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Dog Poop Bags: The Ultimate Guide

by | 7 February 2023

It’s a doggone shame that so many people don’t realise the importance of dog poop bags. But have you ever stopped to think why we even need them in the first place? Well, today is your lucky day because we’re diving into everything dog poo bags, from the why to the what and the how, so you can be the best dog waste manager out there!

Let’s be honest, no one wants to see or smell dog poop lying around, but it’s not just about avoiding the yuck factor. It’s also about keeping everyone safe and healthy. From our furry friends to ourselves and even the environment, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to dog poop.

So, grab your poop bags and let’s get to work! Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or just starting out, this guide will help you choose the best dog poop bags for you and your pup and give you tips on using them responsibly. Let’s get pooping!

Why Do We Even Need Dog Poop Bags?

Our Wildlife Doesn’t Appreciate Dog Poop Being Left Around

Leaving dog poop lying around is not just unsightly, but it can also harm wildlife. Dog faeces are high in phosphorus and nitrogen, which can over-fertilise the ground. Plus, when dog poop is left in nature, it can attract predators, disrupting the balance of ecosystems on land and in our waterways. So, grab a bag and pick it up!

Maintain a Clean and Healthy Environment for Your Dog

Dog poop can contain harmful bacteria that can spread disease, so it’s essential to clean it up promptly. This will not only help keep your dog healthy, but it will also keep other dogs and animals safe from illness.

Human Health

Dog poop can also spread diseases to humans as it can contain bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Yersinia and E. coli. In a study of dog faeces in Bari, Italy, scientists concluded that as antibiotics are used on our pets, bacteria could become resistant to them and get passed to humans, causing a public health risk. So it’s important to always clean up after your dog. You don’t want to put your health or the health of others at risk.

Not Cleaning Up Gets You Fined

In many places, it’s against the law to not pick up after your dog. You could end up with a hefty fine if you’re caught leaving dog poop lying around. 

You can be fined $200 for not carrying a poop bag & up to $500 on the spot if you don’t clean up after your furry friend in some councils. Plus, councils such as Whittlesea in Victoria can fine you up to $2000 if they take you to court

Types of Dog Poop Bags


Historically plastic dog poop bags are the most common type of poop bag. They are strong and leak-proof but are not biodegradable and harm the environment. They tend to be the cheapest option because they are plastic, and of course, there are massive economies of scale in manufacturing plastic these days. 

Like any other plastic, plastic dog poop bags will take hundreds of years to break down. In fact, every piece of plastic humans have ever created is still in existence today


Biodegradable dog poop bags have become very popular over the past 5 years as they are presented as green and environmentally friendly. However, unless they explicitly state they are compostable, they are, in fact, just plastic that breaks down (bio-degrades) into smaller pieces a bit quicker than regular plastic. 

Note: The word biodegradable is just a way of describing how something breaks down, not what it’s made of. 

When these biodegradable plastic bags break down, they just break into millions of tiny pieces of plastic and become microplastic. Microplastics end up inside animals, and our waterways finally end up inside of us. 

Biodegradable dog poop bags may sound great, as they will degrade, so you can’t see the bag within a few years. However, some argue that the microplastics left behind are causing more issues than regular plastic as they are so hard to see and deal with. 

Another term that people use to describe green dog poop bags, which are actually just plastic, is oxo-degradable. It’s a slightly different degrading process, but it’s still just plastic. 

Plus, some dog poop bags will say things such as made from 30% organic materials… This is another way of saying 70% of this dog poop bag is plastic. 

If you see the word biodegradable or any similar term on a dog poop bag or any other product, it just means it’s got plastic in it. And you know someone is trying to greenwash you into thinking it’s eco. And microplastics, just like regular plastic, will never break down. 

“If it doesn’t say compostable, it’s got plastic in it”. 


Compostable dog poop bags are made from materials such as cornstarch that can be composted and have strict government tests for compliance. Here in Australia, the standards are AS 4736 for industrial composting and AS 5810 for home composting. The AS 4736 standard requires that 90% of the original material is gone after 12 weeks and completely degraded after 6 months.

Technical note: Composting is a subcategory of the biodegradable, degrading process, so if something is compostable, it’s biodegradable. But something which is only biodegradable is not compostable

You know something is compostable here in Australia as it will have the below logos on:

Aussie Composting Logos

They are a great option if you have a compost bin and want to reduce your environmental impact.

What Is the Best Type of Dog Poop Bag?

The best type of dog poop bag for you will depend on your needs and priorities. If plastic is still your bag of choice, then that’s up to you. 

If you’re environmentally conscious, compostable bags may be the way to go. Even if you are on a budget, there are still eco-friendly compostable dog poop bags out there. They may just be a little smaller in size or thinner – you always get what you pay for, as the saying goes, but at least they will be compostable. 

Handled vs Non-Handled Dog Poop Bags

As the name suggests, handled dog poop bags have a built-in handle, and non-handled bags are rectangular and don’t have a handle. However, there is more to it than that. 

To make a handled dog poop bag, you have to manufacture the full rectangle bag, and then you punch a hole out of the top to create the handle. This means you waste nearly a 3rd of the material for each poop bag to make the handles. 

But what if they are compostable, I hear you say… Well, that was our thought for some time too, but when we did a deep dive into it, we realised that you still have to go through all the processing of that part of the bag that is never used. So even if that part can be composted, it’s still using valuable energy that could be used for something else, or not used at all. 

This is why as an eco-conscious company, our main dog poop bag is a simple rectangle shape with no handles. But we also offer handled dog poop bags for those who choose them. 

Different Types Of Handled Dog Poop Bags

There are many different styles of handled dog poop bags, but the most common is one with quite a small circumference at the top. Here is an example of our 2018 design:

Picture of Oh Crap's former design of handled dog poop bags.
Former Design Of Handled Dog Poop Bags

This is the easiest-handled design to produce; hence most dog poop bag companies still use it today. However, we realised it’s not that easy to use as the hole at the top is relatively small. Plus, it had other flaws. 

So in 2020, after two years of research and testing, we introduced a patented design of handled dog poop bags with a much wider hole at the top designed to fit onto guide dog toileting harnesses. 

Oh Crap’s Handled Dog Poop Bag That Fit’s On Guide Dog Toileting Harness
Oh Crap’s Handled Dog Poop Bag That Fit’s On Guide Dog Toileting Harness

Plus, with a broader mouth, it’s easier for everyone to use 🙂 & the dog poop bag box also has braille on it, so anyone can find where to open it and pull dog poop bags out. 

How Thick Are Dog Poop Bags

Another factor to consider when choosing dog poop bags is the thickness. Bag thickness is measured in microns. Most dog poop bags are between 6 – 10 microns thick. 

I’m sure you have had that experience of using a thin dog poop bag and getting that warm wet feeling all over your hands and maybe even a residue of poop… that would be a 6, 7 or 8-micron bag. These thinner bags tend to be ‘cheap’ simply because less material is used to make them. 

However, for larger poops, these bags may not hold together, so it’s worth getting a thicker bag if your furry friend lays a few good size logs. 

For us at Oh Crap, we set out to make the world’s best dog poop bag, so not only did they have to be compostable, but we wanted you to feel like the planet hero you are when you use them. So we decided to make our dog poop bag 3x thicker than the regular dog poop bags. That means when you put your hand in to pick up the doggy chocolates, you don’t get any of ‘that feeling’.

If you only use a dog poop bag once in a blue moon as your dog does their business in the backyard, you may not mind a thin bag and a ‘crappy’ experience on your hand every so often. But we get lots of feedback from people who use them often and professional dog walkers and carers. They choose ticker bags so their hand is fresh no matter what your furry friend may have had for breaky.  

Choosing the Right Size Dog Poop Bags

Dog poop bags come in different sizes, so it’s important to choose the right size for your needs. Smaller bags are great for smaller dogs, while larger bags are better for bigger dogs. You also need to consider the amount of poop your dog produces and the storage space you have available. Plus, a size where it’s easy to get your hand in and grab the poop. 

We’ve seen dog poop bags vary in size from just 18cm wide to 38cm and from 20cm tall to 40cm. After some years of research and testing, we settled on 23cm wide by 33cm tall as this allows easy access to the poop and is big enough to pick up both small and big poops from German Shepherds, Labs and Dobermans. We also know some of our #OhCrapFamily have Great Danes, so you should be able to fit almost any size poop in there. 

Scented vs Unscented Dog Poop Bags

Finally, another factor to consider when choosing dog poop bags is whether you want a scented or unscented option. 

Scented bags are marketed as a way to mask unpleasant odours and are a good choice for those who don’t want to smell their pet’s waste. On the other hand, unscented bags are just that – no scent. They are a good choice for those who prefer not to use fragrances or have sensitivities to certain smells. 

Based on our testing, whether you smell the poop depends on how you tie the bags (see below). A fresh scent in your poop bags is no match to a bin full of, you know what. The smell of scented bags also tends to rub off on your hands as you use them. Seeing bags marketed as perfumed is more of a marketing gimmick than something that is actually useful. 

Having said this, it comes down to personal preference, so choose what works best for you and your furry friend.

How to Store Your Dog Poo Bags?

Storing your dog poop bags is essential to ensure they last and are ready to go when needed. You can store plastic/biodegradable poop bags almost anywhere as they are plastic, so they won’t break down. 

However, when it comes to compostable dog poop bags, you want to ensure they are stored in cool, dry conditions at home. If compostable poo bags get hot and wet (like they do when they are composting), they will start to degrade. We suggest not storing them next to the washing machine where it can get warm and damp. Instead, pick a cupboard that is cool & dry. 

Compostable dog poop bags won’t break down the second you expose them to the world, so it’s Ok to keep a roll in your winter walking jacket, the glove box of the car and, of course, a dog poop bag holder. Our general advice is after you have taken them out of the cool, dry conditions, try to use them within 30 days. But if you are in Victoria, for example, which doesn’t get as hot and humid as other places around the country, they can last quite a bit longer. 

How to Carry Dog Poop Bags

Carrying dog poop bags can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have a lot of them! You may have seen your friend with lots of dog poop bags tied to their lead, which is an ok solution, but it means you must remember to add more each time you go out. 

Another option is to store them in a container, such as a dry plastic bin, that can be kept in your car or home. This way, you’ll always have a bag on hand when you need it. But you still need to transport individual bags or a roll in your pocket when you go for a walk which can be annoying. 

The best way to carry dog poop bags is to have a dispenser/poop bag holder that can be attached to your dog’s leash or belt. This makes it easy to grab a bag when you need it and keeps your hands free.

How Much Dog Poop Bags Cost & How to Save Money on Poop Bags?

Ultimately you always get what you pay for, and everything from material, size, thickness and overall quality determines the price of dog poop bags.

Dog poop bags can cost anywhere from $0.04 to $0.22 per bag, depending on the type of bag and where you purchase them. One quick tip to save money on poop bags is to look for bulk deals online or at your local pet supply store. Buying in bulk is also better for the environment as it means fewer trips to the store to pick them up.

How to Tie a Dog Poop Bag After Use?

You would think this is a simple one, but as a Crapologist here at Oh Crap, we’ve seen a lot of creative ways to tie your dog poop bag after it’s full of the business. 

As much as you may think handled dog poop bags are the easiest to tie, they actually let the smells escape, and your neighbours may look at you with those eyes as the smell wafts over their fence on a hot summer day. 

To make tying your dog poop bags easy and keep in the smells, we suggest tying your dog poop bags like a balloon. After you have reversed the bag, run your hands up either side at the top and loop the end over, just like a balloon. That way, you don’t have to smell anything as you walk along, and the smells won’t escape when your bags are in the bin. 

Here is some more detail on the tying technique to stop odours escaping from your dog poop bag.

How to Dispose of Dog Poop Bags

The first thing to say is the disposal of dog poop is an exciting area with new innovations coming every day, and local councils are continually updating their advice based on these findings. But also, every local council has different procedures for disposing of dog waste. So the simple advice is to check your local council’s website on how they advise disposing of your furry friends business. 

If you are using plastic or biodegradable dog poop bags, there is only one place for them, the regular landfill bin. However, if you have switched away from plastic to compostable dog poop bags, you have several options:

A Dog Poop Compost Heap

If you have the space at home, you can dispose of your dog poop in your own dog compost heap. ABC recently shared some exciting research on the best way to create a dog poop compost heap and keep the smell down by including sawdust, which we thought was very clever. Compost Revolution does a compost bin designed explicitly for animal waste that may save you a few hours creating your own. 

Home compost heaps can be challenging to get the proper heat for composting. However, Aussie start-up Monty Compost has created a nifty compost monitor so you can track how things are heating up.

WARNING: You shouldn’t use dog poop compost on your fruit and veg, but it should be fine on your regular flowers and trees when diluted. Also, if you have just wormed your dog, the poop will kill any worms in the compost heap. 

A Dog Poop Worm Farm

Our bags have been tested in worm farms and pass with green colours. However, similar to the above advice, we suggest not putting the resulting compost on fruit and veg intended for human consumption. 

WARNING: You shouldn’t use dog poop compost on your fruit and veg, but it should be fine on your regular flowers and trees when diluted. Also, if you have just wormed your dog, the poop will kill any worms in the compost heap. 

A Dog Poop Specialist Bin

Some really cool council’s around Australia have started putting specialist dog poop bins around dog parks, which we think is a big step forward. So if you see them, use them and give the council a high five. 

The Compost Bin

Some councils around the country allow dog poop in the compost bin, and some don’t. It’s all to do with where the compost ends up going. So our advice is to check your local council’s website before throwing it in the green bin. 

The Garbage Bin

If you are out of options, you can throw your dog poop in your landfill bin. 

Other Ways to Use Dog Poop Bags

While dog poop bags are designed for picking up after your furry friend, we’ve heard the #OhCrapFamily using them in creative ways, including:

Trash Bags: If you’re in a pinch and don’t have a regular trash bag, a dog poop bag will work just fine. It’s important to remember that you’ll want to double-bag it to avoid any mess or odours. This is especially popular with people heading to the beach, where they only need a small bag to carry some of odds and ends left after a picnic. 

Waterproofing: If you need to keep your shoes or clothes dry, you can use a dog poop bag as a makeshift rain cover. Just slip the item inside the bag and tie the ends to keep the rain out.

Other Animal Waste: As much as they are designed for your furry friend, you can also use them to clean up after your cat, rabbit, or the bird cage. 

Picking Up Litter: If you’re out and about and come across some litter, you can use a dog poop bag to pick it up and dispose of it properly. Not only will you be helping to keep the environment clean, but you’ll also be reducing the risk of disease transmission.


In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about dog poop bags. From the reasons why we need them to the different types available, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also looked at how you can store and carry your poop bags and how to dispose of them properly. Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or a new pup parent, this guide will help you make the right choice when it comes to dog poop bags.

In conclusion, dog poop bags are necessary for any dog owner. They help keep our environment clean and healthy and reduce the risk of disease transmission. With so many options available, it’s important to choose the right type of bag for you and your furry friend.

Now that you’re an expert on dog poop bags, why not join the #OhCrapFamily “changing the world one poop at a time” using compostable dog poop bags or head out to your local pet store and pick up a pack today? You’ll be glad you did!

<a href="" target="_self">Henry Reith</a>

Henry Reith

Henry is proud to be one of the crapologists at Oh Crap, and specialises in crap jokes & sharing paw-some content.

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