Dog Waste Bags: Origins
We’ve all seen the green dispensers at public parks, offering free plastic bags for people who bring their dogs for a walk to pick up after them. Many people have tools of one sort or another that they use rather than resorting to these plastic dog waste bags. And, these days, one can even find multiple varieties of biodegradable versions of them. They’ve made a walk in the park pleasant again. And, thankful though we are that the practice has caught on, where did it originate?
Prior to the development of the many forms of dog waste bags available today, dog owners were frequently found using devices like the famous Pooper-scooper. Invented by Brooke Miller sometime around the early 1970s, this device consists of a metal bin or scoop attached to a wooden stick. The attachment available with the Pooper-scooper, a hatch designed to attach to garbage bags, undoubtedly influenced the later designs of dog waste bags which are much neater and easier to use.
Dog waste bags gained prominence in use as legislation began being passed in multiple cities and states in part as an effort to prevent pollution and contamination of local groundwater. Although many people simply used plastic shopping and/or grocery bags to pick up after their pets, dog waste bags, created specifically for that purpose, were available in many parks as a courtesy relatively quickly as the practice became de rigueur.
As the 20th century drew to a close, people began contemplating the ecological impact of the bags they used for these purposes. Plastic bags like those typically used as dog waste bags take around 500 years to decompose. While the practice of cleaning up after one’s dog represents a short term ecological positive choice, many people began to realize that subsequently wrapping their pets’ feces in plastic was a long term negative choice. As a result of this, reusable and biodegradable bags entered the market. Currently, a search on the internet for options will yield greater than two million hits, a sign that there are clearly far more options for this task than one might imagine. And, while the task of cleaning up after one’s dog is unlikely to be high on the scale of favorite chores, it certainly offers multiple benefits for all that use public areas with man’s best friend.
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