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Life was going as usual and then one day as I was cleaning it hit me: just how many plastics do I throw out on a weekly basis? This thought has never occurred to me before, no, not once in my life.
It must have been the huge number of plastic bags that I was taking out of my home. Just the sheer number of those waste bags, always full and heavy must have triggered something in my brain, a tiny spark of consciousness.
There I was taking trash out almost every second day and it was just me and my cat living in our small apartment. Day after day and year after year, I must have created a huge pile of plastic waste that surely would decay for years if not for decades.
That was an awful thing to become aware of. I have always considered myself a careful and caring human being, and here I was polluting the Earth and not even being aware of it.
Once you become eco-aware you can never go back. It’s like something your eyes have seen and what has been once seen can never be unseen.
Did you know that a plastic bag takes 10-1000 years to decompose?
That is just awful. I can’t even imagine it – that is how awful it sounds to me.
To think it may even hurt other living animals on this Earth is just unbearable.
So the least I can do is be careful about my waste bags and always use biodegradable bags when possible. I have done research for biodegradable cat litter bags and it turns out there are a few choices that can be used.
As I have researched each option carefully here are my conclusions and notes.
Biodegradable vs Compostable
These terms are often met when you do a research for Earth-friendly products so I thought it was important to check what do they actually mean.
As the term itself implies it means that the product can be disintegrated by bacteria, fungi or another biological process. It is the most natural way of decomposition, where one’s waste is another form-of-life’s food. The cycle closes and there is no harm to nature.
Unfortunately, this is not applicable to plastic products, as they are not natural food to bacteria, so it takes a really long time for these products to decompose.
Biodegradable in a general sense means that a product will decompose, eventually – which is actually true for everything on this Earth.
So when we search for a biodegradable for a plastic product we actually mean that it will decompose within a certain period of time – which brings us to the term compostable.
Generally, composting is an aided process of decomposing materials. The process of decomposing or degrading is provided all the right conditions like heat, water and oxygen in order to speed it up.
In the plastic industry if a product is marked as compostable it means it can be used in a composting process if put in an industrial composting facility.
What You Need To Know About Biodegradable Products
When you search for biodegradable – or more accurately said compostable – products you will often meet the ASTM D6400 standard. So what does ASTM D6400 mean?
The specification for labeling of plastics designed to be aerobically composted in municipal or industrial facilities (D6400)
The quotation is taken from this resource.
The ASTM D6400 standard specifies time and conditions under which a product must fully decompose without leaving anything harmful behind.
So if you are able to take your garbage to a compostable facility that would be the best practice for truly being Earth-friendly. But if not, using products that are marked biodegradable or compostable is still better than using common plastic products.
Currently, I am using plastic bags from my shop of choice, they are marked as dissolvable when exposed to sun, but they are not big enough to change a whole litter at once, so I still have to find other solutions for my cat’s litter disposal.
Biodegradable Cat Poop Bags
One thing I’ve had difficulty finding is big enough biodegradable bags, usually they are small and suitable for a litter scoop. But not these bags: they measure 17 x 22 inches , which is big enough for changing the whole litter at once (I do this once a week).
So let’s see what other things are great with these bags:
- They are made of biodegradable polymers, to be specific from maize (also known as corn) flours and vegetable oils. So you can see how these bags will easily go back to the Earth because of their natural ingredients
- GMO free, this means no starch used, which is often genetically modified
- The materials used enable quickest natural decomposition time (vs PLA bags, most common biodegradable bags, which are starch-based and require artificially controlled decomposing facilities)
- Stronger than plastic bags – a single bag can hold up to 20 pounds of waste. Most litters come in 10 pounds packages in my experience so more than enough for cleaning the entire litter
- You get 100 bags inside this package, they will last you for months
- Easy to handle, the bags are specially designed for easy tie
One thing to be aware of: these bags are for single-use and not intended to be used over a prolonged period of time. This means you use them – you throw them. This is because they start to decompose pretty quickly which is exactly what earth-friendly cat owners need!
Eco Friendly Cat Litter Bags
These EcoLeo biodegradable litter bags are one of the best I could find and I just love the cat, named Leo, on them, they look so cute! Also, they have a great slogan: Leo approved :). When I read that the bags are made by a small group of women (US based too), living with many cats in their household, it just made perfect sense: only true cat lovers could come up with such adorable design and an appropriate slogan for them.Here are in short their best benefits:
The bags are vegetable based (more specifically corn-based) and they satisfy the BPI ASTM D6400 standard for being compostable.
- Good sized
These bags are somewhat smaller than the average grocery bags but they have been specially designed to best serve an easy litter scooping.
Many cat owners have found the EcoLeo litter bags to be just the right size: their design allows for a big scooper to get in without making a mess. They have been also described as perfectly capable of handling 2 or even more cat boxes for their daily cleaning.
Here is a great example and one a bit on the extreme side. Now I am not sure if the bags are big enough to hold a full litter change as I do once a week but for duty cleaning they are perfect: just the right size for big scoops and for doing multiple litter boxes at once. Some have even used them as litter bags for a small trashcan.
- Thick and Durable
I’ve had some accidents when cleaning my cat’s litter where I didn’t notice tiny holes in the litter bags or the material was so thin that I’ve opened little tears in them. That kind of a thing is no fun and I was lucky enough to see it before carrying the litter bag across the room out to the hallway. That is my worst fear: having a litter bag spill in the middle of my room.
The designers of the EcoLeo bags have taken great care to prevent this kind of situation by making the material heavy duty and thick. No more double bagging (and adding to the environmental waste) and no more tears or holes that leave dirty litter behind them.
Cat owners have described the material as super durable and not breaking once, even when full of clumping litter with urine and poop, which I think is pretty important for a cat litter bag. So EcoLeo bags don’t fall apart or rip easily.
So if you are a bit skeptical about a biodegradable cat litter bag being durable and tough here is a cute reassurance for you. And you get an unexpected bonus: the material is thick enough to hold in the smell! So no odor once the dirty litter is inside and the bag is tied. I don’t know about you but the smell of a dirty litter bag has always bothered me while I’m carrying it in the elevator to the garbage bin.
- Easy to use
The bag has handles which conveniently tie in a knot. This is a tiny detail that makes a big difference: I know because I’ve had used some bags with zips – a few broke – or weird bags with 4 half-handles. Having handles to secure the waste inside is truly a necessity and makes litter scooping so much easier. The opening is big enough for a large scoop so no problem putting the litter inside the bag.
Eco Friendly Cat Litter Bags – 6 Gallons
Biodegradable Bags For Cat Litter
Biodegradable Trash Bags For Cat Waste