Everyone worries about the environment and our impact on the world around us. We recycle our pet food cans. Where we can, we opt for energy-saver options when selecting automatic feeders or water bowls. We never leave dog poop lying around on the street or sidewalks. However, when you scoop poop at least once a day, the bags add up. That’s a lot of plastic heading to a landfill. If those tiny bags are weighing on your mind, fret not! Biodegradable poop bags are available to solve the problem!
What is Biodegradable?
Reading the word “biodegradable” on an item is often misleading. Why? Given enough time, ANYTHING biodegrades – eventually. Mother Nature’s accomplished at breaking down even the toughest substances. However, a 300-year wait isn’t what eco-friendly people have in mind.
The problem gets further compounded by the fact that landfills are anaerobic environments. Anaerobic means a lack of oxygen. Oxygen is a destructive force. (Have you ever seen rust on metal?) Oxygen in a system aids in the break down. But landfills are so compact and full, there’s no room for oxygen to work. So the process slows WAY down.
The FTC Green Guide
People got upset about the misuse of the “biodegradable” label on products. To solve the problem, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) developed the Green Guide. No more waiting 300 years to return to the environment. They set down an official definition.
“The entire item will completely break down and return to nature within a reasonably short period of time.”~FTC Green Guide
If biodegradable poop bags want to use the label, they need to provide competent and reliable scientific evidence. Sounds great. Unhappily, it’s not so simple. It turns out that kind of proof is hard to come by. Good thing there are alternatives.
We know everything biodegrades. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to focus on compostable products. Compost breaks down quickly, setting a more reasonable standard for biodegradable poop bags. What you want to look for is one of two possible ratings:
- ASTM D6954: This is also known as “oxo-biodegradable.” Additives known as prodegradant crystals (usually a metal salt) get mixed into the plastic. They help the biodegradable poop bags break down into microplastics in under two years. The microplastics never disappear; they just become invisible to the eye.
- ASTM D6400: These biodegradable poop bags are the most ecologically friendly. To earn this rating, the bag needs to decompose rapidly, whether in a municipal or industrial environment. They can also go into compost (just not for use around vegetables or fruits you plan to eat).
Choosing a Biodegradable Poop Bag
Looking for the EPA rating might be your primary concern (nothing wrong with that!). However, you still want to keep a few other things in mind when selecting your biodegradable poop bags.
- Thickness: Poop bags are measured in MIL for thickness. That does NOT stand for millimeters. One MIL equals 1/1000th of an inch (in comparison, one millimeter equals 3/64th of an inch). You want to make sure you’re not getting a bag so thin your hand tears through.
- Compatibility with Dispenser: Most biodegradable poop bags fit into standard dispensers without a problem. However, some come packed flat, rather than in the standard roll. Make sure you opt for a design that works for you.
- Quantity: You know how many poop bags you go through in an average month. You’ll find a lot of these companies offer bulk packages. Biodegradable poop bags DO cost more than regular poop bags, but you can end up saving in the long run.
Disposing of Biodegradable Poop Bags
You’re switching to biodegradable poop bags. Awesome – Mother Nature thanks you. There are just a few things you need to know about disposal. There ARE differences between biodegradable poop bags and ordinary poop bags (or even recycled bags).
- Even the best ASTM D6400 bags struggle to break down in a landfill. Consider starting a compost bin/pile strictly for your dog’s waste. You can’t use the compost on edible plants, but it works fine for decorative plantings.
- Not a gardener? You CAN bury the waste. It needs to go at least five inches down, and avoid food gardens and water sources.
- If you don’t have a yard, look for your city’s industrial composting facility. Some cities pick up compost alongside the trash and recycling; others need you to transport the waste yourself. Check your area’s options.
- While I didn’t find any with good ratings, there ARE water-soluble poop bags you can flush down the toilet. You MUST check your city’s sewage guidelines first. (And you can’t flush them into septic tanks)
Best Biodegradable Poop Bags
Making a switch to biodegradable poop bags feels fantastic. You’re still curbing your dog (following the law is always a plus), but you’re also helping out Mother Nature. You can’t go wrong there! With landfills turning into mountains of trash and plastics overwhelming the oceans, every little change we make helps.
Best ASTM D6954 Biodegradable Poop Bags
These biodegradable poop bags are a reasonably eco-friendly alternative. They rank above standard poop bags and recycling your old grocery bags (though recycling still gets applause!). The break down process gets aided through a chemical process activated by oxygen. Sending these bags to a landfill WILL inhibit their degradation, so definitely aim for a composting situation.
If you want the most for your money, you can’t go wrong with AmazonBasics. You can choose from quantities of 270 up to 900 (that should last a while!). You get a dispenser with your order, ensuring the biodegradable poop bags fit correctly. The bags are 15 MIL thick, which is the thinnest you should aim for. There’s no scent to the bags – helpful if you have allergies!
Downsides? While the bags are perforated, a lot of people had trouble separating them. In fact, many decided to pre-separate bags to avoid the problem. Also, despite the 15 MIL thickness, some people noted tearing.
Do you have a sense of humor when it comes time to clean up after your dog? BARK has the solution for you. With two sets of their biodegradable poop bags – “Pug Life” and “Poopaganda” – you get punny sayings emblazoned on each bag. (Who doesn’t like to laugh while they scoop poop?) Boxes contain 300 poop bags, which should keep you stocked for a couple of months. Not thrilled with the bags? No problem – BARK offers a full money-back guarantee.
The downside? Yet again, people struggled to get the bags off the roll.
Do you hate when the sticker sealing your poop bags tears the first bag? Pet N Pet serrates that sticker, making opening the roll a breeze. The cornstarch-based biodegradable poop bags come in a variety of colors, and you get a whopping 720 bags with your order. Each bag is 17 MIL thick, ensuring you won’t have to deal with tears or leaks.
So what’s the downside? Unhappily, some people struggled to fit the bags into their dispensers. Probably because the bags lack a solid core to spin around.
Would you prefer a scent to cover up that less-than-fresh material inside? Pogi’s has the answer. Their large bags have a powder-fresh scent most people found appealing. The extra-large size of the bag is perfect for larger dogs and their larger, um, deposits. The box contains 500 bags, seeing you through several months.
Downsides? The box contains a single roll, which doesn’t fit on ANY dispenser. Also, people struggled to get the bags open. And while you may want a scented bag, be careful – some people found the powder smell overwhelming.
Do you have different-sized dogs at home? Pets N Bags offers different sizes and different counts for their biodegradable poop bags. An included dispenser guarantees the bags fit perfectly. They also have an extra waterproof coating on the bags, ensuring you won’t struggle to scoop poop out in the rain. No scent helps dogs and people that might have allergies.
The downsides? Some people said the bags felt a little brittle. Others reported the seams weren’t always appropriately sealed. Just check your bags carefully before use.
Greener Walker uses cornstarch as the base for their biodegradable poop bags. Each box contains 540 bags, which should last the average dog up to SEVEN months! The bags fit neatly into standard dispensers. Want a little variety? Each roll contains four different colors (okay, four different shades of green).
So what are the downsides? People struggled to both open the bags and get the bags separated from each other.
Do you want the most bags for your money? Gorilla sells 1000 bags in a box! Talk about a bargain! You get three different color choices (blue, black, or green), as well. They provide a dispenser, so you don’t need to worry about trying to fit the biodegradable poop bags. The bags are also unscented, so no worries about allergy triggers.
Downsides? While they do supply the dispenser, some people still found the bags sliding around inside. Other people complained the bags were slightly-transparent (up to you whether that’s a concern or not). And while they’re thicker than the average grocery bag, some people struggled with tearing.
Best ASTM D6400 Biodegradable Poop Bags
If you want to opt for the most eco-friendly option, these are the bags for you. These biodegradable poop bags are compostable. Rather than requiring a chemical additive and oxygen to break down, they dissolve into natural compost on their own. Whether you choose to start your dog compost pile or take advantage of your city’s industrial compost site, you won’t regret making the switch.
Earth Rated biodegradable poop bags come in two varieties: lilac-colored stickers with a lavender scent and blue-colored stickers that are unscented. You can buy a box and receive 900 bags, which should last you quite a while! The bags fit most standard dispensers, or you can get their dispensers for a guaranteed fit. The price isn’t bad, either, especially for the ASTM D6400 rating. These are the poop bags we use, and they work great – even for a dog the size of a Greyhound.
Downsides? The lavender scent is overpowering for a lot of people (which is why we switched to the unscented bags FAST!). Also, the bags can be tricky to open at times. While the large box is a great option, be careful where you store it – the bags WILL start to break down. (After all, they’re decomposable!)
Are you looking for the thickest option for your biodegradable poop bags? My AlphaPet’s bags are 20 MIL thick! You can also choose from different sizes and scent options: the green bags are unscented, while the red and pink bags smell like roses (irony, anyone?). Regardless of which size you choose, they fit standard dispensers without a problem. An extra seal across the bottom keeps everything inside where it belongs.
The downsides? These bags ARE on the expensive side. And, again, the scented bags tend toward overpowering for some people. Just be careful if you have allergies.
If you want that little extra special something with your biodegradable poop bags, Doggy Do Good is the bag for you. These vegetable-based bags make for perfect industrial composting material. This small business is so confident, they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their bags. Best of all, a portion of all of their sales go to animal rescues and shelters!
So what are the downsides? You can’t use these bags in home composting. Also, some people thought the bags felt a little on the thin side.
Good for the Earth
Little changes in our day-to-day lives make big differences in the world around us. A simple switch, such as electing to use biodegradable poop bags, can go a long way toward combatting the overwhelming trash problem we’re facing.
Your dog won’t even notice the change! But you’ll know you’ve made an important step, and you’ll feel great for the change.