What is the Difference Between Degradable and Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags?

We’re all looking for ways in which we can lead more environmentally-friendly lives. Thanks to the work of activists like Sir David Attenborough on one end of the spectrum, and Greta Thunberg on the other, we know that our choices can have consequences for the planet. Sometimes, these choices can be as small as the choice between degradable and biodegradable dog poop bags. But what’s the difference? And why does it matter? Read on to find out.

What are Degradable Dog Poop Bags?

The term ‘degradable’ dog poop bags is a bit of a misnomer; give it hundreds, often thousands of years, and yes, these bags might eventually break down. On a human timescale, however, degradable dog poop bags are those that get thrown in with general waste, and end up in landfill sites. Degradable dog poop bags are made from single-use plastics, and have become popular thanks to their sturdiness and cheapness.

What are Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags?

As the name might suggest, ‘biodegradable’ dog poop bags contain an organic component. They’re typically made from plastics with additives that facilitate quicker breakdown. Under aerobic conditions, microorganisms will digest and break down these biodegradable dog poop bags using natural processes. Are biodegradable dog poop bags more sustainable, then? Well, yes and no, but unfortunately, more no than it is yes…

Why Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags Don’t Solve Everything

For some people, they hear the word ‘biodegradable’ and automatically think that must equate to sustainability. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t always the case – at least when it comes to dog poop bags. The reason? Virtually all dog poop bags end up in landfills when thrown into the various bins provided for their disposal.

The conditions present at a landfill site prevent the biodegradation process from occurring; most organisms require aerobic (with oxygen present) conditions in order to metabolize/breakdown the fibers of the biodegradable dog poop bags. Because of the pressure and compaction of material on a landfill heap, however, conditions tend to be anaerobic (without oxygen) so that breakdown can’t take place.

Another Alternative

That means those biodegradable dog poop bags tend to degrade at exactly the same rate as their virgin-plastic, degradable counterparts, rendering the ‘biodegradable’ essentially obsolete. An alternative to biodegradable and degradable dog poop bags is recycled plastic dog poop bags. Whilst these may still degrade at the same snail’s pace that the aforementioned bag types do, these have the benefit in that they’re not adding any new plastic into the ecosystem.

The Greenest Alternative? Compostable Dog Poop Bags


The greenest dog poop bags you can go for are compostable dog poop bags. These are typically made from corn starch fibers (or their derivatives) and naturally break down when placed into a well-oxygenated home compost set up.

Just bag up your dog’s poop in a compostable poop bag, and chuck it onto the compost pile, then let nature do its thing. It’s important to note that dog poop should only be used for compost that won’t be used on fruits or vegetables, or any other plants intended for consumption.

If you are on the look out, we are a big fan of Beco pets compostable poop bags.

The Future of Dog Poop Disposal

Hopefully, moving forward, the Government and local authorities will source more sustainable methods for dog poop disposal, besides landfills – and in fairness to many LAs, they are increasingly looking into this – but until that day, home composting is the most sustainable method for you out there. We understand that it’s a little more effort, but if those green credentials are important to you, then your little bit of effort can go a long way.

Final Thoughts…

So, there you have it! Now you should know the difference between degradable and biodegradable dog poop bags, how sustainable they both are (or aren’t) as well as other options such as compostable dog poop bags.

Whichever dog poop bag you use, however, it’s important that you do use one; part of being a responsible and conscientious dog owner is picking up after their mess, because nobody else is going to do it if you don’t.

Kevin Sando
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