Earth Rated ‘Compostable’ Dog Poop Bags

May 6th, 2021

Last month, in honor of Earth Day, Earth Rated posted a company blog on its Facebook page that offered eight ways to celebrate the annual event with your dog. No. 2 on the list, with a link to purchase one of its products: use compostable poop bags.

But it’s not that simple.

Because dog poop isn’t generally safe or practical to compost at home, if the goal is to compost it, it must be taken to a commercial or municipal composting facility that accepts pet waste containing harmful bacteria. The problem is there aren’t many of these types of facilities in the U.S. – if there are any at all.

Yet the Earth Day blog made it seem like the opposite were true, directing consumers to “Find out which municipal composting facilities accept pet waste near you,” only to reveal toward the bottom of the next page that, “There are currently no composting facilities in the U.S. that accept dog poop.”

Company responds

In its initial response to an inquiry by TINA.org, Earth Rated stood by its disclosures with regard to the lack of composting facilities available to U.S. consumers (while the company is based in Canada, several U.S. retailers including Petco and Target carry its products).

But after we pointed out the journey consumers have to take to find out there aren’t any composting facilities in the U.S. that accept dog poop, the company added the following disclaimer to the Earth Day blog:

Of note, while photos of product packaging on the Earth Rated website show some of the poop bags marketed as “certified compostable,” TINA.org did not see the same language on packaging during a recent trip to a Petco store in the U.S.

The bottom line

The FTC warns that compostable claims for poop bags are “generally untrue,” precisely because very few composting facilities accept pet waste. A product may be compostable in theory but if it is not actually compostable after regular or recommended use, it shouldn’t be marketed as compostable.

Much like a lot of what is marketed as recyclable, most poop bags end up in landfills where they do not safely break down as they would if they were composted. And where’s the environmental benefit in that?

Find more of our coverage on greenwashing here.

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