Let’s talk about poo. There are around 8 million dogs in the UK, which produce a total of 1,000 tonnes of waste each day, which we diligently pick up and dispose of. But how should we dispose of it? It turns out, it’s actually a very divisive issue. There are a number of options currently available…
Stick & flick
Stick and flick is exactly what it says on the tin, you grab a stick and flick the poop into the grass. This seems like a great, zero-waste option, with the poop degrading naturally. Discarded poo bags are an eyesore, nobody wants to see bags of poo hanging off our trees and bushes – or think about them going into waste. Under the bush, it’s out of the way and people aren’t going to easily come across the mess. After all, there’s plenty of reasons to avoid picking things out of the undergrowth from rodents, badgers and foxes – they all poop in the woods!
However, the lasting impact can be very harmful. Just think how many dogs you see when you’re taking Fido for a walk. Think what a catastrophic effect this would have on our eco system if everyone were to stick and flick their poo! The bacteria can live in the soil for years after the mess has degraded, filtering into the water system, risking the health of local wildlife and livestock as well as human water supplies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has placed dog poop in the same category as insecticides, oil, grease and toxic chemicals. Reducing your plastic consumption is not an excuse to stop clearing up your dog's poop!
In theory, another zero-waste option. The EPA suggests flushing poo as the most ecologically friendly removal method.
But sadly, this isn’t always convenient as there aren’t usually toilets available on our walks outside. We need to get the poo home or to the nearest toilet, but how to do this? We suggest using an eco-friendly poop bag – more on that in a moment – but make sure you don’t flush the bags! This will cause some serious stress on sewer systems and block the drains.
Regular poo bags
It’s out of the way, sure. But it’s going to end up in landfill or incinerated. The world's landfills are getting bigger and bigger. Plastic bags take an estimated 500-1,000 years to break down in the environment. Otherwise, the bags are often incinerated which releases dangerous toxins into the environment.
Degradable poo bags
Even if responsibly bagged and binned, sadly our poo bags most often end up in landfill. However, our degradable poo bags contain an additive that helps them break down 1,000 times faster. Degradable plastics can break down in landfills, however unlike biodegradable items, they don’t break down completely.
But it's not a perfect solution. Degradable poo bags break down into tiny plastic particles which can be mistaken for food by animals and ingested. We recognise that this is not the ideal answer, but we think that given the options available on the market at the moment, this is one of the best of the bunch.
Frustratingly, a lot of companies misrepresent their degradable poop bags as biodegradable. If you want to avoid products which have plastic in, make sure to look out for certifications! If in doubt, get in touch with the company selling them.
Compostable poo bags
If you’re looking for the most environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bags, you’ve found them at last! Compostable poop bags are completely plastic-free!
Our new EcoVibe Compostable Poop Bags are made of natural corn starch and are 100% biodegradable. This means they will decompose and break down into all-natural elements, leaving no toxicity in the soil. They’re compostable to EU and US certification standards and meet the US Gold Standard for biodegradable and compostable plastic bags, so you can be sure you’re making the greenest choice available.
When disposed of correctly, compostable plastic will almost completely biodegrade within six months – a big improvement on the 100 plus years a normal plastic bag will take to break down in. However, what happens if they’re sent to landfill is up for debate. Some studies suggest they’ll break down and release methane and others suggest they’ll simply persist.
Ultimately, our compostable bags should ideally be composted instead of sent to landfill. One thing to note though, please don't use your composted doggy waste on any edible plants. It's hard to achieve the temperatures needed to kill off nasty pathogens from poop in home composting, so could be very dangerous if ingested! For those with less space, wormeries work well too.
However, even if not composted, our bags are a much better option for the environment than regular plastic bags, even if both ended up in landfill. Compostable bags are made from a renewable resource (in our case, corn starch), rather than non-renewable petroleum-based plastic. This means we’re replacing fossil-based ingredients with renewable resources. As well, compostable plastics are also less toxic than conventional counterparts.
There’s not a perfect solution – yet! The products we sell are amazing and have been chosen based on a list of carefully selected sustainability criteria, but they aren’t perfect (10 points for anyone that can name a perfect company!). We consider our products the best of what’s currently available and look forward to seeing what better changes can be made in the future!