It’s a bright morning and you are walking your dog. It suddenly stopped and threw a dump on the sidewalk. Being the responsible dog owner that you are, you took out your plastic poop bag and picked up your dog’s mess. Now, here is the question: how do you dispose of the plastic dog poop bag with poop in it?
Throwing out a filled plastic dog poop bag creates more problems than you can imagine. You could not throw it in a non-biodegradable bin because the content is biodegradable. You also shall not throw it in a biodegradable bin because the plastic bag isn’t. Separating the two would be one solution, but it is messy and stinky work to regularly do.
The major problem of using a single-use plastic bag as a poop bag is its negative impact on our environment. The plastic can quickly fill landfills or end up in our waterways and even in the ocean where it can harm our marine wildlife.
The best solution for this problem is to use a better alternative to a single-use plastic dog poop bag. One of the best alternatives is the use of compostable plastic dog poop bags.
What Is a Compostable Dog Poop Bag?
A compostable dog poop bag is made up of organic and natural materials such as cornstarch, cassava or potato starches. These materials are biodegradable and break down easily and safely without releasing any toxins into the environment. Even the ink used to print on a compostable poop bag is soy-based, which is also safe and compostable.
The compostable dog poop bags in Australia are made following the Australian Standard (AS) 5810. It means that the bags have minimum biodegradation of 90% and can be naturally decomposed in home composts.
Compostable versus Plastic Dog Poop Bags
Compostable dog poop bags are as lightweight, as sturdy and as useful as plastic ones. They both serve the same purposes and can be used the same way. They even look almost the same.
The only difference is that the compostable dog poop bags are environmentally-friendly and the plastic ones are harmful to the environment. Compostable dog poop bags naturally disintegrate and decompose without producing any harmful chemicals. Plastic bags, on the other hand, take a long time to decompose and as they do, harmful chemicals are released throughout the slow process.
How Long Does It Take for Compostable Dog Poop Bags to Decompose?
Compostable dog poop bags can be decomposed through a home compost and industrial or commercial composting facilities.
In a home compost, compostable dog poop bags can disintegrate after 180 days and biodegrade after 12 months. In composting facilities, the process takes a shorter time. Compostable dog poop bags can disintegrate as early as 12 weeks and fully biodegrade after 6 months.
Home composts take a longer time to decompose the materials because they are in a natural and uncontrolled environment. Industrial or commercial compost facilities contain special equipment that can control the factors involved in the decomposition process such as the temperature and the air supplies.
Once they turn into composts, they can be used as natural fertilisers that can enrich the soil and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria and fungi.
How Do Compostable Dog Poop Bags Decompose?
Compostable items such as dog poop bags can quickly decompose with the help of bacteria and other microorganisms, as well as exposure to oxygen, heat and UV light.
The decomposition starts with the fragmentation process or the breakdown of the material into smaller pieces. Then the water-soluble materials from the pieces seep into the soil and precipitate in the process of leaching. Catabolism starts which is the conversion of the material into simpler organic compounds with the help of natural enzymes.
Humus is then produced through humification. Lastly, humus is degraded and turned into inorganic nutrients that are very beneficial to the soil as a natural fertiliser.
Being responsible for your pets also means being responsible for the environment you are in. The use of compostable dog poop bags to lick up after your pets is one way to help the environment.
This alternative to plastic can easily decompose and biodegrade in a maximum span of one year compared to the many harmful years it takes for a single plastic to decompose.
So, the next time you are walking your dog, reach out for your compostable dog poop bags and know that you are helping create a safe environment for yourself and your pets.