Are biodegradable bags really the way to go?
People are saying goodbye to plastic bags in many parts of America, as well as all around the world! But that may seem like dog owners are being left (pardon the pun) holding the bag-- the bag of dog doo, that is. Not having plastic bags to put your dog waste in sounds absolutely terrifying… and in some situations, it is. It immediately evokes the image of having to pick it up with your hand, or a paper bag of some type. Picking up dog poop in a plastic bag is unpleasant enough-- do we really have to make it worse?
Luckily, those fears are mostly unfounded… there’s always biodegradable bags, right? Those bags aren’t illegal, like plastic ones, and they’re going to break down even sooner, aren’t they? Sadly, that is not always the case—there is a lot of mis marketing that is involved in the sale of biodegradable bags. Although they are advertised as the perfect solution for an eco-friendly dog waste disposal method, they could take years to break down in landfills-- assuming that they ever do. Of course, they can be broken down if left with other natural things… so just toss them in your natural waste bin, and problem solved, right? Wrong, actually-- most places do not allow dog waste in their natural waste binsbecause the bacteria in dog fecal matter can be harmful to the local water supply, as well as other people and dogs. In fact, generally, if dog fecal matter is found in a truck containing green or natural waste, the whole truckload can no longer be composted, and instead ends up in a landfill. And as discussed earlier-- leaving biodegradable dog bags in a landfill does them no good. It’s the same for much natural waste, so it would be a shame to end up with all of that green waste mummifying in a landfill instead of composting back into the earth.
Okay, so what else can you do? There’s always composting, isn’t there? Well, maybe not… leaving it to compost in your own personal bin may seem like an eco-friendly do-it-yourself method, but it may not be as smart as you’d initially think. Leaving dog waste in your backyard once again has a risk of it running off and infecting water or other people. Most compost bins simply do not get hot enough to kill off the bacteria presenton dog waste. Not to mention the fact that dogs produce a ton of waste-- often too much for one person to reasonably compost in a small bin or a small yard, considering how long those bags can take to break down-- often a year or more.
Sadly, there’s no easy solution here-- though looking into flushable and compostable bags is an option too! Just think twice and do your research before running to biodegradable bags.