Bag the Poop Hold the Plastic
Audrey Clement, candidate for the Arlington County Board is looking at waste
management from all angles. Most recently her campaign team has been reaching out
to the pet owners in Arlington County and educating them on the options for picking up
pet refuse. Clement volunteers are chasing down pet owners and handing out
biodegradable “doggie poop bags” at dog parks and on bike trails. Each bag is stuffed
with her campaign card. On Saturday October 8, at the Lacey Wood Parkʼs Dogtober
Day and Baker Bash several pet lovers shared why they agree with Ms. Clement. Time
for a Walk, a pet walking and sitting company only uses biodegradable bags. Owner
Christine Keough explains why. “We wanted to use something that is not going to fill
our land fills with waste.” When asked if making the decision to use the bio bags, which
are made primarily of corn starch, was a big financial investment, Ms. Keough
responded, “ Not much more at all, actually quite affordable and the decision has not
affected our low rates.”
John Reeder Arlington Green Party Chairman, explains the campaign rationale, “We are
hoping pet owners will like the idea of reducing their carbon footprint and and ultimately
show support for the ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags which Audrey submitted
to the County Board on behalf of the Arlington Green Party in April.
It appears the decision to switch could prove a wise business move, as many pet owners
have already made the transition. Kim Klingler was out mingling among the pooches
with her two furry friends, but instead of taking a bag offered by volunteers, Kim shared
that she already uses biodegradable bags. Cost is not an issue because she orders
bags online at what she describes as a “great price.” Kim went on to say, “I know plastic
bags are a big issue in landfills as well as littering the Chesapeake Bay, once I
understood how easy it was to switch, finding the right size bag for my dogs was the
“This switch to biodegradable bags is more then symbolic,” says Chairman Reeder, a
long time opponent of plastic bags. “They clog drains, gum up recycling conveyers belts
and are among the leading contributors to pollution worldwide.” The manufacturers of biodegradable bags report that they decay as quickly as an apple.
Kramer, a sixteen-year old poodle whose owner lives in the Williamsburg neighborhood came to the park last Saturday in a costume covered in plastic newspaper bags to remind people to pick up their dogs waste. Though Kramer did not win the costume
contest, he was a winner at displaying the scariest environmental costume of the year. Becky Halbe, his owner won a weeks worth of biodegradable bags for her creativity.
The bags can’t be found in most pet stores yet, but three local stores that do sell the environmentally friendly pet bags include bags Dominion Pet Center, Dogma and Petco. When asked why the focus on this issue, Ms. Clement summed it this way, “We all have a part to play, even the least among us. If we can achieve little shifts in our daily actions, we can certainly come together on the big environmental issues we face.” For the record Arlington County waste is incinerated at the Covanta resource recovery facility in Alexandria.