Updated: Oct 9
What happened when we buried a degradable, biodegradable and compostable dog poop bag in our garden for six months.
It's December 2020, armed with a trowel, a degradable, biodegradable and compostable dog poo bag I brave the cold and head towards the bottom of the garden.
Why? you might ask. Because fancy graphics/terminology and rants on social media aren't enough, people need visual evidence if they're to believe anything - and I'm on a mission to provide just that.
Each dog poo bag is buried about 4-5 inches deep, labelled and photographed before I head inside for a warming brew. (Black - degradable, Green - biodegradable, Orange - compostable).
This is the part where we'd usually see an awesome time-lapse video coupled with fancy yet dramatic music that'll showcase the change in seasons and mask our outbursts "I'm so tired". As we come to grips with becoming parents for the first time.
It's now July 2021, and I head back down to the garden armed with my trusty trowel, ready to dig up the bags.
No real shock as the degradable dog poo bag is removed. It looks as it did the day I buried it. The same applies to the biodegradable dog poo bag, no visual change.
This did shock me somewhat as these are the bags most people are drawn to. Gotta give credit where it's due, fancy marketing terms and imagery draped all over the packaging are definitely working.
Up next, the compostable dog poo bag. It's worth noting that this was buried outside of ideal composting conditions. Once again I was surprised, but pleasantly as the bag felt brittle - it just tore/snapped during extraction.
As you can see the results are somewhat shocking. But for me, this wasn't enough I was still curious, Are the bags still functional? Has been buried in the ground had any effect on them at all?
Better still could they pass the ultimate test? Bring on the soup tin challenge.
As you can see from the video the degradable bag is perfectly fine to use. Once again the shock of the experiment was provided by the biodegradable bag - perfectly usable, no signs of weakness either.
The clear winner despite not being placed into ideal composting conditions is the compostable dog poo bag. Clear signs that the bag has begun to break down, is completely usable and crumbles upon touch.
I hope that this experiment helps shed some light on the difference between the bags and leads to a more eco-friendly decision.
Should you choose to switch to compostable dog poo bags, feel free to use the code blog post to save 10%.
Read on for even more information regarding the make-up of each bag.
Discover the difference
Degradable - Made from plastic - generally polyethene. Very misleading as everything is degradable (your car, rots eventually doesn't it). Can take up to 1000 years to break down - during which micro-plastics are left behind which pollute the soil, oceans and waterways. Biodegradable - Made from petroleum, chemicals and additional micro-organisms. There is no set time frame regarding the degradation process to which the bags have to adhere to. Concerns over the releasing of methane gas into the atmosphere when placed in landfills.
Compostable - Made from renewable sources (corn starch). Has to adhere to strict European standards - Within 12 weeks no more than 10% of the original material remains in pieces bigger than 2mm, along with zero contamination of the soil. *Results based on ideal composting conditions. Leaves behind ZERO micro-plastics, just soil-enriching nutrients. Fun fact - All things labelled compostable are in fact biodegradable, but all things labelled biodegradable aren't actually compostable.
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