Some of you may know that both Steph and myself at Eco Passion both have dogs and we met while walking them. As any good dog owner will know, you tend to have pockets full of poo bags to collect the delightful droppings. Some of you might use the little rolls from the Chinese shops, others re-use bags from the supermarket or pharmacy but one way or another we usually have pockets of plastic and we tend to get through quite a few!
From our visit to the local Urbaser recycling plant, we found that in the machines used there, the organic matter is usually removed (lovely!) in a special tubular machine but the plastic cannot be recycled and so will end up in landfill. One bag a day over an average 10 year lifetime of a dog will mean each dog owner could contribute 3,650 bags to landfill, double it for twice a day or two dogs and we're soon reaching a roomful. That's not to mention the bags that are left falling out of bins or under bushes or on the beach, ready to be washed into the ocean and cause havoc.
We wanted to research some eco alternatives to the prolific poo bag so we started to look into various products.
It's pretty tricky to avoid plastic or plastic-style bags. There are paper ones on the market, but they are not cheap and the manufacturer didn't respond to us about wholesale options, though personally I like the idea of these :)
We also contacted a few British sellers of eco poo bags, but a lot of them are manufactured in China. And others were made from oxo-biodegradable material which only breaks the plastic down into smaller particles quicker by using an additive, rather than allowing it to biodegrade altogether.
Then finally we found the perfect solution, a bag made locally in Spain from a material that comes from the fermentation of corn. The bags are certified biodegradable and compostable.
Being compostable, however, doesn't mean you can throw them in your compost bin and they will dissolve, and we don't have industrial composting facilities here, so, there is every likelihood they will end up landfilled if you dispose of them properly in a bin.
But, the benefits are:
1) they won't contaminate a plastic recycling batch as they are already too soiled to be recycled
2) the procedure to make them is far less polluting than plastic production and doesn't use a finite source as the crops can be re-grown. Plant-based materials such as these can use 60% less energy to be made than plastic
3) if they end up in the environment and not in a bin, they will eventually biodegrade fully, at a rate dependent on the conditions
They also retail at an affordable price and come in handy rolls of 30 and are packaging free so minimal waste there as well. A set of five rolls (270 bags) will set you back only 9€ and you can order online here with free local collection or delivery between Gibraltar and Estepona.