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April 26, 2017

“Waste bags are a necessity—every dog poops!”

So said Earth Rated’s Project Manager Tara Garland.

While waste bags are a perennial must-have, sustainable waste products are newer to the market but growing rapidly in popularity. Gemma Rose, a new brand to the market, launched with premium oxo-biodegradable, rose-scented, handle-tie bags. Nick Fuchs of Gemma Rose explained the construction of the sustainable bag.

“Currently, the best available option, which balances degradability and still has the durability consumers are requesting is to incorporate an oxo-degradable additive made by EPI,” Fuchs said. “EPI has created a food-grade additive that is mixed in with the plastics during the manufacturing process, which allows the plastic to break down via oxo-biodegradation when disposed in the proper environment. This means that these now oxidized plastics will fragment into very small pieces that can then be consumed by microorganisms and turned into CO2, H2O and bio-mass, and eventually they will be used up in photosynthesis and return back into the environment over the course of about three years or so.”

However, Fuchs pointed out that it’s a tricky balance. Though the brand will launch a new product soon—the current bag’s on a roll—they’re watching for new trends in plastics.

“It’s tough to predict the future, but we’re hopeful that plastics technology will continue to move forward and we can find new formulations and additives for our bags that help them break down even quicker in the environment while still retaining durability and integrity during storage,” he said. “That is one area where it’s hard to find a balance. The waste bags need to break down under the proper disposal conditions while not degrading in the box while they are sitting on the shelves or tearing into pieces when you are trying to use them. It’s a pretty unique set of product requirements and we’ll be constantly pushing to make the best product which meets those requirements.”

Gemma Rose also supports animal rescue by donating a portion of each box’s sales to established and reputable 501c3 rescue organizations.

“It’s a win for the environment and a win for the animals,” Fuchs said.

“Our bags on small rolls are a very popular format since they are dispenser-compatible, and we have a white-colored format that is vegetable starch-based,” Earth Rated’s Garland added. “These white bags can be disposed of in municipal compost facilities where pet waste is accepted. As with our complete line of dog waste bags, these bags also have packaging and inner roll cores made from recycled materials, and can be recycled after use.”

Customers’ Preference
When choosing which sustainable waste products to carry in store, Garland said, “identifying your customers’ needs is a great start.”

“We offer a variety of formats and styles and have realized that preferences differ greatly between customers,” she said. “We recommend stocking multiple formats to ensure you have what your customers are looking for, as well as offering both scented and unscented options as many customers have strong scent preferences. Placing your bags’ display close to the counter is also a great way to remind customers to restock. We’ve even just launched a new counter display with single rolls, which are great impulse-buy items.”

“There seems to be a trend towards more sustainable and eco-friendly products,” A Pet with Paws founder and President Ann Greenberg said about customers who want to show their unique style while being sustainable about pet waste.

A Pet with Paws has reimagined the poop bag holder, integrating a fashion-forward, eco-friendly bag pouch and wristlet into the mix. The newly-designed Jackson Poop Pick-Up Bag Pouch and Zuzu Wristlet also promote a sustainable lifestyle because they’re made of recycled plastic bottles.

“The grey and red Jackson Style Poop Pick-Up Bag Pouch and Zuzu wristlet are the perfect size to take on a walk with Fido,” Greenberg said. “The Jackson pouch easily attaches to a leash, pet carrier or belt loop. While the Zuzu wristlet has enough room for the pet owner to carry their house keys, cell phone and credit cards, there is a separate zipper compartment for the roll of poop bags. Both Jackson and Zuzu have a discrete small opening on the backside, making it easy to access poop bags. Simply pull, tear off bag, and you’re ready for scooping.”

Selling It
Greenberg suggested how retailers can increase sales, including specialty point-of-purchase displays, offering waste management products near the checkout area as a “grab-and-go” purchase and, of course, a well-trained staff that can educate customers. She also recommended a creative event to increase sales.

“Organize ‘There is No Poop Fairy’ events in various communities and have dog waste products available for sale,” she said. “A lighthearted approach keeps the conversation going. At Earth Rated, we pride ourselves on having fun with a product where its intended purpose can sometimes be less than glamourous. We recognize that along with all of the joys pets bring into our lives, they also bring plenty of mess. We genuinely want to offer products that help consumers with their needs and are always receptive to feedback from our retailers to ensure we’re meeting that goal.”

“Have fun with your displays,” Garland added. “All pet owners need to pick up, so why not do it in style and have a little fun with it?”

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