Day 238 – It’s estimated that there are around 900 million dogs in the world. That means there are a lot of bowls to fill, walks to be taken and poop to clean up. As this blog as mentioned on numerous occasions, I have been on a mission to make my home more environmentally friendly. Just taking the recyclables out to the recycle bin was just not cutting it. So, as I made my way around the house making changes that would benefit the planet, I came across the dog poop issue. I thought I solved the problem by purchasing 100% biodegradable and certified compostable poop bags. Unfortunately, as I was doing research on my biodegradable trash bags (Day 12), I found out a very important fact. Unless that biodegradable/compostable bag is finding its way to a commercial composter and not the landfill, it will not breakdown very easily. Oxygen and warm temperatures are needed in the composting process. Since these two important factors are missing in the landfill, these bags end up staying intact for a very long time.
I looked up commercial composting facilities that deal in dog waste and found nothing in my city or state. There are very few in the country. I looked into at-home dog waste composting systems and they did not appear to be ideal, especially living in a rather dense city dwelling. I’m sure the neighbors would not have appreciated that very much. I even looked up information about flushing dog waste down the toilet. From what I read it was not advised. Also, leaving where it lies is never a good option. People like myself that are magnets for stepping in poop, really do not appreciate those that do not pick up after their dogs. Not to mention there are health concerns connected to not properly disposing of dog waste.
My final solution was to try to minimize the number of bags I put in the trash. Since my dogs prefer to go number two in the backyard, this option was the easiest for us. So, I purchased a small metal garbage can. Once, the waste is picked up the bag goes in the can. I continue to use the same bag until it is filled. I used to use around two to three bags a day, wanting to make sure I kept the backyard clean of dog waste. Now we use one bag every two to three days*. If you do the math, we are down to under 150 bags a year instead of using over 1,000 bags.
As for those biodegradable/compostable poop bags, I will continue to use them. Since, Doogy Be Good bags are made from cornstarch and other bio-based components, when they do eventually breakdown, they will not be releasing any toxic chemicals.
On this National Dog Day find ways that you and your dog can help be more environmentally friendly.
*During the summer months, bag use increases compared to the cooler months. I don’t think I need to explain why.
Tomorrow, the importance of extended producer responsibility.