Scoop the Poop: Alternatives to Plastic Bags

Bethany_croppedDuring our environmental education presentations, our educators receive a variety of thought provoking questions from youth. Today’s blog, comes from Bethany, one of our environmental educators, who was recently asked: “Isn’t it bad for our landfills for us to scoop the poop in a plastic bag and throw it away?” Thankfully, Bethany is here to fill you in on great alternatives to plastic bags for disposing of pet waste*.

It is beautiful to see students thinking critically about the information we share with them and seeking to go the extra mile to help the environment.  Not only should we be scooping the poop, but why not do it in the most environmentally-friendly way possible?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local water bodies[1].”

How can we scoop poop off the grass and into the toilet or trash without using plastic bags?  Here are a few ideas that will keep bacteria ridden pet waste out of our storm drains without adding plastic to our landfills:

  • Cadet Hands off Pet Waste RemoverPortable pooper scooper for walks


  • Rake and ShovelPooper scooper rake for the backyard
    • There are many rake and shovel options. You can buy one made especially for poop scooping, or you can just grab a rake or shovel from the shed.  If you’re going to flush the poop, save on flushes by collecting the poop in a small metal trashcan outside to be able to flush more waste at one time.
    • Four Paws Sanitary Pooper Scooper
    • Arm & Hammer Swivel Bin and Rake



  • Flush Puppies flushable bags
    • Flush PuppiesFlush Puppies are made from polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) – a water-soluble, eco-friendly, “green” alternative to plastic. Unlike plastic bags or other “biodegradable” bags, Flush Puppies actually break down in water.  Bag it, toss it in the toilet, and flush!


  • Newspaper
    • Take a few sheets of newspaper with you on your walk and use it to scoop the poop. You can flush the poop at home and toss the paper in the trash or simply toss both in the trash.  This does contribute paper to the landfill, but it is a more eco-friendly solution than throwing a plastic bag in the landfill. Please do not put pet waste in your green waste receptacle.


*”Pet waste” refers specifically to dog waste. Cat waste is not flush-able. 


6 Responses to “Scoop the Poop: Alternatives to Plastic Bags”

  1. 1 Alison Irving February 14, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Thank you for your ideas. I have two dogs and the amount of plastic nappy sacks we used was incredible. They are supposed to be biodegradable, but I tried one in the compost and it’s still there! Just ordered a small poop scoop for walks, worth a try if it doesn’t smell too much. I’ll try it with newspapers.

    • 2 I Love A Clean San Diego February 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Alison! I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed our blog and found some great ideas to help with your pet’s waste. Although the bags are biodegradable sometimes they aren’t a good fit for at-home composts. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog all about the best things for your compost! Thanks, again.

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