Are Dog Poo Bags Bad for the Environment?
We like to assume that everyone reading this blog picks up after their dog. Studies have found that it’s only 3% of people who never do, after all. 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. That methane gas, by the way, is 30 times worse for the environment than carbon dioxide. Fun to know.
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. If it gets washed into our waterways when it rains, it can make people ill and seriously affects aquatic life.
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. Don’t know about you, but I’m not personally keen on catching a roundworm, so it’s probably one to avoid!
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 eco-friendly, and here at Simply2 Pet Products, we’ve done just that! 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 aren’t Compoost’Em poo bags bad for the environment?
For one, they’re made from natural raw residues like cornstarch that can’t be used for food. We’ve used no oil-based components whatsoever 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!
You don’t need to worry about the packaging, either. Compoost’Em are packaged in sustainably sourced cardboard (certified by the World Land Trust!), with no extra plastic to be seen.
How about it, then – will you make the switch to compostable poo bags?