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Have it in the Bag

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  • 3 min read

Have It In the Bag — the Scoop on Eco Poop Scooping

It is an inevitable reality that dogs poop, and that comes with clean up. It could be tempting to leave it in a garden bed to decompose and provide nutrients to the soil (because yes, poop does do that) but we all know it is not socially acceptable. Cleaning up after your dog while on a walk, adventure or trip ensures everyone is happy and comfortable in public spaces. There’s a problem with this however, worse than the smell: most dog poop bags that you buy at the pet shop or in supermarkets are made out of plastic. The nasty kind of plastic that shreds down in the landfill, release Co2, and becomes the immortal microplastics that humans and animals are unfortunately digesting every day. So, what are we to do? How do you clean up after your pet without contributing to the major plastic problem?

Biodegradable Bags
Finding eco-friendly bags like biodegradable or compostable ones is tricky because of the amount of green washing and regulations involved. Biodegradable means that the bags will break down into natural, natural substances over time. However, the term "biodegradable" can be somewhat misleading. Biodegradable bags are still made with factory processes that burn fossil fuels and release Co2, some break down and leave behind microplastics, some only break down in very specific conditions (which aren’t the conditions found in commercial landfills or recycling plants) and some aren’t biodegradable at all — it is a complete lie!  If you’re aware of all these things and know what things to look out for, you can find bags that have certifications which guarantee that the bags meet established standards for biodegradability. You can also check the composition of the bags and choose bags made with renewable, plant-based materials. Also find carbon neutral or carbon offset products. Look also at the packaging the bags come in, to look for recycled or recyclable cardboard or biodegradable packaging, to minimise waste.

Compostable Bags
 If you can’t find biodegradable bags, you can also try compostable bags. In an ideal world, you could nurture your garden with both plant-based materials and your pet’s waste. Compostable bags are typically made from plant-based materials, such as cornstarch or sugarcane, and can be composted along with your pet's waste in a designated composting system, whether at home or in a commercial facility. The tricky thing is, just like biodegradable bags, composting can be complicated or can be an outright lie. When choosing compostable bags, make sure they are certified as "home compostable" or "commercial compostable" to ensure they meet specific decomposition criteria. Products with the codes AS 5810-2010 and AS 4736-2006 are certified to be composted at home or in an industrial facility respectively (2010 at home and 2006 in a facility). Once again, it is good to look out for the kind of materials being used and the efforts of the company to reduce their impact. 

If you’re not interested in purchasing either of these products, which can sometimes be inaccessible or expensive, there are other ways to reduce your footprint including recycling old products. If you’re clever you can find ways to use leftover packaging, newspapers, old bags, envelopes, cardboard and paper. 

Cleaning up after your dog is a necessary part of responsible pet ownership, but it doesn't have to come at the cost of the environment. By choosing eco-friendly dog poop bags and being mindful of their certifications, materials, and packaging, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Instead you could consider recycling alternatives for waste disposal that can further minimize the environmental impact of pet waste. Making these small changes in your routine can have a positive impact on the planet while keeping your surroundings clean and safe for all.

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