When talking about dog poop (yes, we dog-owners talk about dog poop), many questions arise; Among them, what differences exist between dog poop bags. What does degradable, biodegradable, and compostable mean? Are they synonymous?
The truth is that they are not, not at all! And knowing their differences will help you choose the best dog poop bags, those that not only prevent leaks and dirty fingers, but also take care of the environment at the same time.
Degradable Dog Poop Bags
Degradable bags, also known as fragmented bags, are made of plastic and other chemicals that can include petroleum or heavy metals. Its difference from traditional plastic bags is that they include certain substances that help them to break down and disintegrate over time.
However, this does not mean that they do not pollute. In fact, when they disintegrate they do so into thousands of small plastic particles, so tiny that the human eye cannot perceive them, but they remain in the environment.
As you can imagine, this is not very good, as it is difficult to clean thousands of small plastic particles.
Biodegradable bags are, for the most part, made of natural materials, although some may also include petroleum derivatives. This depends on each particular bag.
Basically, biodegradable bags initiate the breakdown process through the enzymatic action of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae that can break down.
Being biodegradable means that the bag will decompose in the presence of oxygen to give carbon dioxide, water, mineral salts in any element present (mineralization) and new biomass; or in the absence of oxygen to give carbon dioxide, methane, mineral salts, and new biomass.
However, not all bags are the same, since each one has a certain speed of biodegradability. In general, it is said that they take between 2 and 5 years to degrade.
Compostable dog poop bags
Here we come in with our Give a Sh! T bags. Wondering why they are different from biodegradable bags? Compostable bags can, as the name implies, be used to make compost. That is, you can pick up your dog's poop and create your own compost bin at home to get premium food for your inedible plants.
In order for a bag to be used to make compost, it must meet established quality standards that indicate the time in which the breakdown process must begin. This means that a compostable bag degrades much faster than one that is simply biodegradable.
If it is compostable, it means that this material is biologically degraded producing carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at the same rate as the rest of the organic matter that is being composted with it, without leaving visible or distinguishable toxic residues.
In the case of our compostable poop bags, the break-down begins at 90 days. Quick, right?
A scientific study published in Environ. Sci. Technol., in 2019, examined biodegradable, oxo-biodegradable, compostable, and high-density polyethylene (i.e., a conventional plastic carrier bag) materials over a 3-year period.
The analyzed materials were exposed in three natural environments; open-air, buried in soil, and submersed in seawater, as well as in controlled laboratory conditions.
In the marine environment, the compostable bag completely disappeared within 3 months. However, the same compostable bag type was still present in the soil environment after 27 months, but could no longer hold weight without tearing.
NOTE: It is worth noting that the exact conditions to which the bag was exposed are not clarified. At Give a Sh!t we always point out that our bags start to degrade within 3 months in a compost bin.
Which dog poop bag to choose: degradable, biodegradable, or compostable?
What a complicated question! Difficult to answer because for us it is clear that there is no better option than compostable bags, but of course: our bags are.
You have to come to a conclusion yourself. If you want to take care of the planet, opt for the option that leaves less waste and that begins its decomposition faster. Have you already reached a conclusion? 😉