The 4 Best Compostable Dog Poop Bags of 2021

Number one bags for when your dog goes number two.

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The Rundown
These bags are soft, durable, and easy-to-separate. Plus, the company supports nature-related charities.
Roomy, sturdy bags that really expand, with packaging made from recycled materials.
Soft black bags for smaller loads.
Scoop like you would with a paper towel, then twist the top.

Where there are dogs, there is poop. 

Perhaps you’ve seen bags of dog poop when you walk around your neighborhood or out on the trails. Some people might leave the sacks behind, planning to pick them up later. Others might use biodegradable bags and mistakenly think the sacks will quickly decompose.

But “biodegradable” doesn’t really mean much; it’s just a marketing term without a legal definition. One 2019 study found that bags marked biodegradable lasted in soil, submerged in seawater, and out in the open air for three years or more.

That’s why researchers say compostable bags are a more eco-friendly option. They’re usually made of plant starch and contain no plastics, so they dissolve much more quickly. In the same study, compostable bags dissolved in water in three months instead of three years. If you’re used to standard bags, you might notice these feel a little bit thinner, and they don’t have an added fragrance to disguise the normal doggy smell. Compostable bags also are more expensive than standard poop bags, but there’s the environmental tradeoff.

We had more than a dozen dogs and owners test four compostable dog poop bags and one foldable paper. Here’s what they thought were the best.

Best Overall: The Original Poop Bags

The Original Poop Bags

We love everything about these simply named Poop Bags. They are made in the United States of plant matter including corn, vegetable oils, and compostable polymers, and they meet the ASTM D6400 standard for commercial compostability.

There are several versions including convenient rolls that fit standard holders that attach to leashes or your pocket when you go on walks. There are long boxes you can keep near the back door where you can take a bag or two at a time, and there are bags with easy-to-tie handles.

If you purchase bags from the company’s "You Buy; We Donate" line, a portion of sales are donated to support nature-related charities. Funds have helped plant trees, protect sea turtles, sponsor marine research, and support the Jane Goodall Institute.

Our testers like that these bags are soft, easy to separate, and that they feel durable. They are sturdy enough that they don’t feel like they are going to tear and they are roomy enough that they can tie easily. There’s no smell, and they liked the feel-good aspect of contributing to animal causes. It made paying a little extra worth it.

“They feel a little thin when you first hold them but don’t feel thin when you use them,” said one tester. “They don’t feel like you’re touching poop through them.”

Best Large Bags: Doggy Do Good Biodegradable Poop Bags

Doggy Do Good Biodegradable Poop Bags

A close runner-up, Doggy Do Good bags are vegetable-based, made primarily from GMO-free cornstarch and other bio-based components. The company says the bags break down in just 90 days. They are certified compostable (ASTM D6400) in the United States and in Europe (EN 13432) by TÜV AUSTRIA, an international certification body.

They’re available on small rolls for dispensers, on large rolls, and with or without handles. They are thick and supposedly leak-proof, although we didn't test this. The side panels are gusseted, so the bags expand for extra space. The capacity is 2.5 quarts or a half gallon.

The company has pledged to donate at least 10 percent of profits to animal rescues and no-kill shelters, including the Humane Society of the United States, Best Friends Animal Society, and the Animal Welfare Institute. The core and packaging are also made from 100 percent recycled materials.

Our testers found these very easy to get open. The baggies are soft and don’t stick together, and they expanded, so there’s plenty of room for large loads. That also made them very easy to tie and easy to carry.

“These were longer and wider which made it much easier to get my hand inside, pick up the ‘presents,’ and pull it back over to secure and tie,” said one tester.

Best for Small Dogs: BioBag Standard Pet Waste Bags

BioBag Pet Waste Bags

BioBags are made from a resin derived from plants, vegetable oils, and compostable oils. The resin is sourced from Italy. The bags meet the ASTM D6400 standard.

These compostable bags come in standard and large sizes in a hangable stack where you can rip off one at a time. They also come in a roll for easy portability on walks, and there’s a version with handles if you don’t want to struggle with tying them. 

Except for the bags with handles, these bags are black and very soft, and flexible. There’s no scent, and they are easy to separate. The bags are a little smaller than some of the others we tried. Testers with larger dogs had trouble tying the bags once they were full. Some testers, however, really liked the look of the black bags.

“These were fine for my smaller dog. The bags were narrower and shorter, so I would not use for my large dog,” said one tester.

Best Paper: Pooch Paper Biodegradable Dog Waste Sheet

Pooch Paper

You have to relearn the way you pick up your dog’s deposits with these Pooch Paper sheets. Just slide one of these folded sheets into your back pocket and then whip it out when you need it. There’s no plastic involved. Most of the recycled, unbleached, uncoated pulp is sourced in the United States and Canada (with a little coming from places like Sweden, Norway, Finland, and a few other locales). Most fibers are from balsam fir, white spruce, red spruce, and black spruce is certified with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative fiber sourcing program and the Forest Stewardship Council.

There are two sizes: 12 x 12 inches for regular and 14 x 14 inches for large dogs. You use these like you would pick up something with a paper towel, and then twist the top, and toss it when you get home. They aren’t a great option if your dog has runny stool, so it might be a good idea to have a traditional bag with you just in case.

Our Treehugger reviewers had mixed feelings. Those with small and medium dogs had no problems scooping and twisting. One with a larger dog found the maneuver a bit more difficult to contain the larger load. 

If you’re out on a long walk, some had concerns the paper could unravel depending on how much waste and how tight you wrapped it. The company does sell a clip and a pouch separately, or you could use a clothespin or a chip clip if you have a spare sitting around.

“I liked the pooch paper because you’re not feeling the heat of the waste,” said one reviewer with a small dog. “You don’t feel like you’re carrying a bag of poop, and it’s easy to carry in your pocket."
Final Verdict

Poop Bags are our pick for the best compostable bags (view at Amazon). They’re easy to use, sturdy, and dependable. They come in small and large rolls and with and without handles. A portion of profits benefit nature-related causes. Similarly, Doggy Do Good Bags also come in several convenient forms and benefit pet-related charities (view at Amazon). Because the sides expand, they are especially good for larger loads.

What to Look for in a Compostable Dog Poop Bag

One way to tell if bags are biodegradable and compostable is to look for the ASTM D6400 label, meaning it meets the U.S. standards for a material to compose in municipal or industrial facilities. Although most facilities don’t accept pet waste in the United States, there are some communities and parks that have composting programs, and it is accepted in parts of Canada. You can consider composting dog waste at home (just be sure to take special precautions), and even if it goes to a landfill, going in a compostable bag is much better than going in a plastic one. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

We first researched bags from eco-minded companies that offer compostable options for dog waste. We then sent the five top products home with dog owners, to see what it's like to use these bags in real life. In addition to the four products on this list, our testers also liked the Well Earth Goods compostable bags, but we're no longer able to find them for sale online.

The proud mom of a rescue dog, Mary Jo DiLonardo has fostered more than three dozen dogs and puppies so she’s picked up a lot of poop. For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, health, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. She has spent more than six years with Treehugger, formerly under the Mother Nature Network brand.