Taking out your dog for daily walks involves pee and poop stops. As a responsible pet owner, you don’t just leave your pup’s stink pile out in the open. The most convenient way to clean up after your dog’s poop is by picking it up with a plastic bag and throwing it in the nearest trash bin.
Turn away from plastic poop bags and make a significant impact. Read on to know why compostable dog poop bags are a dog owner’s next best friend.
Dog Poop Disposal Matters
Some pet owners neglect to pick up their dog’s poop, either because they are in a hurry or they don’t see why it’s important.
To picture the importance of cleaning up your dog’s poop, here are some stats and trivia:
- According to a nationwide survey in 2019 by Animal Medicines Australia, there is an estimated total of 5.1 million pet dogs across the nation.
- About 180-300 kilograms of waste in a year is generated by a medium-sized dog.
- Unlike other waste materials, parasites and disease-causing bacteria can be found in dog poop. These fecal microbes stay in the soil and can drain into bodies of water as contaminants, putting at risk the health of humans, pets and marine life. Bagging up that pile of poop is more important than what you think!
‘No’ To Traditional Plastics Please
Just like any other trash, dog poop bags end up in a landfill. The assumption is because pet waste is organic, it will readily decompose. However, it is crucial to note that: 1.) the dog poop is enclosed in a bag, 2.) oxygen is necessary for decomposition to occur, and 3.) an open landfill is most likely already filled with layers of trash.
Choosing what kind of bag to use matters. If you are one of the 5.1 million pet owners who bag their pet’s poop, traditional plastic bags should no longer be an option. Plastic waste is already a big enough crisis as it is. The United Nations Environment Programme states that global plastic production has now reached about 400 million tons per year, and approximately 12% have been incinerated and only 9% have been recycled. The rest end up either in landfills or in our environment and waters as litter.
Compostable Poop Bags vs Biodegradable Poop Bags
It is important to choose a poop container that breaks down into safe organic matter and, at the same time, allows the decomposition process of the poop it holds.
Environmentally conscious pet owners have shifted to sustainable green efforts like community shared disposal and home composting, opting for biodegradable bags or compostable bags. Both compostable bags and biodegradable poop bags in Australia seem to be environmentally friendly. The question is, what’s the difference between them?
‘Biodegradable’ often refers to something that can decay and disintegrate over time with the help of microorganisms. Biodegradable plastics are made of natural materials, such as plant husks and starches, combined with synthetic components like polystyrene and polypropylene. They are designed to break down faster and to be more amenable to degradation versus standard plastics.
There’s just one problem: biodegradable-labelled plastics break down into microplastics which is another problematic waste. They cannot be mixed with food waste because they take a longer time to decompose. Recycling isn’t a possibility, either. Microplastics bear contaminants and trace amounts of toxic chemicals, disqualifying them from being recycled with paper and traditional plastics.
On the other hand, compostable products are ‘premium versions’ of biodegradable ones. They degrade into simpler components and are completely toxin-free. In a conditioned compost environment, compostable plastics take 90 to 180 days to completely break down. Compostable plastics are derived from completely renewable sources, such as plant starches from corn and potato, soy protein, cellulose and specific biopolymers like polylactic acid. They naturally decay into carbon-based organic matter, only yielding soil-beneficial residual products.
All compostable goods are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable goods are compostable. A biodegradable-labelled dog poop bag does not immediately imply that it is completely environment-friendly. Compostable dog poop bags pose as the ‘greener’ option because they are made from renewable sources and decompose into toxic-free components.
It’s important to clear out the confusion and realize these nuances, both as a pet owner and as a consumer. A vast majority of buyers are waking up to the importance of sustainability and environmental-friendly options. Hence, plastic alternatives are swarming the market to catch the attention of eco-conscious consumers.
Checking for Compostable Poop Bags
How can you check if you are purchasing the right compostable dog poop bags? Look for these two: the ‘seedling logo’ and ‘home compostable logo’.
The dog poop bag is certified as compostable and biodegradable if it complies with the Australian Standard 4736-2006, bearing the ‘seedling logo’. The AS 4736-2006 certification means that the product is ‘suitable for composting and other microbial treatment’ in industrial composting facilities.
The AS 5810-2010, symbolized by the ‘home compostable logo’, identifies a dog poop bag to be both biodegradable and home compostable. This accreditation means that the bag will be able to degrade into your home compost safely.
With the rising environmental awareness of consumers, ditching the usage of plastic products has progressively become a trend. Biodegradable and compostable dog poop bags are on the market, and it can be easy to overlook labels. Be a wise consumer and know what to look for: toxin-free, eco-friendly, certified, compostable dog poop bags.