>It’s Not Easy Being Green Part II

>Over the course of having trixie, I’ve learned a lot of stuff. Some I had to learn quickly, some tidbits have floated in slowly. One thing I hadn’t given a lot of thought to, until recently, was poop bags.

When I got Babs, I tried to prepare as much as I could, even though that was woefully inadequate in retrospect. I knew I’d have to have something to pick up the poop, and I wanted it to be a smallish bag, but not too small. somebody had suggested a roll of those vegetable bags you use at the grocery store, the ones you rip off and then put your pepper, or cucumber or whatever the heck into. I thought this was an awesome idea, and bought a big honkin’ roll o bags. That big honkin’ roll o bags looks neither big nor honkin’ anymore.

I started to notice that people were recommending these special doggy poop bags you could buy. I thought they were high. It’s a bag used to hold poop. why would you buy special bags to hold poop? Then somebody explained to me why they did it, and suddenly I felt like the idiot. For one thing, those produce bags aren’t very thick, so when you’re picking up the nasties, some of the residue sort of gets on your hands. But the more important thing is, duh, plastic bags like that don’t break down.

I got thinking about that. Here I am, putting a plastic bag full of dog poop into the garbage two or three times a day. I saw a video of birds eating plastic because it looked like plankton and dying from it. I thought to myself gee, when this roll of bags runs out, I don’t think I want another one of those, even if it’s cheap. So I started hunting for biodegradable poop bags, and boy did I learn a lot.

first, I learned that there’s a whole site dedicated to dog poop bags. Seriously, poopbags.com exists.

Second, there are lots of silly names for dog poop-pickup bags. There are poopies and scoopies and all kinds of goofy names.

Third, these sons of bitches aren’t cheap at all. I expected them to be a little more expensive, but good christ. the sucky part is a lot of them only come in small, small quantities like 50. that wouldn’t even last me a month! One thing I loved about the honkin’ roll o bags was I didn’t really have to worry about running out of bags for a good long time. Plus, at the inflated prices, you end up paying way more than you would if you bought a large quantity of them.

Fourth, every kind of biodegradable bag biodegrades at a different rate. Some of them go insanely fast, like within a couple of days of being in your pocket. No thanks.

I remember when I was at GDB, they used a bag called a Mutt Mit. They were a bit thicker, and I found out they were biodegradable. I also knew there was a time when GDB folks could get them for free from Intelligent Products, the company that makes them, although that time is apparently long past. I thought perfect. GDB uses them, and they must go through ’em like gangbusters. They can’t be that expensive and they must be good.

So I went to their site, and I found out you could get a box of 900. I thought great. That’s a big old box of bags. Then I found out you had to pay $72 American. Ouch! Plus, when I called them, they said they’d have to put a huge amount of shipping cost on top and they couldn’t tell me how much. Ok, this is getting insane. Maybe there’s something else? Maybe?

I started looking around for a Canadian alternative, and the only thing close to that was something called “Bags on Board”. You put the bags in a thing that you clip to the leash and I guess you can pull bags out of it. I hadn’t heard bad things about that system, but I didn’t like the idea of something swinging from the leash. Maybe if I saw it in action, I’d be ok with it. Plus, the replacement bags looked cheap, but after doing some quick calculations, they’d end up working out to about the same or more money.

so I called the company back and said I was interested, but this shipping thing was a problem. They gave me a couple more suggestions. I could either call PetSmart or their Canadian distributor in Alberta. I took down their Canadian distributor’s number, but called PetSmart first. We don’t have one in guelph, and they don’t ship, but maybe I could swing something where I could visit one in Ottawa or something, and if I only had to do this once a year or so, then it would be ok.

Bzzz. First, the poor fellow I got didn’t even know what Mutt Mitts were. He kept asking if I meant Muttluks. No, no I don’t want boots. I already have those. They were an epic fail for my poor poochy. Then, when I said I was looking for a kind of poop bag, he could find them. The only size they had was 100 bags. Nope. I’m not wangle fanangling my way to Kitchener or Ottawa or somewhere else once every couple of months for poop bags. No, no, no.

I called petsmart.com’s customer service number. I think it’s hilarious that the American Pet Smart will ship to Canada, but the Canadian stores won’t do it. I asked if they had a bigger size and could they ship? they said they did not have a bigger size, and since the material was biodegradable, it was on the restricted list of things that could not be shipped across the border.

Feeling slightly deflated, I called the Canadian distributor in Alberta whose number I had been given by Intelligent Products. They seemed shocked that I knew who they were and that I was on the hunt for these bags and was having such trouble. They, in turn, gave me the number of their sister company in Manitoba.

I called these people, who just about jumped for joy that someone wanted something. Interesting. They were very happy to help me and said they would call their head office and find out how much it would cost. they finally called me back and said that it would cost me, *eek*, $110. and then there’d be a shipping fee that I’d have to pay when it got here.

That’s when I learned that I don’t think these people get a lot of individual customers. I think they deal with big businesses and stuff a lot. I’m not trying to bash them, they did an excellent job and they were understanding when they told me the price and I went, “Um…I’ll have to think about this a while.” But they did funny little things. They didn’t know if the shipper would allow me to put the fee on my credit card instead of paying in cash and asked *me* to call them. I have never been asked by a company to call their shipper. In the end, they decided to call the shipper and ask for me, but this wasn’t what they were used to. I think I gave the one girl a heart attack once. As she was telling me how much everything costs, etc. I could hear, “munch, munch, munch.” I waited until the end and then said, “Sorry that I called in the middle of your lunch.” She freaked out and wondered how I knew she was eating. the poor girl. I think she felt bad.

After getting the news on how much this box of bags was going to cost, I thought, and thought, and thought. Then I thought if I only have to do this every year and a half or so, I guess I can handle it, and next time I’ll know who to go to. And I guess if they go out of business, I can always fall back on Bags on Board and figure out how this is supposed to work. I know the pet store down the street does sell them. So I took the plunge. They haven’t arrived yet, but they should soon since my credit card was charged.

Is anyone else tired yet? If they’re not tired, they’re probably looking at me like I’m the biggest idiot to walk this earth. there are some moments when I feel like a fool for spending that much on poop bags, but that feeling is a lot less than the guilt of continually dumping plastic bags into the environment, and I know that pretty much any biodegradable bag would have cost me near that much by the time I’d bought 900 of ’em.

So if any other Canadian folks want to go mutt mitts, there are a couple of things you can do. If you have a PetSmart that’s easy to get to, you can buy the box of 100 from there. You’d have to figure out if that’s cheaper at the end than getting the 900 box, but at least that’s a possibility.

Or, you can call their alberta distributor at 780-440-4114 or their sister company, Guardian Traffic, at 204-233-1600, whichever would be closer to you.

god! If people want folks to be environmentally conscious, they sure as hell don’t make it easy.

As a quick aside, has anyone else noticed the ineefectiveness of carrying a cloth bag? I got given a cool fold-up cloth bag doo hicker that fits neatly in your purse. It’s very cute, and you can woosh it open and put the things you bought in it instead of putting them in a plastic bag…in theory. The couple of times I’ve used it, I’ve said I have an envirobag, put the stuff in here, and what do they do? Bag up the items in a plastic bag and put that bag inside the cloth bag! Curses,! Foiled again!

So…now I wait for the grand box of bags. Hopefully I’m not disappointed because they’re not as I remember them or something.

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