What have you done for the Environment Today?

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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,552
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Exeter
No the poo without bag because the bag is plastic. Only in the wild not pavement. Any plastic including biodegradable ones stick around in the environment for a very long time. Despite dog poo being disgusting and potentially harmful it's still going to degrade decades before plastic will. Get it out of the way it'll do less harm than plastics.

In case anyone is still confused about what I'm saying. I do n not say bag it then throw that away

I'll admit , I find your writing style incredibly difficult to follow and understand.
 

daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
1,400
458
South Wales
I've always thought that biodegradable plastic of any kind should be banned for use as dog poo bags. All it does is encourage people to chuck the bag in the hedge as they think it will disappear in a few days. Someone locally started a nice heap of them at a pinch point in the path and they were there piling up for well over a year before the council had to come in and clean it up. I've got two toddlers so dog crap is a constant nightmare for me at the moment. Even places where dogs aren't allowed aren't free of it. I used the plant starch bags for a while but our local authority incinerate all our waste now so paying twice as much for plastic-free bags seems like a waste of money.
But anyway to change the subject a bit; I've been doing a bit of work for a kids' youth football club locally as they create a new pitch by levelling some land they're leasing from the council. I saw this in the spoil which tells you a lot about plastic and how long it will last if it isn't recycled and the use of it reduced. I'm not sure of the exact age but washing up liquid hasn't cost one shilling and nine for quite a while now.
20210511-102233.jpg
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,552
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Exeter
It will do less harm to whom? No, if you're on a public right of way, town, park, or in the country, bag it up and bin it or take it home and bin it. I am tired of walking on country paths and seeing dog mess left around just because the owners think it's OK to leave it in the 'country'.

Canal tow paths are a good example - I fear getting out of the canoe a lot of the time; it's often impossible to find a grass bank that's clean. I've also seen dog owners 'flick' it into the water :(

Agreed - I wonder if Dog walkers whom follow this kind of logic would then object to me having a dump outside and just leaving it there.

I mean...its biodegradable right? Its nature right? So , its all natural. :)
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,150
963
Lancashire
Cornstarch plastic bags. One of the types of plastic bags tested that was still strong enough to use after a year in the ground, in the air, in seawater and in fresh water according to that research I read. The marketing does sound convincing though.

Why are supermarkets not just switching to these types of plastic bags if they're really safe for the environment to use and dispose of in standard waste? They're about reducing plastic bags and supermarkets aren't exactly organizations at the forefront of environmental action. I think some smaller chains might but the big ones with money to be look into matters are not.

My question to you is if there was a non plastic option that was practical would you use it or keep using these types of plastics?
 

daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
1,400
458
South Wales
Supermarkets are changing to that type of plastic and the use of it is evolving constantly as experience changes and newer materials become available. You now see some labelled 'home compostable' and some labelled 'put in your council food waste bin'. Note the word compostable doesn't mean just buried in the ground. Composting has a very specific heat and moisture requirement compared to natural decomposition. I've added a few to my heaps and apart from making it harder to stir for a while they do break down relatively quickly. Some stuff does need a much higher temperature to break down though which is why they say not to compost it at home.
If people weren't so obsessed with their own convenience then supermarket carrier bags wouldn't even be a thing anymore. It's been 10 years now since the bag ban was introduced in Wales and I still see the majority of people refusing or forgetting to bring their own bags every time I go to the supermarket. It's a bit pathetic really.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,150
963
Lancashire
European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors produced an opinion based on state of current research. I just admit I only read part of executive summary which recommendation 1 is quoted below. I've not found the report I mentioned above but perhaps it's in this report somewhere.

EC report on biodegradable plastic - launch link page

Recommendation 1
Limit the use of BDPs in the open environment to specific applications
for which reduction, reuse, and recycling are not feasible
1.1 Prioritize reduction, reuse and recycling of plastics before considering
biodegradation
1.2 Limit use of BDP in the open environment to specific applications where
collection from the open environment is not feasible
1.3 Do not consider BDPs as solution for inappropriate waste management or
littering
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,150
963
Lancashire
I think I'll disagree with the consensus here that these plastics are a solution to single use plastics.

I refuse to link to a Greenpeace report on the matter but they highlight some very significant issues with BDPs such as used in dog poo bags? Not least the production issues and it's impact on the environment. Most of these plastics use grown sources of starch which is an issue. They have several stages of production which usually happens in different locations with a lot of movement between, another issue. They use chemical additives to produce the necessary properties, potentially another issue for the environment. Disposal cycles aren't in place in the Western Europe let alone elsewhere. It's not something you can just leave to degrade in nature without a significant potential to cause harm like conventional single use plastics. Another issue.

The whole idea is it degrades by photo or oxi degradation to small enough particles to be broken down into co2 and methane by micro organisms in nature. However in the wild or when left to nature these plastics do not break down into small enough particles to completely break down by nature before the bioaccumulate and cause long term harm. They basically need to be properly disposed of which isn't possible where those waste streams aren't in place. Your best hope is for them to be disposed of with conventional plastics in those disposal streams such as burning them.

I see BDPs as a cop out. A way to signal companies are being environmentally aware but the reality is they're paying just a little more to effectively green wash the use of plastics for single use.
 
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Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
202
118
Devon
Well, reality is we need to pick up poops, unless societally we decide to eliminate dogs or decide to eliminate the need pick up after them...

So given that the production of the bags in general isn't going to be good either way, I'm sure the reduced impact of plastic nasties by going compostable is better than not...imo anyway.
 
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Tony

White bear (Admin)
Admin
Apr 16, 2003
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www.bushcraftuk.com
Planted 5 new trees, 2 plum, 1 apple (to help the other apple trees) and 2 pears. It wasn't today but very recently, it's a contribution to habitat and insect life as we also planted a couple of...Err, can't remember the names - Bushes, that are good for attracting bees etc.

Being fairly rural with a biggish garden it's lovely having the space to plant etc.

Although we did move down to one vehicle start of last year and that can be a pain sometimes living here :D But, saves money and reduces pollution.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,331
345
Devon
It wasn't today but very recently, it's a contribution to habitat and insect life as we also planted a couple of...Err, can't remember the names - Bushes, that are good for attracting bees etc.

Buddleja?

I tried a packet of seeds them and managed to get a couple of dozen plants ready to go out for less than £3. (But a fair bit of work growing them on).

I'll be planting a few groups of them out soon and hopefully they're provide the butterflies, moths, bees etc with some late season food.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,150
963
Lancashire
Well, reality is we need to pick up poops, unless societally we decide to eliminate dogs or decide to eliminate the need pick up after them...

So given that the production of the bags in general isn't going to be good either way, I'm sure the reduced impact of plastic nasties by going compostable is better than not...imo anyway.
I think you missed the point, right now plastic is simply plastic. This biodegradable phrase means very little in real terms. It is not a better option than picking up poop with non-biodegradable plastic bags. It goes into the same waste stream, assuming you throw it away responsibly and it gets dealt with as you'd hope for. This means it is highly unlikely to be dealt with in a way that the biodegradability will happen as promoted quick enough not to accumulate in a similar way not normal plastic.

Also, looking into it further, there are no standards for biodegradable plastic. It can be the latest and most effective technology or just a marketing label with no backing behind the label. If you can find the manufacturer of the specific plastic as opposed to the manufacturer of the plastic item then you would think you can not get a technical dataset and SDS. Trust me you cannot. I've tried with one of the big, global players in one of the better technologies. There is only independent, academic vresearch into the materials and the safety for the environment. The current best advice is that it is safer to treat as normal plastic and dispose in a way that is likely to result in recycling or effective/ safe disposal.

I am sorry if it is labouring the point but there's no environmental single use plastic. A retired teacher I know once told me that she uses biodegradable plastic poop bags but she knows it's not much better so she tries to empty the contents, wash it out and reuse. She aims for 3 or more uses before it is no longer good to use. If you use SUP even biodegradable ones try doing this. Reduce, reuse, recycle applies to all plastics.

You get natural materials for reusable food bags and wraps such as greaseproof paper, hemp bags, etc. I wonder if there's any similar available for dog poop bags.
 

daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
1,400
458
South Wales
I think there's quite a few battles with plastic that could be fought and won before the issue of dog poop bags becomes the real priority. We've used washable nappies for both kids along with washable baby wipes and napkins etc. Every midwife, doctor or health visitor we've dealt with has said we're the only ones they know of that's using them. Everyone else is using disposable nappies that come in plastic bags, wrapping them in plastic nappy bags when they're used and putting those bags in a bigger plastic bag, and using disposable wipes with more plastic wrappers. I know washable nappies aren't perfect and aren't ideal for all parents but I think we could reduce at least 50% of waste if people were willing to give it a go. That would be a massive amount of waste too given how much each kid gets through every day.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,150
963
Lancashire
It's not an either or thing here, every good action is cumulative. You don't fail to recycle cans because you already recycle paper do you?

It's not just dog poop bag it's plastic supermarket bags, it's packaging for goods bought online, it's so many things.

Washable nappies these days are a lot better than the Terry towelling ones my mum used for my sister and I. There's well designed ones now that are almost as practical as disposable ones. Tailored and shaped outers with inserts that get washed. Whole systems including used storage bins with prewash solutions you use in the bin before simply throwing in with the rest of your washing. They're expensive though. Over typical lifetimes they do work out a bit cheaper but not as easy for people who are already financially struggling. A good idea if you can afford it.
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
3,251
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Exmoor
Spent the morning making beeswax wraps of all different shapes and sizes.
I'm using cotton offcuts bought for a few pence from the charity shop, and now only have a half roll of plastic wrap to use before I'm free of that completely. :)
One more step towards being plastic free.

I've made cotton shopping bags too, so that I don't have to use either biodegradable or bag for life plastic bags.
The good thing about these is that they fold up small enough to go into a handbag or pocket, so there is no excuse not to have one with me at all times for any unexpected shopping purchases where one would normaly just get a plastic bag without a thought.
A step at a time, making simple changes and making them a habit that then becomes a normal way of life.
I buy bamboo toothbrushes, knit my own cotton flannels from balls of cotton I find in charity shops.. or you could cut and hem the best bits of worn out towels. I use proper bar soap instead of the plastic pump bottles..little changes, all add up.
I haven't put my main bin out for a month, and the recycling out for three weeks as there is hardly anything in them. It can be done.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,873
851
Vantaa, Finland
right now plastic is simply plastic
Not quite, while almost all nondegradable is made from oil, the degradable ones are mostly not; on one level that is a significant difference. There are various grades of biodegradable polymers, some have just certain bonding sites that can be cut, some are can practically totally used by organisms.

Apparently there exist bacteria that can use normal polyester fibers for sustenance and some use polyamides. they are just not everywhere and eating the fibers takes time.
 

Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
202
118
Devon
@Paul_B

So you're suggesting that the microplastics from typical waste ingested by fish etc are the same as the microplastics that are broken down by biodegradable or compostable dog waste bags?
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,873
851
Vantaa, Finland
So you're suggesting that the microplastics from typical waste ingested by fish etc are the same as the microplastics that are broken down by biodegradable or compostable dog waste bags?
Where do I say that? Microplastics in oceans are produced by mechanical action and UV degradation (the part that is not from washing machines, quite small that one). "Microplastics" produced by selective bond breaking is molecular size, too small for any microscope.

But still they are not all the same and as I understand it polymerized starch would be totally usable by organisms, no "micro" anything. It's just price and price ...
 

Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
202
118
Devon
Where do I say that? Microplastics in oceans are produced by mechanical action and UV degradation (the part that is not from washing machines, quite small that one). "Microplastics" produced by selective bond breaking is molecular size, too small for any microscope.

But still they are not all the same and as I understand it polymerized starch would be totally usable by organisms, no "micro" anything. It's just price and price ...
My comment wasn't to you :/

My point was, theoretically isn't the plastics in biodegradable bags "better" than the stuff in Lego for instance... Yes, it might take 100 years to break down, so it's a bit of a marketing scam, it might choke a dolphin in its whole form, again, bad, but when it breaks down then is it not theoretically "better"?

Again, this would be biodegradable not "compostable"..
 

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