When you pick up your dog’s poop, you do everyone a favour, but if you want to do the environment a favour as well you’ll need to use the right poop bag. A regular old plastic bag can pollute oceans, choke animals, and poison soil, so you probably use one listed as “biodegradable.” But not all bags are what they seem. Here’s how you can choose the right type of bag for your dog’s poop.
Read biodegradable bags carefully
When a product is biodegradable, it means the material is made to break down and return to the earth, hopefully without harming our water, soil, and air. Unfortunately, though, “biodegradable” has its limitations. Some biodegradable products must be disposed of in a particular way; if they aren’t, they may not return to the earth the way we think, and that includes our dog’s poop bags.
Use compostable bags over biodegradable
Choosing a different bag may be the easiest way to help the environment. Use a compostable bag instead of a biodegradable one, as compostable bags decompose while returning nutrients back to the earth. They’re usually made of food products like potato starch and other plant materials, which make them good for proper decomposition. Marine biologist Richard Thompson conducted a study at Plymouth University on the difference between biodegradable and compostable, reporting that “in the underwater environment, the compostable bag disappeared completely within three months,” while the regular plastic bags and biodegradable ones were still able to hold five pounds of groceries.
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Make compost and fertiliser with dog poop
Even compostable bags have their limitations: Some compostable bags don’t get the high heat and centralised oxygen they need to break down completely and end up lingering in landfills. So, if you’re really serious, there is an option where neither the poop nor the bag makes it to the garbage heap. If you’re ambitious and have the energy, the best way to keep your dogs poop from contaminating the local environment is by putting it to good use: Use a compostable bag and bring the poop home to add to your compost pile. Along with the compost soil, the poop will decompose and release microbes. And once broken down, you can reuse the soil for your home garden.
Use a compostable paper bag
Of course, unless your dog only poops in your private backyard, having to carry poop home from a walk in the park is quite an inconvenient option. Another option is a paper bag, which removes plastic from the equation entirely, eliminating any risks of plastic chemicals leaking into the earth. In addition to using paper bags, you can use compostable paper bags to be sure they’ll break down quickly and eventually feed the soil our dogs shit on.