Banning Plastic Bag Green - Our Daily Green

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Banning Plastic Bag Green

Bring Your Own Bag Static Window Cling
Conserving Now
Today, Our Daily Green will share the thought process that is likely familiar to several of our readers as we try to green our lives, lessen our impact and save some money in the process.

Several municipalities around the USA have banned plastic bags or tax them or charge for them, and around the world, several countries have also banned plastic bags, most recently, Italy. 

By now, we've heard ad infinitum about carrying our own bags to the store and I'm pretty good about reusable bags in the grocery stores, but admit that I often forget them for other merchants.

We do reuse the plastic bags that make it into the home, but they seem to grow and multiply. I'm not a fan of plastic bags, but they are difficult to avoid completely. Since I don't get as many bags from shopping, I save the bags from bread and veggies, the zipper bags from cheese, small bags from stores when the clerk beats my request for no bag, etc. I swear the bags then have babies. What do we reuse all these bags for?

The number one use for plastic bags in Our Daily Green's home is dog waste. We have a 65 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback and he seems to generate his own weight in waste. It occurred to me that I couldn't go without plastic bags completely because I wouldn't know what to do with his waste. Then it occurred to me that there really must be a more environmentally friendly solution than tying his waste in sealed plastic bags then throwing it out. Veteran composters know waste from carnivores cannot be composted with vegetable and plant waste, as the bateria will contaminate the soil. All manures are not equal. Herbivore manure from horses and the like is fine for fertilizer but not dog or cat waste. Many garbage collectors ban disposal of pet waste resulting in a terrible conundrum for the responsible pet owner. 

Drum Digester Tank
This led Our Daily Green on a search to discover the Drum Digester Tank. It is buried beneath the ground and is designed to break down the wastes from your pets by using natural enzymatic processes and beneficial microbes like a septic tank for dog waste. There also are worm composters that break down the waste and remove the hazardous bacteria, but as cited earlier, the pet waste cannot be mixed with plant material, so two separate composting systems would be needed. The tank seems like a much less labor intensive solution. (Additional reading for cat owners: How to Compost your Cat Litter)

To bring us full circle, composted pet waste is another way to eliminate the need for plastic bags. Plastic adds nothing useful to our environment and in fact is quite harmful. There are always alternatives with a little research and effort. Our planet will thank us.
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