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What is a "biodegradable" or "degradable" dog waste bag?

It is a dog waste bag that has a chemical added to the plastic that causes the plastic to break up in little bits under certain conditions. A detailed discussion of this technology is available at our blog All Things Dog Waste. (A hint, we agree with the FTC and the State of California, there is a zero chance that this technology works as claimed.)

What is a biohybrid™ dog waste bag?

A biohybrid™ dog waste bag is a bag which is the combination of traditional plastic with renewable plant starch. The amount of starch in the product lessens the amount of traditional plastic.

Why a starch biohybrid™/recycled plastic bag?

This combination provides the positives of renewable material with recycled product. The recycled plastic gets reused. The renewable starch lessens the carbon footprint of the final product.

What type of starch do you use?

Our starch is industrial grade corn starch. It is a similar grade to the starch found in glue.

Is your recycled resin pre-consumer or post-consumer?

The blend that we purchase contains both. I know that some dog bag manufacturers make claims that their products contain high levels of post-consumer recycled content. We have been purchasing recycled resin for a long time. The best we can find are suppliers of blends of both types. The thing that we like about these blends is that they allow us to run quality dog waste bags without the addition of virgin resin. We believe the main focus should be to not use any virgin resin in our dog waste bags.

Is the biohybrid™ dog waste bag "biodegradable"?

No, we do not think "biodegradability" is a desirable characteristic for a dog waste bag. It has to do with the bag disposal method. Most of the landfills in the US are anaerobic, meaning, zero oxygen. Oxygen is necessary for any degree of degradation to take place. The bag might be "biodegradable", but without oxygen, it will just sit there. Also, dog poop contains pathogens. We would rather see the pathogens stay in the bag.

If you are interested in seeing for yourself, Google oxo-degradable additives. You will find the listings for a number of the companies that provide these materials to plastics manufacturers. Explore the posted descriptions of how their products cause the plastic to degrade. You will see repeatedly, "...in the presence of oxygen" as one of the condition requirements for degradation. If oxygen is required and the bags end up in an anaerobic, (zero oxygen) landfill, or a dirt covered, (almost zero oxygen) pit landfill, where will the oxygen come from for the process to take place? Low Oxygen = Low Biodegradation.

Also, have you noticed how the providers of "biodegradable" bags used to say 100% biodegradable, then the claim changed to biodegradable, and now it has changed again to degradable? We believe these changes are a result of actions by the Federal Trade Commission which has ruled the use of these terms to be misleading. The consumer thinks that the product simply goes away and it is not true. Some big fines have been paid by companies that have not been able to prove their product claims. We do not think is it is right to mislead the customer in order to sell a product. The FTC agrees.

Why not use a biodegradable/compostable bag?

Disposal method is again the concern. In an anaerobic landfill, a compostable bag will most likely just sit there.

It is possible to compost dog waste but we are not willing to recommend it unless you know how to do it properly. It goes back to the pathogens. You must know how to kill the pathogens. To do this you must follow a strict protocol concerning temperature and time. People do it successfully but again we urge caution and study. We do provide a compostable bag for composting dog waste.

My city composts waste, won't they take the filled bag if it is made from a certified compostable material?

Check with your individual city but we do not know of any US city that allows dog waste in their general composting program for the reasons noted above. We are currently working with a number of cities that are looking at pilot dog waste composting programs. At a municipal level, we think this could be an interesting dog waste solution.

Please remember, NO dog waste in community green waste programs.

You offer custom printed bags. Where do you see the value of the custom print?

We see the bags as a power tool to present your message to your dog loving customers. Pet stores, veterinarians, groomers, campgrounds, parks, and marinas, all have a story to tell about the goods or services you offer. A custom printed dog waste bag gives you the chance to tell that story every time the bag is used. The recycled nature of the bag is a plus, with the biohybrid™/recycled plastic, being an extra bonus. Your customers will also know that you care about the environment.

Wouldn't a sign above the bag dispenser have the same effect for advertising my business?

NO. Think about it. The user takes the bag. They read your ad. The user plays with their dog for a bit and then reaches into their pocket for the bag. They read your ad again. They pick up the poop...And there is your ad again. They play with their dog a bit and then carry the waste to the can. They read you ad again and this time they think about what a nice thing it was that your business or group provided the bag!

When the advertising is on the sign, the user takes a bag. IF they look at the sign, they may perhaps read your ad....and then go on to play with their dog and forget that they ever saw it. Out of site. Out of mind. Zero payback on your advertising investment.

I will go with the custom printed bag any day. And since it is human nature to like free things, probably the user will take an extra bag home with them. And read your ad again.

What do you think is the future of dog waste disposal?

We believe that landfill disposal will need to come to an end at some point and we welcome that day. Dog waste is actually a wasted resource. We think that the final answer may be both municipal composting and anaerobic digestion.