In the second installment of posts on alternative dog bags, we will talk about a flushable dog option.
About Flush Doggy:
Flush Doggy is a company that began creating a flushable dog waste bag in an effort to divert plastic and toxic dog waste from our land fills.
Even biodegradable and compostable bags have a hard, if not impossible, time breaking down when thrown in landfills because they don’t get the oxygen and other nutrients needed to break down. Also, toxins and diseases can spread untreated into waterways when tossed.
Flush Doggy has created a bag to try and address these problems that arise from regular plastic bags and even the other alternative bags on the market.
By flushing dog waste, in areas that allow it, the waste can be treated in sewage treatment plants and the potentially harmful toxins will be removed. The EPA has a helpful document on how to dispose of dog waste.
The Flush Doggy Flushable Waste Bag:
Flush Doggy is one of a few companies that has made a bag out of polyvinyl alcohol, which is a water-soluble synthetic polymer, meaning it will begin to break down in water. This means you can flush the poop, the bag will begin to break down and be filtered out and then the actual waste can be treated.
When I received the bags I was surprised that they really did have a vinyl like feel to them. It was quite slippery and had a faintly pungent smell, but nothing obnoxious.
The bags came in a convenient package, though this packaging was plastic which was a bummer given that the whole point of these bags is to keep plastic out of landfills.
Opening the Flush Doggy bag is actually not too difficult. It is a bit hard to unfold since it has been compressed in a little package, but the top lip of the bag is folded down in such a way that it opens right up once unfolded.
It also feels quite durable. I tried to rip it and it is so thick and almost stretchy that it takes a lot of force, which is great.
How They Performed:
Given what I had read about polyvinyl alcohol and how quickly it can break down I was nervous that if I picked up a soft/wet poop or was walking Peanut in the rain I might have issues.
The first walk on which we used them it was dry out and Peanut had a nice firm poop so the bag held up fine. I was able to walk without any leakage or issues.
You can definitely smell the poop through the bag, which isn’t that surprising given the nature of the bag, but it wasn’t really bothersome.
Since you are supposed to flush the bag open I just carried it without tying a knot.
You could tie a knot and then undo it before you flush, but I thought that bag was plenty long so that tying a knot wasn’t necessary to contain the poop.
If you had a large dog or multiple dogs I am sure tying it can help prevent any problematic leaks on a walk.
To test how the bag would hold up if it got wet, I dipped it in water and pulled it back out. This full saturation definitely compromised the integrity of the bag and made it unusable.
It slowly turns into the gel like goop, which is probably great for your plumbing, but not so awesome if you are a mile into a walk and realize you have a wet, gooey bag in your pocket.
Here is what the bag looks like immediately after being submerged in water and after twenty minutes.
I would say these are definitely best for short walks in dry weather, or picking up your dog’s poop from the backyard. Since they break down so readily they just aren’t the most rugged bag.
Flushing the Flush Doggy Flushable Waste Bag:
Flush Doggy makes it clear that you should ensure the integrity of your sewage system before flushing your dog’s waste.
Septic systems do not accommodate Flush Doggy bags, and make sure that your sewage pipes don’t have any tree roots coming into them. Also check with your city that it is safe to flush dog waste.
Flush Doggy recommends flushing one poop at a time with an open bag.
Also, do not flush dry poops that have been sitting out in your backyard.
If your dog has a really large poop, you can dump that into the toilet and then throw in the toilet to help it pass through the plumbing more easily.
Flushing the poop was really quire easy. I was a little nervous at first, since it is so strange to flush something that feels like a plastic bag down the toilet, but it went down smooth and easy.
Since Peanut’s poops are so small I am sure I could use the bag for a day’s worth of poop and then flush that.
The only problem is that the bag doesn’t really hold up that long once it comes in contact with any type of moisture, so leaving a poop in there for a few hours and then trying to pick up another one isn’t really the best idea.
In this way, I do like the compostable bags a bit more. I feel like I am saving not only money by using bags less frequently, but also product by using one bag for more poops.
The compostable bag doesn’t start to break down immediately and so they are good to pick up poops for a few days.
The flushable bags only last for one poop, so that is not as great economically speaking, but that fact that you can see how quickly they begin to break down is really exciting in terms of the waste.
The Flush Doggy bag is also great because your dog’s waste is going to be properly treated.
Dog waste, even in compostable or biodegradable bags, that is thrown away or not properly heated during composting, can pose serious health risks. Flush Doggy gives you a way to dispose of your dog’s waste in a safe manner.
I think the Flush Doggy bag is a great first step on the way to making a totally water-soluble yet durable bag that is a great environmental choice for dog waste.
They do have some issues, like not holding up against any moisture and only being usable for one poop, but the fact that they quickly break down in your toilet and allow your dog’s waste to be properly treated are great pros.
I think it is a good bag to have on hand in conjunction with another type of alternative bag.
This will give you options to choose the best bag for your situation and help you do your part in limiting plastic and dog waste in our environment.