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How Long Does It Take For Dog Poop to Decompose? The Scoop on Poop

by | 28 July 2023

Hello again, dog lovers! We’re back to “bark” up the right tree, this time talking about a topic that’s a little bit “ruff” but oh-so-essential: dog poop! Yep, you heard it right. Every pet parent’s less glamorous duty (or should we say ‘doody’) needs to be discussed in all its stinky glory. But hold your noses and stick with us, this is important stuff!

Our topic of discussion today? The question that’s likely been “dogging” your eco-conscious minds: How long does it take for dog poop to decompose? Let’s sniff out the answer together!

Unleashing the Facts: Types of Dog Poop Bags

Firstly, let’s “paws” and consider the three main types of dog poop bags that “leash” us to the matter at hand: plastic, biodegradable, and compostable. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding these can help us make more environmentally conscious choices.

1. Plastic: A ‘Ruff’ Legacy

The old guard of poop bags, plastic options, are strong, leak-proof, and economical. However, like the tail that wags the dog, their environmental impact is hard to ignore. They can take hundreds of years to decompose, and when they do, they break down into smaller pieces of plastic, or microplastics, that can harm the environment and end up inside animals and us.

2. Biodegradable: All Bark and No Bite?

Biodegradable dog poop bags have gained popularity for being green, but are they as eco-friendly as they seem? The term “biodegradable” simply means they break down faster than regular plastic into microplastics. The term doesn’t reflect what they’re made of or how much of it is plastic. If a poop bag says it’s biodegradable but doesn’t say it’s compostable, it’s likely still predominantly plastic.

3. Compostable: The New Top Dog?

Compostable dog poop bags are the rising stars of the poop bag world. Made from compostable materials such as cornstarch, these bags have to pass strict government tests to earn their title. In Australia, these tests are AS 4736 for industrial composting and AS 5810 for home composting, requiring 90% of the original material to be gone after 12 weeks and completely degraded after 6 months.

Biodegradable vs. Compostable: A Tale of Two Poop Bags

“But wait,” you may ask, “what’s the difference between biodegradable and compostable poop bags?” That’s a great question, and the answer is not as simple as you might think.

Biodegradable is a term that has been “fetching” a lot of greenwashing attention, implying a product is eco-friendly when it may not be. It simply means a product will break down at some point, which could be a year, or more likely, hundreds of years from now. And the breakdown often leaves microplastics behind.

On the other paw, compostable means a product will break down into organic matter within a specific period of time (in Australia, within 180 days). Importantly, it’s a term regulated by government standards, and its use on a product reassures you that you’re getting an earth-friendly option.

How Long Does It Take For Dog Poop to Decompose?

The answer is it depends on the type of dog poop bag you opt for. If it’s plastic, your dog poop bags will take years to break down, and the poop inside will mummify and never break down. As many biodegradable dog poop bags are just plastic with a more eco-friendly sounding name the same is true for these bags.

Compostable dog poop bags on the other hand will break down in less than 6 months meaning your ferry friends’ poop returns to the earth and the cycle of life can continue. However, composting only starts when they are exposed to composting conditions. So if you store your compostable poop bags in cool, dry conditions they will be good for 12 months. They can certainly last longer, but your mileage may vary depending on the conditions the bags are exposed to.


So, how long does it take for dog poop to decompose? Well, the answer is a bit like trying to teach an old dog new tricks: it’s complicated. The time it takes depends on the type of poop bag you use. While plastic and many biodegradable bags could take hundreds of years and leave harmful microplastics behind, compostable bags can decompose completely within 6 months.

That’s the long and short of it, folks! As always, it’s up to us to make the best choices for our fur-babies and our planet. After all, we want to leave a clean and safe world for all the good boys and girls out there. So, next time you’re picking up after your pooch, remember: if it doesn’t say compostable, it’s got plastic in it. Let’s keep our planet, and our conscience, clean.

Until next time, keep those tails wagging and the environment clean!

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

<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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