If You Use Biodegradable Poop Bags, You Need to Read This...
UPDATED FEBRUARY 22, 2021
Updated by 
https://www.rover.com/blog/reviews/truth-about-biodegradable-poop-bags/

If you’re anything like me, you pick up your dog’s waste in a green poop bag, toss it in the trash bin, and feel pretty good. Ater all, you’re helping the environment while cleaning up after your pooch. Unfortunately, according to the Federal Trade Commission, there’s something stinky in the world of “biodegradable” poop bag manufacturers.

According to a press release made by the FTC in 2015, marketers of dog waste bags “may be deceiving consumers with the use of their unqualified ‘biodegradable’ claim.” If a product says it’s biodegradable, consumers like you and me probably think it will break down in the trash or composting bin. But due to unregulated guidelines and misleading packaging, it’s possible the poop bags you’re using aren’t as earth-friendly as they seem.

ASTM International standards determine the level to which plastics are biodegradable, and not all poop bags degrade quickly or safely according to these standards. And even the poop bags that meet their most stringent criteria, ASTM D6400 (given to products that actually compost), most are only able to biodegrade under a very specific set of conditions, usually at an industrial composting facility or a dog waste-only composting bin.

So, what’s a responsible dog owner to do? Is there such a thing as a poop bag that’s good for the environment? We’ve got the scoop on earth-friendly poop bags and how to use them.

Rover The Original Poop Bags

The Original Poop Bags

These certified biobased bags are one of the cleanest and greenest on the market, which is why we carry them at the Rover store.

Shop on The Rover Store

Why “Biodegradable” Can Be Misleading

According to the FTC’s Green Guide, which provides information to companies on how to truthfully market earth-friendly products, “a marketer making an unqualified degradable claim should have competent and reliable scientific evidence that the entire item will completely break down and return to nature…within a reasonably short period of time.” In other words, poop bag manufacturers should be able to prove that their product biodegrades as promised. And that’s simply not possible for many brands.

Unfortunately, many poop bags that claim to be earth-friendly or biodegradable don’t actually break down within a year, and some never degrade at all.

But it’s not necessarily the poop bag’s fault. Even the very best, most scientifically-proven biodegradable plastics won’t degrade in a landfill, where compression and lack of oxygen lead to “mummification” of garbage. To get the best results from earth-friendly poop bags, you have to dispose of them correctly.

Due to the controversy over labeling, and evolving laws and regulations on a state-by-state basis, some poop bag companies have changed the language on their labels. For example, PoopBags.com no longer includes the term “biodegradable” on their packaging, even though their plant-based poop bags are certified biobased and compliant with the ASTM D6400 standard.

How Not to Scoop the Poop

I know what you’re thinking: isn’t there only one way to use a poop bag? It’s not how you scoop the poop that matters, but how you throw it away. It takes a little extra legwork to maximize a poop bag’s earth-friendliness. First, here are a few “don’ts” of dog doo-doo disposal:

  • Don’t throw poop bags in the regular trash, where they’ll end up in a landfill
  • Don’t put them in your home garden compost, as animal waste contains pathogens that can be harmful to humans
  • Don’t put them in municipal yard waste bins, as most city compost facilities do not allow pet waste

For biodegradable poop bags to work effectively, they need to be disposed of correctly.

How to Be a Super Scooper

Here are some ways to make the best use of biodegradable pet waste bags:

  • Use a dog-waste-only composting bin. There are several commercial options like the Doggie Dooley on the market, but you can also make your own with supplies available at your local home and garden store. While pet waste compost should never be used on edible plants, it can be great fertilizer for decorative gardens! (Seattle even has a start-up, Poogooder, that aims to curb improperly-disposed-of poop and “become a catalyst for local governments to start implementing dog-poo composting capabilities.” You can read more about it here.)
  • Flush it. Yes, depending on where you live, you can flush dog poop in water-soluble waste bags. Just be sure to check with your municipal sewage guidelines, double-triple check your bags are the right kind, and never flush pet waste into a septic tank.
  • Bury it. This option works best if you live in a rural area with space away from the house. Waste should be buried at least five inches underground, away from vegetable gardens and water sources.
  • Transport it to an industrial composting facility that accepts pet waste, or hire a waste removal company that does the dirty work for you (for example, Portland’s Green Pet Compost Company).

Of course, you can also forgo the bag completely. Using a hand-held scoop or shovel to transfer dog waste from the ground to a composting bin, toilet, or hole in the ground may be the most earth-friendly option. But let’s be realistic: for those of living and working in densely populated areas, the poop bag is the way to go. We just need to use them correctly.

The Best Earth-Friendly Poop Bags Available

Okay, so you’ve considered all of the above—but you know that, realistically, the easiest way to deal with dog poop is to bag it and toss it. Here are a few bags that meet the highest standards for eco-friendliness, and most are made with biobased and/or recycled materials, vegetable based-inks, and/or meet the restrictive ASTM D6400 standard.

However, keep in mind that unless they’re disposed of properly (as detailed above), it’s a moot point for your carbon footprint.

The Original Poop Bags

OK Compost-certified The Original Poop Bags come in a four-pack of 15 bags per roll and is so you can toss it and forget about it. We love this paired with the equally-earth-friendly Hydrant Poop Bag Dispenser.

Rover The Original Poop Bags

The Original Poop Bags

These certified biobased bags are one of the cleanest and greenest on the market, which is why we carry them at the Rover store.

Shop on The Rover Store

BioBag Pet Waste Bags

BioBag Pet Waste Bags are made out of a resin derived from plants, vegetable oils, and compostable polymers, and break down completely under the right conditions. The company also makes great household garbage bags and kitchen compost liners from the same material.

BioBag biodegradable dog poop bags

BioBag Pet Waste Bags

Plant-based BioBag Pet Waste Bags break down completely under the right conditions.

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Earth Rated Poop Bags

Earth Rated Poop Bags‘ plant-based, compostable waste bags are made from vegetables. As a eco-friendly bonus, the packaging and cores are also made from recycled materials to reduce their environmental impact.

Earth Rated Poop Bags

Earth Rated Poop Bags

Vegetable-based and unscented, Earth Rated’s compostable pet poop bags also come in recycled packaging.

Find on Chewy

Doodie Flush Poop Bags

If you’re looking for a non-toxic flushable option, Doodie Flush Poop Bags are durable yet designed to start to break down when introduced to water.

Doodie Flush Poop Bags

Doodie Flush Poop Bags

Designed to break down in water and be flushable, you can also compost or trash these poo bags.

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BeyondGreen Bags

Made with USDA certified bio-based material, these poop bags by BeyondGreen are compostable and higher strength than plastic bags. They’re a great non-toxic option, using corn, vegetable oils, and water-based inks (for the print).

BeyondGreen

BeyondGreen Bags

These certified bio-based bags are made with non-toxic ingredients including corn and vegetable oils.

Find on Chewy
Top poop bags

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bioDOGradable Bags

bioDOGradable Bags

Hi Angel,

Thank you for the great feedback and sharing on how our bags would save the environment from harmful plastics!

Thank you,

bioDOGradable Bags Team

Angel Bogart

Angel Bogart

The most exciting news you shared about modern pet waste bags for those living in densely populated urban centers is that they come in biodegradable plant-based forms that could feed your garden compost well. This is just the sort of pet waste bags that my dad would love to get for Blacky and Browny so that their poop goes straight to his backyard garden compost pit. Not only would this save the environment from harmful plastic, but would also provide his cacti and succulent collection with the best natural fertilizer without even having to buy one. https://peekapoo.us/products/black-large-peek-a-poo-handy-mesh-carry-all-for-dog-walkers

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