Paws on Plastic
Barking Bags are joining the band of responsible dog owners who are part of Paws on Plastic, all doing their bit to clean up the environment.
So what is Paws on Plastic?
Paws on Plastic is a non-profit Facebook group with the soul focus to help combat the ever-going issue of plastic waste. The beauty is in the simplicity of the idea. While out for your daily walks you’re encouraged to pick up a couple of pieces of plastic when ITS SAFE TO DO SO and, then to recycle it.
How did Paws on Plastic all begin?
Paws on Plastic started with a small group on Facebook in Stonehaven, Scotland. It’s now become a worldwide group with over 16,000 members and covers over 50 countries.
The founder Marion Montgomery started the page to encourage dog walkers to pick up a couple of pieces of plastic litter on their routine walks to help tackle the ongoing plastic waste issues.
Unfortunately, there is roughly 5.25 trillion macro and micro pieces of plastic in our ocean with over 46,000 pieces in every square mile of the ocean; weighing up to 269,000 tons. Everyday around 8 million pieces of plastic make their way into our seas.
This Is why we are reaching out to you to join us! With around 9 million dogs alone in the UK, can you imagine the impact if we all did our own little bit on each walk?
It takes no extra effort on your daily walks to pick up plastic safely, keep it in a spare poo bag, then take it home to recycle if possible.
The Paws on Plastic group know, if every member went on two daily walks just picking up a few pieces of plastic as they go, together we could collect a total of over 60,000 pieces a day and nearly 22 million a year!
How often do you walk your dog?
Most people take their dog for a walk at least twice a day. We manage an early morning jaunt, a longer walk in the afternoon and a shorter dash in the evening. We rarely have to rely on any of the excellent dog walking professionals who operate in our town and we are blessed with friends who are more than willing to step in to walk her if we can’t. It’s amazing to think that if you pick up just two pieces of plastic while you’re out, that’s 1460 pieces of plastic a year. Our dog Maisie picks up all sorts of rubbish without being asked, and it sometimes involves us prizing it out of her jaws.
Why does it matter?
We know the effects that littering has on our planet, especially with a lot of single use plastics being used daily. There are alternatives out there and ways to cut back on the use of plastic - reusing your own bags, using stainless steel cups and straws, switching to bamboo products and so on, and there are new products emerging all the time. We also know that sometimes it’s impossible not to use plastic, but it’s what you do with it afterwards that is important too!
After joining the Facebook group, we were inspired by everyone else; we couldn’t wait to get out on our next walk to do our bit. Now we find ourselves doing it automatically, it becomes a little competitive with anyone else you’re walking with.
How do we join in safely?
You are asked to do what you can but to do it safely…that means picking up plastic using your poo bags so that you don’t have to touch the plastic waste, we sometimes also use our disposable gloves but that is just adding to the problem. Using a litter picker is the safest solution but rather cumbersome, probably not the thing to do on a long walk, even though the foldaway litter picker sits neatly into the Velcro straps at the back of a Barking Bag. We tend to use the litter picker for our first walk of the day – a 20-minute romp around our park and estate, and then pick up what we can on the way home from our longer walks. There is no right way or wrong way to get involved, how much or how often. But beware once you start it becomes strangely addictive and its lovely when people stop and thank you.
Did you know, your choice of poo bags makes a difference too?
Biodegradable bags v compostable bags
It is easy to get hold of more environmentally friendly compostable and biodegradable poo bags. They’re sold in most large pet retailers and independent pet shops, where you can get lots of additional advice and help. Barking Bags provide a free biodegradable poo bag with each bag they sell, but what is the difference between the different types of bags?
Put simply – biodegradable bags will eventually break down in landfill, but they may be made with trace elements of plastic and leave a plastic residue behind.
Compostable bags are usually made with plant-based materials and will break down naturally and can be composted. They are a little more expensive and have a limited shelf life, which can be a challenge; you don’t want