One thing that makes me so sad, and yes, angry too is the effect that plastic pollution is having on our environment and oceans. Most of us are probably already making an effort to reduce our plastic waste in the home, re-using or avoiding plastic bags, buying our fruit and vegetables loose etc and that all helps. But what can you do as a pet parent to reduce your pooch’s plastic paw print? Well several things really, a campaign that I became aware of on twitter from Paws On Plastic is such a simple idea but one that could be so effective if we all joined in. They are asking us all to pick up 2 pieces of plastic on our daily walks and empty them into your recycling bin when you get home. Why not check them out on Instagram, Twitter or even join their Facebook Group.
Something that’s almost unavoidable for us dog owners is using poop bags to clean up our dog’s mess. Many of us think we are being greener by using biodegradable ones, but recently I found out that most poop bags marketed as being biodegradable really aren’t much more eco-friendly after all. In fact the majority are actually oxo-biodegradable, simply containing a chemical that causes them to break down the plastic more quickly into smaller pieces, in fact many experts are sceptical that they ever fully degrade at all. Most poop bags end up going to landfill anyway so they could never break down as fast as they’re supposed to (1 year for products claiming to be biodegradable) due to being processed with all the other plastic items, so ultimately still have a devastating effect on our planet.
Most of us still need to pick up and bag though and the greenest answer to this is to use fully compostable poop bags which are usually made from maize flour and vegetable oil. Yes they can be a little bit more expensive but I don’t think any of us would grudge a few extra pennies if it helps save the planet.
Recently I was gifted a HandiScoop (you might recall seeing John pitching it on TV to the Dragon’s Den crew) in return for my thoughts. The HandiScoop is an ingenious poop scooper which allows you to use just one bag to pick up to four poops. It’s a great idea and according to the manufacturer can save 1100 bags per dog per year which by their calculation equates to 9.9 billion less bags used per year! Maybe as Maya and Lucia are raw fed and are only two or three times a day girls, I wouldn’t personally save quite so many, every little helps though so I was happy to give it a try.
The product comes in two different sizes, I received the HandiScoop Easy Walk to put to the test. It is actually well designed and really easy to use – you just preload it with up to 3 poop bags – especially handy if you work as a dog walker, are expecting a bumper day or just like to be prepared, then, when necessary pull back the trigger to pick it up and lock and seal using the elastic tab. The device measures 45cm and is very light so easy to carry and would be handy if you were going walking where you know there is an absence of bins. I can see them being a massive help to folk that find bending down difficult. Another advantage compared to other poop scoops on the market is that it’s so clean and hygienic to use – you simply dispose of the bag when you get home.
Where the device would really come into it’s own in terms of cutting down on plastic in my opinion is clearing up your garden or yard. The HandiScoop Easy Reach is especially designed for this as it is longer at 85cm so even handier for those that suffer from a bad back or similar. If you own a kennels or provide doggy day care it would save valuable time too. My girls refuse to poop in their own garden but I will definitely be taking my HandiScoop on our travels this year as they have no such reservations about christening the grounds of holiday cottages!
Still on the subject of poop, sorry, The Forestry Commission have a Stick and Flick scheme operating in some area’s. Dog walkers are encouraged to use a stick to brush their dogs’s waste off the footpaths into the undergrowth, in the hope that this will considerably reduce the amount of discarded full poop bags. A really good environmentally friendly initiative in my opinion as not only are they an eyesore and polluting our planet but animals can be endangered if they ingest them. Look out for the signs if you go to the forest letting you know that this policy is in operation, here’s hoping it leads to us all seeing less tree’s decorated with full poop bags too!
There are some other small steps that I take to reduce my dog’s plastic paw print such as buying their chews and accessories from brands that are doing their best not to use plastic packaging – do you have any ideas of what more we can do? Let us know in the comments below.
Love Sal, Maya and Lucia xxx
*Our HandiScoop was gifted to us in return for an honest review.