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BioGone biodegradable dog waste bags a barking success

World’s first landfill biodegradable dog waste bags a barking success 

With the removal of the humble grey, single-use shopping bag, there has been a sharp rise in demand for dog waste bags in Australia. With 4.2 million pet dogs in Australia, each producing 1.5 tonnes of dog waste over its lifetime. So, where do all these dog waste bags go?

Rather than it to go to landfill and sit there for hundreds of years, Australia’s leading manufacturer eco-conscious warriors BioGone, has created the world’s first landfill-biodegradable dog waste bag. 

The BioGone dog waste bag is also made from recycled plastic, instead of virgin plastic – which reduces the amou
nt of avoidable waste of such a resource and bringing new life to this otherwise lost resource.

The beauty and ingenuity of the BioGone dog waste bag is that when it is disposed to a landfill with natural micro-organisms present, it will be digested away in a few years, not decades. 
To make plastic landfill-biodegradable, it consists of modifying the material of existing disposable plastic products and re-manufacturing them into plastics which are biodegradable in a landfill. 

When the finished plastic product is discarded to a microbe rich environment (i.e., a landfill), it draws naturally occurring microorganisms to it. They begin to digest the material. During this stage, the enzymes secreted by the microorganisms, break down the long non-digestible plastic molecules to shorter ones which can also then be digested. 

This process is slower compared to a banana peel biodegrading in a landfill. The manufacturer of the modifier claims biodegradation 95 percent faster than conventional plastic. The rate also depends on material thickness, temperature and moisture level in the landfill. The important 
factor here is that BioGone’s plastic waste will biodegrade within a generation, not left for future generations to deal with. 

According to BioGone Co-Founder, John Mancarella, there are many dog waste bags in the market which claim to be sustainable and this is simply not telling the consumer the full story. 

“We urge consumers to do their research and purchase dog waste bags which can biodegrade in years, not decades. There are a number of ‘compostable’ plastic products in the market which make them an unsuitable choice for controlling dog bag waste. They are generally commercially compostable bags.

For this to biodegrade, it has to be deposited in a commercial compost facility with temperatures of 60 deg C, plenty of oxygen and good moisture levels. If those conditions are not met, the commercial compostable plastic will not biodegrade as the microorganisms need those conditions to live.”

Due to their different material, compostable plastics cannot be recycled in the mainstream. Compostable plastic is labelled Number 7, equating to ‘other plastic’ and that means send to landfill.

There is no separate recycle facilities that will sort out the compostable plastic from other plastic waste. This means, by default, a compostable plastic will generally go to a landfill.

According to BioGone Co-Founder, Dr Ross Headifen, there are very few commercial compost facilities in Australia, making it very unlikely that many compostable plastic bags will ever be transported to one to biodegrade.

BioGone also recently introduced a range of Home Compostable dog waste bags. These are bags made from plant materials rather than petrochemicals, and they will biodegrade in a landfill. They also meet the Australian standard AS5810 for Home Composting. These bags will biodegrade at ambient temperatures too and don’t need the special conditions of a commercial compost facility. Home Compostable plastics are not mainstream recyclable, however.

All BioGone bags whether landfill-biodegradable or home compostable are designed to go to landfill which is where almost all these bags will be disposed to. Once in a landfill then they will then biodegrade. Whether it is near the top of the landfill or the aerobic zone or deep in the landfill where it is more anaerobic, the natural occurring microbes will digest a landfill-biodegradable bag away about 20 times faster than a conventional bag and faster still for a Home Compostable bag. 

It may not be as fast as a commercially compostable bag should one ever gets to a compost facility, but it would be within a person’s lifetime which is important.”

We don’t want to leave our plastic waste for the next generation. If our bags were to go to a commercial compost facility, it would biodegrade there much faster too but unlikely to biodegrade in the 12-month time a commercial compost standard dictates. We do independent laboratory tests to show our material is capable of biodegradation.”

“When our bags biodegrade, if it is anaerobic, they produce methane, which landfills capture and use to make electricity. The government calls this green power.” 

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