The Scoop on Dog Poop: Rethinking Plastic BagsPublished October 9, 2012
Do you ever think about what happens to that dog poop you pick up in a plastic grocery bag and toss in the trash? (Kudos to you for actually picking up after your dog!) Though cleaning up dog waste is an important step to prevent the spread of disease, there’s more scoop on dog poop than you might realize.
The average dog eliminates between a half pound and three quarters of a pound per day, which amounts to about ten tons of waste per year. (A trash audit in the Bay Area discovered that dog waste accounts for nearly 4% of total landfill waste.) A key problem in the landfill poop pileup is that the typical grocery store plastic bags most of us use for dog waste take hundreds of years to degrade. The waste is basically being preserved in plastic and clogging the landfills.
Instead of using “time capsule” plastic bags, consider investing in bags that break down over time like biodegradable, compostable or flushable bags. There are many options available on the market, with costs per bag as low as .06 cents. Most biodegradable bags dissolve when exposed to the elements (the good ones can even do so in an anaerobic landfill environment), leaving the waste to break down naturally. Compostable poop bags can be used in back yard compost bins or at municipal composting facilities, though dog waste contains parasites that make it unsuitable for use near edible plants or in topsoil. Finally, flushable bags are an option for homes with enough flushing power and “healthy” sewer lines.
It’s not fun to think about dog poop (and it's even less fun to pick it up!), but as any responsible dog guardian knows, it’s important. Spend a few extra minutes considering how you scoop your poop, and the planet will thank you.