Are Dog Poo Bags Bad for the Environment?
We like to assume that everyone reading this blog picks up after their dog - although research shows around 3% of people never pick up their dog's poo. We’re also guessing that you use a plastic dog poo bag to do it. After all, they’re convenient, cheap, and prevent messy fingers. But what’s the cost to the earth? We all know that we need to bring our carbon emissions down, and a big part of that is reducing our reliance on single-use plastics. So what does that mean for plastic dog poo bags – are they really that bad for the environment?
Short answer: Yes.
Longer answer: Yes, they are. Very much so. Sorry!
We don’t have any exact figures about how many plastic dog poo bags Brits use every year. But we do know that the UK uses around five million tonnes of plastic a year, including over a BILLION single-use plastic bags.
The problem with plastic? It doesn’t decompose. EVER. Ok, not for a very long time – longer than plastic has existed to be able to actually observe it. It’s estimated that a plastic bag will take up to 1000 years to decompose. That’s a really long time for your plastic poo bags to be languishing in landfill.
So what’s the problem with dog poo – and bags – sitting in landfill for so long? Putting aside all the problems for the earth that landfills cause in general, plastic bags full of dog poo leach harmful microplastics into the soil and release methane gas - which is seriously problematic for the environment.
What can you do?
So if dog poo bags are that bad for the environment, what are your more eco-friendly options for your dog’s excretions?
Just leave it
We like to think that nobody reading this plans to just leave their dog’s waste sitting on the pavement! Do you really think some poor, unsuspecting person deserves that on their shoes? Even leaving it on grass or in the woods isn’t a good option. Dog poo is full of diseases and pathogens and can contaminate any water it gets washed into.
Use a (used) carrier bag
It’s better than not reusing a bag at all, but not by much – you’re still sending plastic to landfill after only a few uses. We’d recommend it if you’ve got nothing else to use, though – it’s preferable to leaving poo on the ground!
Flushing dog poo down the toilet is often touted as the environmentally-friendly option, but is it something you should actually do? It would certainly reduce plastic waste, but it’s not always a practical option. What happens when Fido decides to pop a squat halfway through a long walk instead of in the garden, for example?
It’s not just an issue of practicality, either. Water companies differ about whether it’s safe to flush dog poo. Anglian Water, for example, says absolutely no way, because the water treatment process can’t kill all the parasites found in dog poo.
Compostable Poo Bags
For convenience and cost, nothing really does beat a plastic poo bag. But there’s no reason to resign yourself to traditional plastic. It’s possible to make plastic poo bags that are much more eco-friendly! Our Compoost’Em compostable poo bags are made from an alternative plastic that biodegrades completely in only six months. They’re EU Certified (EN13432) and suitable for industrial composting, but they can also be disposed of as normal in dog waste bins. Plus, it’s only £1.95 for 30 bags or, if you take advantage of this month’s sale, £17.55 for a box of 12 packs. That’s 360 bags – one for almost every day of the year.
Why are Compoost’Em poo bags better for the environment?
For one, they’re made from natural raw residues like cornstarch that can’t be used for food. There are no oil-based components used in their production. Cornstarch-based plastics don’t release harmful microplastics as they decompose, and they need 65% less energy to be produced than traditional plastic.
Plus, corn is a renewable substance. Petroleum, the basis for traditional plastics, is decidedly not. It’s believed the world will have run out of all fossil fuels, including oil, by 2060 – so we’d better stop relying on them before it’s too late!
How about it, then – will you make the switch to compostable poo bags?