like polyethylene, that contains additives that help the bag material break down faster, but still over a number of years.
An example is the EPI additive used in some dog poop bags like the Earth Rated brand.
Pros and cons to using eco friendly dog poop bags
Biodegradable dog poop bags
In theory biodegradable bags are great. The idea of them is to be made of organic material that breaks down naturally with the help of micro organisms. They break down much faster than plastic bags, without any of the pollution.
Organic materials are much better for the environment than plastic.
In places like the US, companies using the word ‘biodegrading on their labelling have to:
Have to meet ASTM D6400 guidelines
Should meet any legal guidelines which outline how long the bag should take to decompose – generally any material that takes longer than 6 months is not allowed to market their product as ‘biodegradable’
Biodegradable bags need oxygen/air to break down naturally with the help of micro organisms called aerobes. The process is called aerobic biodegradation.
In practice, if your biodegradable dog poop bags are being thrown in the trash and going to landfill, they will usually be trapped under layers of other rubbish at the landfill site, and will be under anaerobic conditions.
Under anaerobic conditions, the bags break down and produce methane, which is obviously not good for the air or ozone layers.
Unless your biodegradable poop bags have aerobic conditions to break down, they aren’t being as effective as they can be.
Compostable Dog Poop Bags
Compostable bags are similar to biodegradable bags in that they break down aerobically and don’t have the negative affects that non-organic plastic bags have.
Compostable bags must meet compostable environment criteria which might include:
Disintegration, Absence of contamination or difference from existing compost physical/chemical makeup,
Other chemical/physical parameters,
Heavy metal tests
The idea of compost is to produce a nutrient rich hommus that can be used for fertiliser on plants and for growing.
Residentially, there are some companies that produce pet waste compost bins with worm cultures, that break down dog poop and compostable dog poop bags.
It was estimated that in 2010, enough pet manure was produced to fertilise around 20 million acres – but, we’ve been throwing most of it away.
Although dog and cat poop isn’t like most manures (and might be used or managed differently), it is higher in phosphorus, the plant nutrient most difficult for organic farmers and gardeners to come by naturally.
The major drawback to compostable dog poop bags is that very few industrial compost sites are willing to take dog waste.
Dealing with the poop and risk of contamination with the current compostable environment is too high.
Most councils will tell you to put dog and pet waste in the normal trash – to go to landfill – which limits the effectiveness of compostable bags.
To add to this, there are risks with composting dog waste at home, and most people are not educated on how to compost dog poop – so residential composting isn’t common.
Flushable Dog Poop Bags
Flushable dog poop bags mean that the bags don’t go to landfill. They get processed in our sewerage system.
This eliminates any plastic bag in landfill concerns, or anaerobic biodegradable or compostable breakdown concerns.
The downside to flushable bags is that there is no guarantee they break down properly once flushed and they enter the sewer pipes.
Testing of the bags’ dissolubility seems to be questionable at best. If the bags have to be cleared as debris int eh sewer debris traps, it costs governments a lot of money – which has happened in Australia.
In addition to this, if there are sewer overflows, and pet waste gets into waterways or land sites – the pathogens in the poop can cause problems for wildlife and contaminate water.
Summary – Are Eco Friendly Dog Poop Bags Worth The Money?
Overall, eco friendly dog poop bags do work to be much friendlier on the environment than plastic bags.
It’s just that the way we currently dispose of them can be much improved. If they were disposed of so that they can aerobically break down – they would be great.
Even though biodegradable and compostable bags aren’t that effective in landfill sites – ask yourself the questions – would you rather have a plastic or an organic bag like a biodegradable or compostable bag sitting out in the environment and exposed to wildlife?
Flushable dog poop bags seem to have good potential if they are able to consistently dissolve in the sewer lines.
Ideas To Make Dog Poop Disposal More Eco Friendly
The current situation when is comes to dog poop disposal in most communities is not ideal to say the least.
Even when using what on the surface are environmentally and green options like biodegradable and compostable bags to dispose of dog poop, we seem to have problems.
Below we outline some of the main problems we might be facing, and put forward 7 ideas that might progress things towards more sustainable practices.
1. Have Waste Sites Dedicated To Biodegradable Pet Waste Bags Only
Regardless of whether your dog poop is in a bag or not, or what type of bag it is in if it is in one – when you put it in the trash – it get’s sent to a landfill site with all the other rubbish.
If it’s in a plastic bag, we have issues from the start because plastic – a) takes roughly 500-1000 years to break down, b) releases toxic micro polymers when it breaks down and c) can be harmful for wildlife
However, you might think that putting the poop in a biodegradable or compostable bag is better, right?
Well, it might not be.
The reason for this is that both biodegradable and compostable bags need air to break down and decompose organically.
When under layers and tonnes of landfill mass, the bags are more likely to produce methane gas which is not good for the air or the ozone.
On top of this, some landfill sites don’t even accept pet waste!
One way that we could combat this is if we figured out if sites or sections of waste sites that accommodate biodegradable and compostable bags are feasible.
This would involve ensuring the conditions at the waste site are aerobic and in turn will enable the bags and poop to naturally decompose.
2. Have Industrial Compost Sites That Process Only Pet Waste
Composting dog poop is essentially the equivalent of recycling it.
The issue is however that most industrial composting sites don’t accept pet waste.
The reasons for this are a) it’s too difficult and risky dealing with the dog poop itself which can contain pathogens and virus causing bacteria and b) it’s too easy to contaminate the other compost matter and overall composting conditions
Also, the only bags that can be composted are compostable bags which must meet a specific set of criteria that is ideal for turning organic matter into a nutrient rich composting hummus.
It may be a good idea to explore the possibility of compost sites that only deal with pet waste and compostable pet waste bags.
This is in comparison to the sites that are only meant for biodegradation.
This way compostable bags aren’t being wasted at landfill sites, and we get to recycle dog poop and produce more nutrient rich fertiliser.
3. Have Pre Fabricated Dog Poop Compost Bins For Homes More Accessible, & Better Educate People On The Benefits Of Composting
Composting doesn’t always have to occur at an industrial compost heap, it can also happen at home in a backyard.
Health professionals might warn against composting dog poop yourself because a) dog poop needs higher temperatures to compost than a lot of other organic matter and b) the sometimes disease carrying dog poop can be dangerous to humans and animals nearby if not sealed off properly
There are companies out there however that do produce dog poop composting bins, and provide live worm cultures with the bins.
Worms naturally like to eat organic matter and all different types of animal poop – which over time becomes compost.
It would be great if these bins and similar technology were more commercially accessible to people, and education on safe composting in schools for example was more readily available.
4. Improve The Performance Of Flushable Dog Poop Bags
Flushable bags allow you to flush dog poop down the toilet instead of sending it to landfill.
There are a few problems with this approach though including a) you can contaminate the inside of your house or bathroom with the nasties in the dog poop b) not all flushable bags fully dissolve in the sewer lines – costing governments a lot of money to clear out
At present, the testing done on flushable dog poop bags doesn’t seem to be suitable enough to determine that the bags will dissolve once they hit our sewers.
A combination of better flushable bag technology, and better/more stringent testing could be done to ensure bags are suitable for the sewer lines.
5. Analyse Our Sewerage Systems To Better Deal With & Treat Pet Waste
Further to the problem above with flushable bags …
In the event of a sewer overflow, the dog poop can contaminate the environment such as waterways and water reserves (eutrophication can be a big issue), harm animals and even get into drinking water.
It would be worth looking at how we can better treat and process pet waste that is flushed down our sewers – but, this may be difficult to do (which is why biodegradable and compostable bags and methods may be a better option)
6. Biogas Technology
We don’t currently make use of biogas to a large extent to dispose of and process pet waste.
Some of this could be to do with the cost and newness of the technology.
Other reasons could be to do with awareness and unfamiliarity with the capabilities of the technology.
If you’re unfamiliar with biogas, biogas utilises the gasses emitted by the breakdown of dog poop (methane, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide (CO) with the use of oxygen) to create fuel for energy.
It would be worth looking into very small biogas generators in places like dog parks and at places like beaches – that then in turn power surrounding lights and communal cooking facilities.
7. Use Less Plastic Dog Poop Bags
We already outlined the problems with too much plastic above when talking about landfill sites.
Pretty simple, use less plastic and move towards materials and disposal processes that involve more natural break down and recycling.
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