The truth about dog waste bags + which one is best for the planet

The truth about dog waste bags + which one is best for the planet

Chances are if you have a furry best friend, you probably have a roll of dog waste bags in your coat pocket, in a drawer, in the glove box of your car, and your purse because nothing’s worse than having your pup do their business and not having a bag to pick it up!

Plastic poop bags are certainly the cheaper and more convenient option for pet owners, but are they the best way to dispose of your dog’s waste? Not really. Biodegradable doggy bags aren’t as great as you might think either! We want to tell you the real truth about dog waste bags and which one is best for the planet. 

Why We Use Plastic Dog Waste Bags

Dog waste bags are such an essential item in the daily routine of any dog owner. For sanitary reasons, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pet owners pick up their pet waste rather than leave it on the ground, preferably using a bag to avoid getting pathogens on their hands. Technically they never said “plastic” bag, but we took the advice, ran with it, and now the planet has a substantial plastic bag problem!

We’re not saying all of our sweet pups are the main contributor to plastic bags popping up in the environment and devastating wildlife, but their impact certainly isn’t tiny. Approximately 500 million plastic poop bags are used every year worldwide! Let’s bring this number a little closer to home and do some quick math to understand the impact that your own dog’s waste can have on the environment.  

  • If a 75-pound dog produces around 500 pounds of waste a year, a dog owner can probably guess how much waste their pooch creates over a year, depending on their size, weight, and waste routine. We’ll guess that all that poop is likely getting scooped up with doggy waste bags! 
  • Now, if dog owners are scooping poop roughly three times a day using plastic bags, then they’re using over 1,000 bags a year --most of which goes straight into landfills.

Maybe you reuse old plastic bags from the grocery store or the little plastic bags from the bulk bin section. We all have that ugly bag of plastic bags shoved under the sink or behind the laundry room door. While giving these bags a second life is undoubtedly commendable, they still inevitably end up in the landfill where they take hundreds of years to break down. 

So what’s a better option? Naturally, you might think that “biodegradable” bags will solve the issue. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

The Truth About “Biodegradable” Marketing

There is very little regulation on the term “biodegradable,” and too many pet companies have been using it to greenwash their products, AKA deceptively making their products seem better for the planet than they actually are. 

To biodegrade, an item generally should be broken down until no pieces or contaminants are left behind. Sometimes these biodegradable products are specifically designed to break down in specific environments like soil or saltwater. If the product doesn’t end up in that particular environment, this biodegradation won’t occur. 

Many products that are made of plastic and claim to be “biodegradable” are often “oxo-biodegradable.” This means they contain a chemical that breaks down the plastic into tinier pieces making them less visible but not completely degraded. Just because the plastic is in smaller fragments doesn’t lessen the harmful impact on the planet. 

That’s why companies (with a good marketing practice) that claim “biodegradable” should issue disposal instructions with their product to ensure it reaches the desired end destination. If they aren’t, they are likely using untruthful and deceptive environmental claims. 

California banned the sale of products labeled “biodegradable” if they did not “provide disposal guidelines and timeframe” of the item.

Fully Biodegradable Dog Waste Bags

If you want to use genuinely biodegradable dog waste bags, there are few different options. You can choose corn-based bags like BioBag Pet Waste which meets high biodegradable and composting standards. Other doggy bag options include K9 Clean’s Eco Poop Scoop Bags which contain zero plastic and can be consumed entirely by microorganisms, and Earth Rated’s PoopBag which can be found right on our website! 

When made from food-grade materials, doggy waste bags can naturally break down and be consumed by microorganisms, returning back into the earth in a matter of weeks rather than hundreds of years.

If you’re a little unsure about what to look for, you can often tell when a dog waste bag is truly biodegradable because they’re the more expensive option. There are other cheaper options besides using biodegradable bags, depending on your doggy situation. 

Pooper scoopers (or shovels) for your yard always are an option. If you really want to avoid plastic bag usage and save money, dog owners have been known to use scraps of junk mail, large leaves, and paper bags to dispose of their pup’s waste. Find a waste disposal method that works for you, your budget, and your pup’s environment. 

Just remember, it’s always possible to make sure your pups are well cared for while also taking care of the planet. And you can start by responsibly disposing of their waste! As dog owners, the more we educate ourselves around our dog’s environmental pawprint, the more we can take action that can help save the world.

1 comment

  • Great Article! This is really useful information for us. Thanks for sharing.


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