Plastic Bag Bans a No-Go in Michigan, But Pet Owners Can Still Go Green

February 5, 2020

Although several states are making moves to discontinue the widespread use of single use plastics, Michigan has made the notable move of banning bans on plastic bags. Still, that doesn’t mean that Michigan residents should eschew more sustainable ways of living, as there are plenty of ways to voluntarily reduce waste. If you have kids (whether they be Homosapien or canine), you might assume that that’s no easy task. But the reality is that you can still go green if you’ve got a pet at home — no matter where you live.

The state of Michigan has an interesting history when it comes to banning plastic bags, in particular. The use of plastics isn’t inherently wrong, of course. We use countless types on a near-constant basis, including those made from the reaction injection molding process. But there’s little doubt that single use plastics, which fail to break down and sit in landfills for decades, end up harming the environment.

That’s why many states are making moves to ban them — at least those that are used in straws and bags. However, Michigan isn’t currently among their ranks. Local communities were actually prohibited from banning single use containers, including plastic bags, in 2016. The idea behind it was that banning plastic bags would create problems for area businesses both large and small. But considering that around 10,000 tons of plastic enter the Great Lakes each year, the decision isn’t an easy one to understand. Last year, there was a bi-partisan bill introduced to ban the ban on plastic bag bans (say that three times fast!). But as of now, no progress has been made.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that residents can’t decide on their own to discontinue the use of plastic bags and make other changes that support a greener lifestyle. But is it even realistic to do so — especially if at least one of the members of your household seems to need plastic bags on the regular?

Despite the fact that an average of 44,230 weddings take place each weekend, there are other relationships in your life that might mean just as much as the one you have with your spouse. Pet owners, for example, know how important their bond is with their furry companions. Roughly (or ruffly, as the case may be) 44% of all U.S. households have a dog, which means a substantial portion of Americans are willing to have their daily routines revolve around an animal. And, as any dog owner knows, these creatures put the “poo” in pooch.

So what’s the alternative to using plastic bags for waste cleanup? Biodegradeable bags or a metal scooper. There are actually bags that are compostable, which ensures a more complete breakdown after being discarded; however, you shouldn’t include your pup’s waste in your own compost pile if you plan to use it on edible elements of your garden. If you want to avoid bags entirely (which may not be an option if you have no yard space or travel with your dog), invest in a reusable scooper and deposit in the garbage or the toilet.

That’s not the only way for pet owners to embrace sustainability, however. Switching to eco-friendly grooming and food products, provided they’ve been tested for safety, can help. Cooking your dog’s food at home or signing up for a food service (with minimal packaging, of course) might be viable options. You might also consider buying treats from locally owned shops in bulk, rather than purchasing bagged treats that are laden with chemicals. You can even make toys out of old stuffed animals and fabric scraps, if you’re crafty. Make sure that if you do need to buy new items (like food and water bowls, leashes, or crates) that you seek out options that will last. That way, you won’t have to replace them frequently and contribute to the planet’s waste.

With these tips in mind, pet owners living in Michigan and elsewhere can take steps to live more sustainably. Even if it’s tempting to reuse grocery bags for your pet’s business, being more environmentally responsible will ensure that all living things can continue to have their creature comforts for many years to come.

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