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Sh*t Happens

  • Heidi

The Scoop on Biodegradable Poop Bags

We know – no one wants to talk about poop. But, whether you like it or not, it’s part of the furry package when you have a dog in your life.

Picking up after your dog is an important part of pet ownership. Still, it’s easy to hope the poo will just break down and disappear – it’s natural, right?

Pet waste is actually quite toxic. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the waste produced by just 100 dogs in a single weekend can contain enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay to shellfishing and swimming.

When you leave pet waste on the ground, it doesn’t fertilize the grass or disappear as you might expect. Instead, it washes down storm drains and into waterways, lakes, and streams, which can make people sick from infections like E. coli and salmonella. It also contains nitrogen, the nutrient that feeds algae blooms in lakes, a serious problem that can sicken people and animals.

Despite the importance of picking up after your dog, it can also raise a lot of questions, especially for the environmentally conscious. After all, what about all of that single-use plastic in landfills and the microplastics they leave behind? This has given rise to new options in the dog poop industry – biodegradable and compostable poop bags. But what are they, and how do they work? We were surprised to learn that biodegradable and compostable are not interchangeable terms. There’s also a lot of potential confusion regarding poop bags.

The term biodegradable refers to something that can get decomposed by living organisms, like bacteria. However, there is no defined timeline for this to happen. Instead, compostable materials come from organic matter that can get made into compost. These products vary with the time it takes to break down from 90 to 360 days, depending on where composting occurs and the composting environment.

To add an additional layer of confusion, not all compostable bags break down equally, even if they claim to be compostable. For the best results, look for compostable poop bags labeled “ASTM D600 certified.” This certification ensures the bag meets the standard for composting ability and biodegradability, and it’s made from 100% plant-based material.

At this point, you probably can’t toss your dog’s poo in your compost, even if it’s in the right bag. However, choosing sustainable, plant-based poop bags is still your best option if you’re looking for eco-conscious ways to clean up after your dog.

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