Inventors find inspiration in all kinds of places. If you’re a pet lover, that inspiration could possibly come from finding a better way to dispose of your pet’s stinky business. That is the case of a Chicago designer that first set out to design a better holder for doggy poop bags and followed that up with designing a more environmentally friendly poo bags as well. The first landfill biodegradable doggy poop bags on the market.
“When you get your first dog, you get the little fire hydrant or bone-shaped container to carry your poop bags,” says Jennifer Blaese. “They fall apart or get lost pretty quickly. Then, you end up replacing them with other inexpensive models that also need to be replaced. Or, you do what I did and walk around with bags in your pockets.”
Blaese decided that dog lovers would appreciate and be willing to pay for a sturdier product, especially if it looked cool and was easy to use. She played around with a prototype for about two years. As fate would have it, she lost her job and she decided to pursue her new product design full time, founding her own design firm - Loft 312.
“I worked on the design for another year before we hired an industrial designer to make it consumer-friendly,” adds Blaese. The end product was the Loop. “Instead of having a dangling doody bag holder, the leash threads through both ends of – the Loop. The design is super chic and durable; we call it drag and drop proof!”
She priced the product at $18, positioning it as a premium product. Blaese points out that you’ll often spend twice that on most of the current products on the market over a year since the current products are just not made to last and you constantly replace them.
The Loop comes in a variety of colors inspired by the Chicago “El” train lines, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, and Purple. “We added Grey in the mix at the last minute to fulfill the need for a neutral color and it has proven to be our top selling color,” adds Blaese.
The Loop is also easy-to-use for bag dispensing. The bag is housed in a clear tube so you can always see how many bags you have left and is dispensed through a slot in the tube which opens and closes with a twist of the cap. The slot clamps down on the roll, which allows for easy dispensing and secures the roll in place for later use.
Once she finalized the Loop design, she started focusing on the bags that went inside. That’s when she realized that the biodegradable bags currently on the market weren't landfill biodegradable doggy poop bags because one place they didn't biodegrade was the landfill.
“Biodegradable has many definitions, the consumer needs to question where the product biodegrades,” says Blaese. “Many poop bag manufacturers use old technology was developed in the 70’s to solve the littering problem, those plastics are designed to biodegrade when exposed to oxygen, sunlight and heat.”
“The industry recently adopted the compostable bags which are more expensive and still do not biodegrade in a landfill environment; they require commercial composting conditions to fully biodegrade,” adds Blaese. “Landfills are considered anaerobic environments, lacking oxygen with little or no exposure to sunlight. Those poop bags won’t biodegrade.”
After many months of research, Blaese began development of her own landfill biodegradable doggy poop bags. Powered with new technology making the plastic biodegradable in a landfill environment, the poop bags are designed to “doo” the right thing. The first of its kind, she gave her poop bags the name GreenLine.
“We’re having the GreenLine tested independently in a lab to verify our claims. We’ve almost completed 6 months of testing and the results are beyond our expectations,” she says. “After 6 months, we will be able to estimate the time in which it will take to fully biodegrade in landfill conditions. We will be posting updates on our testing once our new website launches in June.”
“I’ve always considered myself environmentally conscious, but my business has changed my life and the way I think about everything. From manufacturing our products in the USA, to the customers’ ability to recycle our packaging; we have a mission to minimize our environmental impact on the environment.”
Blaese has been doing her own legwork getting her products in pet boutiques. There are several Chicago boutiques that carry the products and she has gained some momentum on the East and West coasts. Chicago pet boutiques that carry the Loop and/or Green Line bags include 4 Legs Pet, Bark Bark Club, Dog-a-Holics, Jameson Loves Danger, Mutt Hutt, Parkers, Kirby’s Petsitting, Urban Pooch and Healthy Pet in Aurora.
Most recently, she has started doing business with an established regional chain in Seattle called Mud Bay. With 24 stores in the Puget Sound region, she is very excited to introduce the products to the Northwest. Recently she was at the Green Festival on Navy Pier working to get the word out to the consumers who care the most what happens to their bag once it goes in the garbage.
“Most consumers want to do the right thing. Recycle and reuse are familiar mottos, but this plastic bag is not to be recycled or reused. The poop bag is ultimately going to be discarded in the trash, especially in urban environments,” she adds. “Dog owners are very particular about their poop bags and when given the choice will usually choose a bag that is more environmentally friendly; we just need to educate consumers so they can make an educated choice. Once you know the difference, it’s hard to forget.”
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