If you are like us, you may have some serious questions about poop bags for your dog. Their environmental impact worries us the most. We have to use 2 to 5 poop bags a day for our dog and that’s a lot. The poop bags we find in pets shops tend to be huge and not very eco-friendly. Manufacturers rarely give clear indications on two key questions: are their excrement bags biodegradable (and if so, to what degree) and are they compostable?
Biodegradable and compostable are two different things. It’s not a glorious subject, but somebody’s gotta talk about it! It was so difficult for us to buy some poop bags that are compost-friendly.
Biodegradable Poop Bag: the Introduction You Never Asked for…
The first question to ask about these dog poop bags is: are they biodegradable?
Frankly, there’s a lot of bullshit marketing terms used for dog products out there. It’s often quite hard to simply figure out if a brand offer biodegradable poop bags. Do not let all of those green, eco-friendly looking labels fool you. You really need to see the word “biodegradable” on the package, otherwise, chances are, your poop bags are simply tiny trash bags cause huge damage to the environment.
The Second Question is: How Fast do the Poop Bags Decompose?
Something biodegradable decomposes over time, eaten by bacteria and other organisms. The speed at which a material is biodegradable varies. And that’s where it gets tricky. Some of the best-known manufacturers of dog poop bags offer biodegradable products. Earth Rated is the most popular brand here in Canada. But it does not clearly indicate if its bags are biodegradable, our pet store had to tell us that it was indeed the case. However, their bags take 2 years to completely decompose, which is a very long time. Note that they still offer certified compostable bags, but we have never seen them for sale in pet stores.
poop bags that are biodegradable must be used within 24 months, because they decompose naturally and deteriorate over time.
Compostable Poop Bags?
Here in Montreal, composting (the recovery of organic waste for environmentally friendly disposal) has become very popular over the years. Just about everyone composts everything that can be composted, and the city collects this waste like any other.
BIODEGRADABLE DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN COMPOSTABLE.
Our first reflex was, therefore, to want to compost our dog’s turd bags. But that’s it, the organisms in charge don’t accept all kinds of biodegradable materials: they have to meet certain conditions. And yes, who says biodegradable doesn’t necessarily say compostable, and that’s a problem. Especially since, let’s repeat it, the manufacturers of poop bags are not very clear on this subject.
Earth Rated brand doggie bags that are certified compostable meet ASTM D6400 and EN13432 guidelines, so they can be composted if your city accepts animal feces in Canada. Unfortunately, Montreal does not accept them… We hope you will be luckier than us!
We have found other biodegradable bags for dogs, those from Pawsitive Solutions, for example. As this brand points out, one must be wary of so-called “biodegradable” products that use biological elements that are toxic to the environment.
What to Do With Doodoo?
For those who own homemade composting systems, you can get rid of local regulations and “recycle” dog droppings directly. Again, make sure that the bags you use decompose relatively quickly so as not to interfere with your process. If your city doesn’t accept animal droppings into their composting system, if they simply don’t manage it and/or if your doggie bags are not compostable, you will only have two options: throw them out with your household garbage or use your own composting system.