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Plastic Free July 16th: Poo Bags

Posted by Claire Broadley Dixon on

By popular demand, it's time to look at biodegradable poo bags. Are they better than plastic bags?

So far, we've only stocked one type, the Benevo Biodegradable Poo Bag, which is on the large size as poo bags go.

I would rather have a few more in the box for the sake of a reduction in size, but they're probably designed to cover all breeds.

Eco Dog Poo Bags are a Thing 

The box contains 8 rolls of 15 bags (so 120 in total), with each roll having a recycled card inner spool. The box is recycled card printed with water-based ink; I really like knowing details like this, and I think they're important to mention in the broader context of trying to be more eco friendly.

Benovo poop sacks conform to EN 14342, which means that they meet the EU standard for composability. This is important; EN 13432 is comprised of important tests to see just how biodegradable a product is. For example:

  • After 10 weeks' composting, no more than 10% of fragments remaining are larger than 2mm
  • After 6 weeks' composting, a certain amount of carbon dioxide is produced
  • The product doesn't adversely affect the overall composting process
  • Heavy metals must be within certain limits.

Any compostable bag has to meet these standards to display EN 13432 on the packaging, and these Benovo ones do.

So you can be sure that, in a commercial composter, these bags will only last for a few months or years, max.

What About Home Composting?

It's not a good idea to put poo on a home compost heap, but on a more general point, some biodegradable bags can be composted in the garden rather than at  a commercial composting facility.

This gives us an idea as to whether a poo bag would biodegrade if, for example, it blew into your garden.

In short, a product is only guaranteed to be home compostable if it carries the OK Compost logo.

Other products might be compostable at home, and some might claim to be, but it's confusing, because there is no real standard yet.

In truth, the really important thing is that these poo bags break down in whatever location they find themselves in; the amount I've seen hung on trees and chucked into gardens is ridiculous. And there is no point in bagging up dog poo for 400 years, just as there is no point using plastic bags for biodegradable baby wipes either.

 

The downside is that biodegradable poo bags are more expensive than simple polluting plastic. I've checked a few brands and they all come in at around this price. But as we buy more of them, hopefully this will change.

 

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