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5 Reasons Dog Owners Should Hate the Plastic Bag Ban

And not all of them deal with picking up dog poop!

Wendy Newell  |  Oct 27th 2014


If you open up the cabinet under my sink you will unleash an avalanche of plastic bags, the kind you get when you go shopping and are asked, “Paper or plastic?”

Sadly, I live in one of those progressive cities that banned plastic at the beginning of the year. Fortunately, I have a plastic bag hookup. My dad will hand over a bag of bags to me as if they are an illegal narcotic. “Put these in your car,” he murmurs. I also have a friend whose aunt is a hoarder and has been saving these gems for years now.

Unfortunately, all my hookups and I live in the golden state of California.

You may or may not be aware that California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, recently signed a bill into law that bans plastic grocery bags. What are these politicians thinking? Why would they do this to us? We’ve all been told that these “one-time use” plastic bags are only useful for a few minutes while they can cause havoc on wildlife for years, but every one of us dog owners will tell you that there isn’t a single plastic bag within our reach that is “single use.”

Here are the reasons dog owners should hate the plastic bag ban and fear it coming to their state.

1. Poop

There is no doubt that this is the No. 1 thing affected by this law. What am I supposed to pick up dog poo with? I am a dog sitter. At any given time there are three to seven dogs pooping up my backyard.

Once a day I go into my cabinet of contraband and pull out two gloriously sturdy and reliable plastic shopping bags. I march toward the backyard armed and ready for war. I use one as a “glove” and the other as the disposal container. I walk around the grounds (I say that like I have a huge backyard that requires a sit down lawn mower. I don’t. It’s a small patch of grass behind the garage.) methodically grabbing up the offensive piles. When I’m finished I have a good five pounds of smelly garbage, which I neatly tie up with those well-placed handles and drop into my trash can. There just isn’t another solution that is as efficient and cost effective as plastic shopping bags for this filthy task.

2. Vomit

I’m lucky if I can get a sick dog off my bed before he blows chunks. The chance that I will get him to the tiled floor before this happens is slim to none. If your dog is anything like mine he wonders around gag-coughing until he finds the perfect spot to puke. Paper towels won’t help in this situation. To combat the results of a sick pup I grab a hand dandy plastic shopping bag, plop it on top of the mess, and scoop. A quick tie of the handles and out to the trash can! What is left can now be attacked using an environmentally friendly cleaner and rag.

3. Shopping

Remembering to grab your reusable bags, chuck them in the back of your car, and actually take them into the store is already hard work. Making sure the bags are clean is downright impossible. More than once I’ve proudly dumped my pile of reusable fabric bags in front of the cashier only to be told I would have to bag my items myself. Why? Dog hair.

Fabric bags collect dog hair as effectively as yoga pants do (don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean). I don’t mind bagging my own items, but when I’m told in front of a large audience of fellow shoppers that it is because the checker has allergies and there is just too much dog hair it causes me a large amount of embarrassment. I actually had a very nice young man once bag my groceries, and when he was finished his eyes were so red and watery I couldn’t stop apologizing. Don’t laugh. This will be you soon.

4. Car protection

I live in California where it is 90-plus degrees in October. I also have an older black dog. To keep him from going into heat stroke during our hikes he wears a “cooling vest.” This doggie vest acts like a swamp cooler. You soak it in water and then during the hike it exchanges hot doggie air for cool vest air. So my back seat won’t get wet, I place the soaked vest in a plastic grocery bag before tossing it in the car.

“But Wendy,” you are saying. “I don’t live in California and I don’t have a black dog. Why should I care about this?” Two words: Global Warming. Plastic bag ban or no plastic bag ban, this giant ball we call Earth is getting hot. Sooner or later all the pups will need cooling vests.

5. More poo

How many times have you been heading out for a hike with your dog and thought, “Shoot, I forgot the poo bags!” Then you remember, “No worries — I’ll just grab one of those ‘take one give one’ plastic bags at the trailhead. Tragedy averted.” Not anymore. Just sad lonely containers with a rusting sign about recycling your plastic bags for the good of the trail. So sad. Plastic bags may be bad for the environment, but would Mother Nature prefer to be covered in dog poo?

Read more about dog poop:

About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A dog sitter. After years of stress she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures through the Los Angeles area ,where they live together in a cozy happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

Top photo: Dog owner picking up dog poop by Shutterstock