Sunday, June 01, 2008

Pooch Pick-Ups a Let Down

It's been almost a year since I started composting Jack and Willy's waste. It's really easy - all I did was dig a hole in the backyard and occasionally put dirt to cover it up. I've gone through 5 compost pockets by now, and the good news is that my pets' waste have really composted into the soil.

I'm glad that I've diverted their waste from entering landfills. But there is a glitch in the system and it all has to do with these biodegradable bags. These pooch pick-up bags are made from cornstarch, and according to the label, these bags biodegrade much faster than ordinary poo bags. When I first heard about this product, I was excited because I thought that meant I could also toss these bags into the compost pocket. But 10-months later, those bags have not biodegraded one bit! My first hunch was that I was doing something wrong, but when I checked the packaging for some instructions, I found none.

I guess my compost pocket doesn't get hot enough to biodegrade these doggie bags. Consequently, my compost pocket now looks like this:

Here's a close-up of what I now consider to be a big, bag mess in my backyard:

Because the bags simply aren't biodegrading fast enough, I've been throwing them away in the garbage. I still toss Jack and Willy's waste into the compost pocket, though. But I'm not happy with these bags. What should I do?

I don't compost my pets' waste into my regular composting bin because I don't want bacteria to contaminate that humus. Because pets lack a pathogenic system, bacteria are released in their stool. And because my composting bin doesn't reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it's not hot enough to kill those bacteria.

This is the only hang-up I've had since I started composting last year. Otherwise, composting has been a cinch. And these guys don't mind being eco-friendly pups!

Jack & Willy


Debbie said...

I bought some of these too and found the same thing. Our dog park switched to these bags for their underground waste tanks, which are said to be flushable. I haven't flushed any, but I do know they begin to disintegrate with any moisture, so much so that some dog park users have had to rush to the tanks to get rid of them. They might suit your needs better. Good luck!

(P.S. They tried BioBags too but those didn't degrade very fast, either.)

Michelle Verges said...

Wow, this sounds like a great idea! I'm going to have to give these bags a try.

These bags remind me of gdiapers, which are flushable diapers that have been certified by the Cradle to Cradle authors.

Very cool!

Thanks for this suggestion!!


Experimentaholic said...

Paper pooch pick up bags. Seriously...Try using liquor store bags they use to wrap wine bottles (at least in PA). I'm sure you have enough of them around - if not you, I sure do, and will donate.

Experimentaholic said...