When you think of things that are “saving our planet,” pooper scoopers are probably not the first thing that comes to mind. You’re probably thinking of bigger things like NASA, “Go Green” initiatives, or maybe even Al Gore and his PowerPoint presentations. But when it comes to the environment, no gesture is too small or insignificant.

While we're on our soap box about cleaning up after your dog, we must also mention that it is your responsibility as a dog owner, and also a common courtesy to other dogs and humans that have to walk in the area where your dog did his business. We've all stepped in a pile of dog waste before, and it is incredibly frustrating.

It doesn't normally happen on a leisurely stroll through the park on a Saturday afternoon. Typically, you're rushing to walk your dog before work and he is refusing to go to the bathroom. You're late and then “WAM” you step in it. It's on your shoes, it stinks, and now you're going to be even more late because you need to clean your shoes.

Please, do the rest of us a favor and make cleaning up your #1 priority after your dog goes #2.

While the thought of picking up your dog’s stool is likely not a pleasant one, fear not. In this article, we’ll sway you to the pickup side and give you some product recommendations for dog pooper scoopers that will make the process as easy and “ungross” as possible.

How Dog Pooper Scoopers Are Saving Our Planet

How Pooper Scoopers Are Saving Our Planet

Dog owners who don't scoop the poop may have the misconception that dog poop decomposes on its own. In actuality, that’s not the case. The ecological group, Environmental Working Group, sponsored a study on the biological contaminants of pets, and what they found was rather shocking.

The EWG study was performed by AXYS Analytical, Sidney, British Coumbia, Canada, from blood and urine collected from dogs and cats by a Virginia veterinary laboratory. In the article Polluted Pets: High Levels of Toxic Industrial Chemicals Contaminate Cats And Dogs, EWG detailed the study’s findings of the high amounts of chemical contaminants, which likely came from several household sources, in our pets.

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According to the study, dogs were contaminated with 48 industrial chemicals (out of 70). Forty-three of those chemicals were found at higher levels than they would have been found in us (according to studies done on humans by the Center for Disease Control). These toxic substances came from plastics, food-packaging chemicals, fire retardants, heavy metals, and cleaning toxins.

These scary statistics are no joke. Dogs normally are walking petri dishes, but the study sponsored by EWG added another environmentally destructive layer to the damage done to dogs and by dogs as a result of their ingestion of these contaminants.

Minimizing contamination helps the earth

One way in which dogs pick up these chemicals is by licking their paws after running around and crawling on the floor. (In a way, their chemical contamination is not dissimilar to that of children.) Once the contaminants are ingested by the dog, they don’t stay there. Each time your dog goes to the bathroom, the pollution comes out as well.

Cleaning up their stool is absolutely vital to ensuring that these toxins are removed from the earth’s surface — especially considering that according to a company aptly named “DoodyCalls,” dogs deposit a total of 10 million pounds of feces per year. According to the Huffington Post, that’s enough feces to fill nearly 4,000 fire trucks, a line that would stretch from Boston to Seattle.

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All of that poundage, along with the contaminants it contains, going into the earth is not good. Along with switching to organic cleaning materials to reduce your dog’s exposure to these contaminants, which also minimizes his chance of becoming ill from ingesting them, depositing his poop in the correct places — trash cans or specially designated areas in parks, neighborhoods, etc. — will help prevent inadvertent environmental damage by your dog.

Frankly, picking up your dog's poop is just the polite thing to do. It would be really cool if dog owners simply took one for the team and did it. With that in mind and without further ado, here are some suggestions and product recommendations for picking up your dog’s poop in the least gross way possible.

FULL LIST: Top 50 Best Dog Pooper Scoopers

How Dog Pooper Scoopers Are Saving Our Planet

Products that make poop scooping painless

Again, when it comes to choosing pooper scoopers, we have to keep in mind that we are “going green” and trying to prevent further damage to the environment. There are two elements to a pooper scooper: the bag and the scooper itself. The scooper won't have much to do with the environment, unless you want to get one that is made of recycled materials, but the bags can be a problem.

The bags

For bags that won’t harm the environment, we recommend the Extra Thick Waste Poop Bags with Dispenser, which like the name says, includes a free bag dispenser shaped like a bone with the poop bags. The bags are constructed with a d2w prodegradant, which accelerates the oxidation of the bags so that they biodegrade quickly, making them environmentally friendly.

They fit most standard dispensers and are opaque, meaning that the contents you pick up aren't visible (it’s a good thing, trust us). The waste linings are extra thick, which is also advantageous for obvious reasons. The bags are also well-sealed.

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Another option for pooper scooper bags are the poop bags sold by Pink Paws, the Pink Paws Poop Bags, which donates a portion of the proceeds from their sales to breast cancer research. The bags are large, 8.5” x 12,” thick, and leakproof. They even have a slight rose scent. Pink Paws prides itself on being environmentally conscious. Their bags have an EPI additive that makes them biodegradable, and their packaging is made of recycled materials.

The pooper scoopers

As for the pooper scooper itself, a well-reviewed brand is Nature’s Miracle Jaw Scoop, which is rated #1 on Amazon. Lightweight and easy to use, it looks almost like a miniature vacuum cleaner. It scoops up the poop, making for an easy deposit, and it’s tall enough that you don’t have to bend over to use it. The product itself has antimicrobial protection. The scooper works with both wet and dry waste, meaning that once it’s out, you don’t have to wait to pick it up.

A second pooper scooper to consider is the Four Paws Wire Rake Scooper for Grass. It looks like a miniature, hooked rake and is perfect for picking up poop deposited in grass, which sometimes makes it difficult to pick up dog waste. With the rake, it’s easy to scoop it up and deposit it into a biodegradable bag.

How Pooper Scoopers Are Saving Our Planet
Photo: Rich Anderson

Cleanup is very sanitary with this scooper, and it’s rust resistant, which means you can clean it with the garden hose and hang it up to dry without worrying about it getting rusty. It’s reasonably priced as well, a bonus for anyone looking to save some money.

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If you have a large dog, we suggest the Four Paws Large Dog Rake Set. Made by the company that offers the Four Paws Wire Rake Scooper for Grass mentioned above, its rake size is nearly double the size of the regular rake and is specifically designed for larger dogs.

Be considerate and scoop the poop

No matter which of the many types and brands of pooper scoopers you choose, know that you’re doing a good thing for the environment by cleaning up after your dog. The earth thanks you. Not only will Mother Nature be pleased, but the rest of humanity will too. It's always frustrating to see a dog owner walk away after their pet makes a large deposit at the dog park. Don't be that person.

Cleaning up your dog's waste is one of the many responsibilities of being a pet owner, so take it in stride and invest in a few products that will make the job less disgusting. With a top quality scooper and some eco-friendly waste bags, cleaning up after your dog will be a breeze!