L.A. Bag Ban: What About Dog Poop?

Los Angeles Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Frequently Asked Questions FAQ Dog poop

We did it! After six years of hard work and diligence, Los Angeles is officially the largest city in the nation to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. The overwhelming response has been one of excitement, but we realize there are some Angelenos who are new to the ordinance and have questions or concerns. Let me take the time to address some of them:

How do I pick up my dog's poop?

I know plastic bags are handy for picking up animal waste, but there are alternative and easy ways to continue to be a responsible pet owner! For example, you can bring last week’s newspaper on your walk and use it to pick up poop. You can also re-use the grocery store produce bags or other forms of food packaging like bagel or bread bags.

I line my trash cans with plastic bags from the grocery store. Now what am I going to use?

As I mentioned with dog poop, produce bags from the grocery store can easily be repurposed for bag liners, as well as newspaper cover bags. Or you can forgo a small trash can liners altogether and just wash out your bins after dumping.

What about using biodegradable bags?

A “biodegradable” plastic bag is a bit of a misnomer. These bags can only break down under very specific conditions and do NOT break down naturally in our marine environments, posing a threat to marine life. Bags on our streets inevitably end up in our waterways, both our rivers and ocean, facilitated by the city's storm drain system. To fully degrade, these bags require heat and specific bacteria present in industrial composting facilities.

Will I get sick from using a reusable bag?

No! I have been using reusable bags for years and have never gotten sick from them. You can easily avoid any chance of getting sick with easy-care tips. Throw your cloth/fabric tote bags into the wash with your laundry load to clean them. Any of the thick plastic reusable bags should be wiped clean and allowed to dry before you store them. Voilà! You are germ free and the environment is healthier too!

Nancy Shrodes
Heal the Bay's Volunteer Coordinator

Before joining Heal the Bay, Nancy worked on the bag ban campaign for Environment California.