Why Choose Us --- Plasitc bag or better option?

 

Today cleaning up after your dog is the urban norm, so much so that as California considers passing the first state ban on plastic bags, one of the loudest concerns comes from pet owners asking: how will we scoop our dogs' poop?

 

It's not an idle question. America's 83 million pet dogs produce some 10.6 million tons of poop every year. That's enough to fill a line of tractor-trailers from Seattle to Boston, one waste removal service has calculated. Add in litter from our more than 90 million cats, and you've got enough pet waste to fill more than 5,000 football fields ten feet deep.
 

This probably wasn't one of the issues that biologist Eugene Stoermer and ecologist Paul Crutzen had in mind when they coined the term “Anthropocene” to refer to the human impact on the planet. But there's no question that our heavy footprint includes the paw prints of our pets.

True, poop is not exactly an environmental threat on the order of carbon pollution, nuclear waste, or a Superfund site. Still, the risk from poop can be more than just a mess on your shoes. Dogs can harbor lots of viruses, bacteria, and parasites-including harmful pathogens like e coli, giardia and salmonella. (A single gram contains an estimated 23 million bacteria.) Studies have traced 20 to 30 percent of the bacteria in water samples from urban watersheds to dog waste. Just two to three days of waste from 100 dogs can contribute enough bacteria, nitrogen, and phosphorous to close 20 miles of a bay watershed to swimming and shellfishing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It also can get into the air we breathe: a recent study of air samples in Cleveland and Detroit found that 10 to 50 percent of the bacteria came from dog poop.
 

So while the stakes may be lower than say, radioactive waste, the question remains: what do we do with this s**t?
 

It's a question that has nagged me for years as I've followed my dog on walks, plastic bags at the ready. Aimee Christy, a shellfish biologist in Olympia, Washington, has also been grappling with it. She's a dog owner herself, but her real concern stems from her work at the Pacific Shellfish Institute. She helps to safeguard the region's clam, oyster, and mussel beds, which can be polluted by dog poop. Christy was part of a decade-long campaign in Olympia and surrounding Thurston County to encourage people to “SCOOP IT, BAG IT, TRASH IT.” It helped, but not enough. For one month last year, Christy spent many of her lunch breaks picking up dog poop in public parks. She counted her bounty: 1,200 piles of poop. “It was everywhere,” she says.
 

That's because only about 60 percent of dog owners pick up after their pets, according to surveys. Among the excuses offered by the 40 percent who don't pick up: “Because eventually it goes away”; “too much work”; “small dog, small waste”; “it's in the woods”; or, in a reverse NIMBY: “It's in my yard”.
 

Socializing dog owners is the front end of the problem. The back end is what do we do with the poop once it's collected. In most places, it goes to a landfill. There's something unsettling, if not downright disgusting, to think of tons of plastic-wrapped dog turds being entombed underground. What will future civilizations make of our dedication to preserving dog crap?
 

First, a basic truth: Dog waste needs to be picked up. Aside from aesthetic concerns, it's a serious public health issue when washed into streams, particularly smaller streams. Between 10 and 15 percent of all E. coli bacteria found in area creeks stem from pets, studies revealed.
 

So what's the best way? It seems intuitive that using a product made from a fossil-fuel derivative -- polyethylene -- merely to encase fecal matter so it can be deposited in a landfill is a bad thing. But most of the available alternatives -- including several decorated with a green label -- are no kinder to Mother Earth.
 

You'd think putting waste in a biodegradable bag would be better for landfills. That's what manufacturers of such bags, made for dogs, would have you believe. After all, once the bag and its organic contents decompose, they pretty much disappear from the landfill, right?
 

Wrong.

Every year, around 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. 500,000,000,000. Five hundred followed by nine zeros. That's a lot of bags. So many that over one million bags are being used every minute and they're damaging our environment.
 

Big numbers can be daunting so let's put it another way. Every man, woman and child on our planet uses 83 plastic bags every year. That's one bag per person every four and half days. Of those 500 billion bags, 100 billion are consumed in the United States alone.
 

Plastic bags are difficult and costly to recycle and most end up on landfill sites where they take around 300 years to photodegrade. They break down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways and enter the food chain when animals accidentally ingest them.
 

But the problems surrounding waste plastic bags starts long before they photodegrade. Our planet is becoming increasingly contaminated by our unnecessary use of plastic bags.
 

Big black bin liners, plastic carrier bags carrying advertising logos, clear sandwich bags and a variety of other forms are all polluting our environment. They're lightweight, handy and easily discarded. Too easily discarded.
 

While they were rarely found during the 60s and 70s, their usage has increased at an alarming rate since they became popular during the 80s. Just take a look around you. Plastic bags can be seen hanging from the branches of trees, flying in the air on windy days, settled amongst bushes and floating on rivers. They clog up gutters and drains causing water and sewage to overflow and become the breeding grounds of germs and bacteria that cause diseases.
 

But why not put the dog waste where the human waste goes -- in the toilet? When you're picking up dog poop around your yard, you could just take the scooper in the bathroom, and when you're out walking your dog, you could carry special bags that are advertised as flushable.
 
Not so fast, says Portland's master of all things sewage.
 

“It's not a good idea to flush (pet waste) down the toilet,” says Dan Clark, wastewater-treatment manager for Portland. “You're taking capacity out of the sewer system.”
 

Although half of the Big Pipe project is online already, with the other half to become active December 2011, combined sewer overflows can still occur under certain circumstances, Clark says. Circumstances such as really heavy rain and a high volume of waste. The close to a million pets estimated to be living in the metro area surely could increase the volume of waste if their owners started flushing instead of pitching.
 

Aside from the sheer potential volume of it, dog feces also could overload the wastewater treatment plant with their bio-chemical makeup. After all, dogs' diets are different from people's.
 

Dog waste “is not ideally suited for the feedstock,” Clark says. By that he means the bacteria employed in the treatment basins to break down sewage. Dog food contains preservatives different from those in people food, he says, and a lot more inert solids -- filler, in layman's terms.
 

This combination could “upset the biological process” at the treatment plant, he says.
 

His personal opinion: “The best place for this stuff is in a landfill,” he says.
 

That depends on how dedicated the pet owner is to preserving the environment. Because the best place for pet waste is a pet compost pile.
 

That's where some of the pet-store bags come in handy, finally. Some brands are compostable and biodegradable.
 

Ipoopick.com - 100% green product-Made out of 100% recycled organic material, and it is fairly fast biodegrading.The material of bag and the handle is made by recycled paper.
 

You can conveniently carry the bags during walking with your beloved pet dogs. The bag can be folded and put in your pocket,hand or anywhere you feel convenient. The folded bag looks like a envelope,it very easy to carry and use for the samll volume and weight.In case of the bag, it is an eco-friendly product as all the parts of the product are made of recycled paper that is easily degradable if you select it. 

 



References:


“Pet Talk: Potential ban on plastic bags has pet owners wondering the best way to dispose of dog poop”  By Jacques Von Lunen,

Link:http://www.oregonlive.com/pets/index.ssf/2010/08/pet_talk_potential_ban_on_plas.html


“The Poop Problem If we ban plastic bags, some dog owners ask, how will we scoop up after Fido? So let's give them better options. ”  By Susan Freinkel 

Link:http://archive.onearth.org/articles/2014/03/dogs-poop-so-much-that-were-running-out-of-places-to-put-it


“Biodegradation” 

Link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodegradation