Do your dog waste disposal bags claim to be biodegradable?  The following article says that it’s not likely that they truly are.  Apparently many of these bags used to claim to be biodegradable, but the FTC has made them change how they advertise this because there has not yet been a product invented that is truly biodegradable under standard disposal conditions.  In order for them to truly break down the way they are made to, they need more oxygen than they can get in your average landfill.  For this reason, companies have had to change their claim of being biodegradable.  So then, is there a better option?  It doesn’t sound like there is at this point in time.  It sounds like every option we currently have, that is realistic for your average person, will just sit in the landfill with all of the other garbage.  There is a way to compost it, but it involves more than your standard composting.  To learn more, read the following article.

 

DOG WASTE BAGS FAQ’S

What is a “biodegradable” or “degradable” dog waste bag? It is a dog waste bag that has a chemical added to the plastic that causes the plastic to break up in little bits under certain conditions. Does it truly and completely biodegrade? We do not think so. The US Federal Trade Commission agrees with us.

Our company knowledge of biodegradable plastics goes well beyond dog waste bags. We have been working in the field of compostable plastic materials for many years. Currently a biodegradable agricultural mulch film that we designed is part of an on- going study by a group of American Universities, funded by the US Government. While our mulch film does biodegrade out in farm fields, using it for a dog waste bag would not work due to the anaerobic nature of our landfills. Biodegradable plastics need oxygen to biodegrade. You can read more about that below.

What is a biohybridTM dog waste bag? A biohybridTM dog waste bag is a dog waste bag which is made from the combination of traditional plastic and renewable bio based resin. In our case, the bio based portion of our product is derived from starch. The addition of biobased materials lessens the amount of plastic made from non-renewable resources used in the bag. A biohybrid dog waste bag is not designed to break up into little bits.

Why combine recycled plastic with biobased material? The combination of the two creates the most earth-friendly product we have been able to come up with. The recycled plastic gets reused. The biobased material helps lessen the amount of fossil fuels used. Additionally, it is a challenge to work with recycled plastic. We know it is the right thing to do, but using it can be difficult in the manufacturing process. Adding the bio based resin, helps with potential manufacturing problems and increases the quality of the printing and sealing of the bags.

Is your recycled resin pre-consumer or post-consumer? The blend that we purchase contains both. I know that some dog bag manufacturers make claims that their products contain high levels of post-consumer recycled content. We have been purchasing recycled resin for a long time. The best we can find are suppliers of blends of both types. The thing that we like about these blends is that they allow us to run quality dog waste bags without the addition of virgin resin. We believe the main focus should be to not use virgin resin in our dog waste bags.

Are your dog waste bags “biodegradable”? No, we do not think “biodegradability” is a desirable characteristic for a dog waste bag. It has to do with the bag disposal method. Most of the landfills in the US are anaerobic, meaning, zero oxygen. Oxygen is necessary for any degree of degradation to take place. The bag might be “biodegradable”, but without oxygen, it will just sit there. Also dog poop contains pathogens. We would rather see the pathogens stay in the bag. Have you noticed how the providers of “biodegradable” bags used to say 100% biodegradable, then the claim changed to biodegradable, and now it has changed again to degradable? We believe these changes are a result of actions by the Federal Trade Commission which has ruled the use of these terms to be misleading. The consumer thinks that the product simply goes away and it is not true. We do not think is it is right to mislead the customer in order to sell a product. The FTC agrees.

Why not use a biodegradable/compostable/ASTMD-6400 bag? Disposal method is again the concern. In an anaerobic landfill a compostable bag will most likely just sit there. Worse yet, if there is some oxygen available, it will likely turn into methane gas. Not good. It is possible to compost dog waste but we are not willing to recommend it unless you know how to do it properly. It goes back to the pathogens. You must know how to kill the pathogens. To do this you must follow a strict protocol concerning temperature and time. People do it successfully but again we urge caution and study. If you want to pursue dog waste composting, a good place to start would be The Pet Poo Pocket Guide by Rose Seeman.

My city composts waste, won’t they take the filled bag if it is made from a certified compostable material? Check with your individual city but we do not know of any US city that allows dog waste in their general composting program for the reasons noted above. We are currently working with a number of cities that are looking at pilot dog waste composting programs. At a municipal level, we think this could be an interesting dog waste solution. Please remember, NO dog waste in community green waste programs.

What do you think is the future of dog waste disposal? We believe that landfill disposal will need to come to an end at some point and we welcome that day. Dog waste is actually a wasted resource. We think that the final answer may be both municipal dog waste composting and anaerobic digestion.

• DOG WASTE POOP BAGS THAT REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE RESOURCES PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT WITH EACH POOP PICKUP •