Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Dog Poop Bags
I have had my dog since he was a puppy, and he is nine years old. He poops at least twice a day, and I always pick it up (since leaving your dog’s poop on the ground to be washed into our waterways is, like, the worst thing you can do). So that’s... at least 6,570 bags of poop that I have thrown in the garbage. For many years, those bags were made out of non-biodegradable plastic. I always felt guilty about that, even before I knew the full truth about the evils of plastic, especially what it's doing to our oceans and waterways.
In general, I always have an inherent knowing about things that go against my core values (in this case: my respect for and love of nature), and yet I am able to ignore and deny that quiet voice within myself that tells me, "Hey, something about this ain't right!" In the case of the plastic poop bags, that voice finally got loud enough, and I had to start researching ways to take the plastic out of the dog poop equation.
There are a lot of “eco-friendly” items on the shelves these days, which can be misleading. If you see the words "eco-friendly" on something that was made in China and costs one dollar, you have reason to be suspicious. Much like calling food “natural,” calling plastic products "eco-friendly" doesn't necessarily mean they're good for the environment. Do not judge a book as being safe for the environment just because it says so on the cover -- or something.
After going through an eco-friendly phase (still using plastic bags), I took it up a notch and started looking for biodegradable and/or compostable bags. I started using PoopBags, which come in one of three levels of “compostability.” I felt like I had found the answer, and I continued feeling good about throwing these compostable bags into the garbage all the way up until I started researching for this blog post. That's when I found out that when compostable dog poop bags break down in a landfill, the dog poop inside produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Sh*t!
(1) the best compostable dog poop bag out there is BioBag, and
(2) you should not attempt to compost dog poop at home because it does not generate enough heat to kill dangerous pathogens found in pet waste.
I was determined not to stop there, so I kept going, and I found out that the Environmental Protection Agency recommends flushing it down the toilet (dog poop only -- not cat poop). And even better: there are companies that makes flushable dog poop bags! I found one called Flush Puppies, and added them to my Amazon store:
So simple! Just scoop the poop with these certified compostable bags made of water soluble material, and flush them right down the toilet! I ordered $10 worth of bags, which lasted me a little over six weeks (using 2-3 bags per day). That's less than 25¢ a day to keep thousands of plastic or methane-causing bags out of our landfills and oceans.
Since writing this article, I have been using Flush Puppies with great success. They are sturdy enough to carry the poop home from walks -- much thicker than the biodegradable ones I was using. They have a (very) slight vinegar smell, which I like because it hides the poop smell. They flush easily, and truly start to break down as soon as they come into contact with water (so watch out in heavy rain). I highly recommend making the switch!