Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Alternatives to Dog Poop Bags: 9 Great Choices

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Biodegradable package in the hands

Alternatives to Dog Poop Bags: 9 Great Choices

Dogs poop a lot, and that can lead to a lot of picking up poop for the average dog owner. Most people use dog poop bags to pick up their dog’s poop, but these bags are not great for the environment, and they can cost a lot of money over the life of your dog. If your dog poops once or twice per day, that amounts to between 365 and 730 dog poop bags per year. That is a lot of bags! This has led some people to seek alternatives, and at first glance, there aren’t many. However, if you use some creativity, are willing to try new products, or reuse old materials, you can replace dog poop bags and cut your reliance on these plastic menaces.

dogster face divider

Why Use Alternatives to Dog Poop Bags?

There are two main reasons to seek alternatives to dog poop bags. The first is environmental concerns. Standard dog poop bags are plastic and are not biodegradable. That means that the plastic will encase your dog’s poop and won’t allow it to break down. This will cause your dog’s poop, and the bag, to add to landfill waste. The other reason is economic. Doggy poop bags cost money (unless you live somewhere with a station that provides them for free), and those costs can add up over time, especially over the life of your dog. Many of these alternatives are cheaper than buying doggy poop bags online and can constitute savings over the course of your dog’s life.

The 9 Alternatives to Dog Poop Bags

1. Plastic Grocery Bags

Shopping in the modern world ends up leaving you with tons and tons of plastic grocery bags. These plastic bags come from all sorts of stores. Many people ball them up and throw them away. Other people stuff them into a cabinet for future use. Plastic grocery bags are a great way to replace traditional dog poop bags. These bags are free, have few other reasonable uses, and reusing them helps the environment. You won’t have to buy dog poop bags, which saves money and removes extra bags from landfills. By reusing plastic grocery bags in this way, you are keeping additional bags out of the landfill and giving your existing bags a new purpose in life.

Clear disposable plastic bag
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

2. Paper Bags

Paper bags are a great way to replace traditional doggy poop bags. Paper bags are cheap, readily available, and biodegradable. That makes paper bags both good for the planet and good for your budget. Paper bags also do not disrupt your regular routine like some other dog poop products can. You still pick up the poop like normal, except now the bag is more easily degradable.

3. Waste Products or Packaging

Everything you buy nowadays comes in a load of packaging. There are plastic sleeves, additional bags, paper, cardboard, boxes, and more. Many people unwrap their products and immediately throw all of these extra things away. But they can have a second life as a way to pick up dog poop. Things like cereal bags, packing paper, and plastic wrapping can be used to pick up dog poop safely. Packaging is free and easy to use, and using it helps the environment by giving additional use to what would otherwise be wasteful garbage.

Top view of used shipping cardboard boxes in multiple sizes stacked on each other
Image Credit: Lek in a BIG WORLD, Shutterstock

4. Reusable Doggy Bags

As gross as it sounds at first, there are reusable doggy bags that can save the use of dozens of dog poop bags. Reusable bags seal in smells, allow you to clip them onto your leash easily, and help you leave no trace. Many people prefer reusable bags when they are on long hiking trips or camping excursions. To clean them, dump the poop into a proper receptacle (or hole in the ground) and turn it inside out and rinse. Reusable bags can pay for themselves over their lifetime, and they will keep dozens (or hundreds) of plastic dog bags out of landfills. Reusable dog bags come in a variety of different colors and styles and are often affordable. Reusable dog bags are a great alternative to disposable dog bags and can add a lot of utility for dog owners who spend a lot of time out in nature far away from standard trash cans.

5. Poop Scoopers

There are portable dog poop scoopers that you can bring with you on a walk or keep in your backyard. This allows you to pick up dog poop in a quick, sanitary, and easy way without using any bags. Some scoopers close up and store the poop until you can throw it away. Other scoopers allow you to easily scoop and dump dog poop without the use of pesky bags. A quick search can yield a plethora of unique results that can fit your lifestyle. Whether you walk your dog a bunch, go to the dog park, or let your dog out in the backyard, there are various options that will allow you to use poop scoopers instead of bags. You can also use a traditional shovel if you keep one in your garden that can double as an outdoor pooper scooper for your backyard.

black color plastic pooper scooper
Image Credit: HSBortecin, Shutterstock

6. Dog Poop Gloves

Instead of using small doggy bags to pick up poop, you can invest in dog poop gloves. There are two types of gloves to choose from. You can use disposable gloves, which allow you to cover your hands, pick up poop, and then directly throw it into a nearby trash can. Disposable gloves are great for areas with readily available dog poop disposal cans, like the dog park. This way, you don’t need to transfer the poop to a bag. You can simply pick it up and throw it away directly. There are also reusable dog gloves that can be used to pick up poop, throw it away, and then wash the gloves for reuse. Some gloves can be easily rinsed off and ready to go for your dog’s next walk. Not everyone will like the idea of reusable dog poop gloves, but they can do wonders for the environment and your wallet if you use them over time.

7. Newspaper (or Junk Mail)

Newspapers are another classic way to ditch the doggy poop bags. Newspaper is an excellent material to scoop up poop, wrap it up, and throw it away. If you have old newspapers, this method is free. Newspaper is also highly biodegradable, meaning that it will break down very quickly once you toss it aside. Newspapers are not as common as they once were, but the idea can be applied to other similar products, such as junk mail. While many people have stopped getting the newspaper delivered every day, no one can quite figure out how to stop junk mail from being delivered every day. You can use fliers, mailers, sale ads, and junk mail to pick up your dog’s poop. Envelopes can easily be folded over small pieces of dog poop and then thrown away. You were going to throw that old newspaper or junk mail away anyway, so why not repurpose it before you do?

Newspaper pile
Image Credit: Liis Saar, Pexels

8. Biodegradable Bags

If the idea of scooping your dog’s poop up with newspaper is unappealing, but you still don’t want to add dozens of bags of feces to your local landfill, you can look into buying biodegradable dog poop bags. There are numerous options online for bags that resemble a traditional doggy poop bag but are made from special materials that will break down over time rather than enshrine your dog’s poop in a plastic mausoleum until the end of time. Biodegradable poop bags typically cost more than standard ones, but they have the benefit of breaking down in the environment over time as opposed to plastic, which takes ages to break down. Biodegradable bags are a great alternative to standard poop bags for those who are concerned about the environment.

9. Leaves

Anyone who has forgotten a poop bag might have turned to a nearby leaf to pick up their dog’s poop. If you live in an area with ample dead leaves or particularly large leaves, you can use them to pick up dog poop regularly. Leaves are 100% biodegradable, free to use, and do not do anything else other than lie around. Not everyone lives in an area where large dead leaves are common, but if you do, you can use the leaves to replace your reliance on dog poop bags. Even if you use leaves every once in a while, it will help phase out some dog poop bag usage. You can also use leaves to bury dog poop while hiking or in your yard (just don’t hide dog poop in well-traveled or public areas).

Boxweiler dog lying on fallen leaves
Image Credit: Malachi Jacobs, Shutterstock

dogster face divider


These nine alternatives are a great way to reduce your reliance on dog poop bags. Dog poop bags can be frustrating to use, expensive, and they are bad for the planet. These alternatives are either free or biodegradable, which gives you different options when scooping your dog’s poop. Not all of these options will work for every dog owner, but they can spark ideas or lead to finding a product that will work for you and your dog.

Featured Image Credit: g_dasha, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.