ASTM D6954: The first environmentally option comes in dog waste bags that are referred to as being “Oxo-Biodegradable”. To be clear, these bags are still plastic. But they do come with major benefits over typical plastic.
A standard of packaging referred to as ASTM D6954, Oxo-Biodegradable will degrade, and should not release methane during the degrading process. So that’s the good news. The bags however are not entirely biodegradable. Featuring an additive known as EPI, these bags benefit from a plastic material known for fragmenting very quickly. With the help of metal salts, Oxo-Biodegradable bags break down anywhere from 2 to 18 months in a landfill. Awesome!
All sounds pretty good, except that Oxo-Biodegradable doesn’t completely degrade. Instead we are left with microplastics – imagine tiny pellets – that remain behind. These micropellets show up in everything, are digested, and are even found in retail products such as makeup. The environmental impact of the microplastics is still under debate. One study found that, after 24 months, approximately 9% of the bag remains as microplastics.
Most experts agree that, while ASTM D6954 (Oxo-Biodegradable) is a step in the right direction, they do not believe the material is a sustainable solution.
ASTM D6400: Bring on the corn! ASTM D6400 is a compostable plastic alternative usually made from Corn Starch and PBAT. Corn Starch you’ve likely heard of, so let’s take a quick look at PBAT.
PBAT is very biodegradable, and can be composted at home without the creation of any toxic residue. The only drawback to PBAT is that it is an oil based product, therefore building a demand to find another bio-based alternative. Fortunately, PBAT is not the primary ingredient and, in the end, still has limited to no final carbon footprint.
ASTM D6400 bags are 100% biodegradable and compostable, leaving absolutely nothing behind with just the help of oxygen and water.
EN 13432: You might also have seen bags labeled as EN 13432, which is the European equivalent certification of ASTM D6400. Wooflinen poop bags have been certified EN 13432! This certification is the best of the best in regards to being environmentally friendly. In the proper conditions, the bag breaks down in entirety. No left over beads, no nothing. And definitely no plastic.
Certified through TUV Austria, there are three sub-certificates including: OK COMPOST INDUSTRIAL (the equivalent of ASTM D6400), OK COMPOST HOME (even better!) and Seedling. While the sub-certificates can get confusing, know that our bags have been certified for all three. 🙂