Annabé Pretorius of Plastix 911 says;

The easiest is to look at the environmental message on the bag – the environmental claim.  If they are genuinely biodegradable, it will have reference to any of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) or EU (European Union) Standards.  Relevant Standards are:

  • ASTM D6400-04
  • ASTM D6954-04
  • EN 13432
  • ISO 14855-1
  • ISO 17088

The most common ones in SA are EN 13432 and ISO 17088.  You would typically see somewhere on the bag – “Biodegradable according to EN13432”. 

None of these bags will biodegrade if they are taken to landfill.  They will only biodegrade in a properly managed composting facility. 


The Vinçotte bags are also relatively common in SA.  In addition to certification to EN 13432, it is also possible for a product to be deemed ‘home compostable’.  At present there are no specific international or national standards for home compostable packaging and plastics, as the existing EU standards and their nationally adopted versions involve methods of test that simulate industrial scale composting and anaerobic digestion.  A Belgian ‘OK Compost Home’ specification is managed by the certification body Vinçotte, who also operate their ‘OK Compost’ (aligned to EN 13432) certification scheme.  This specification contains similar requirements to EN 13432 but the test temperatures and durations are different – 1 year at normal ambient temperatures.

Bonnie Bio Biodegradable Multi-Purpose Bags

It is stated on the Bonnie Bio Biodegradable box of 60 bags that the bags are Leak Proof, Home Compostable and 100% Biodegradable.  They comply with the following relevant biodegradable standards: EN 13432 (relevant in South Africa), AS 5810, ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6868.

It must be noted in the fine print on the box that these bags are Compostable in Industrial Facilities and that they are Not suitable for backyard compostingHowever, the bags will break down within 3 months if buried in your garden.  The bags are made from corn starch and have a Best Before (BB) date on the box.

They are available from both pet suppliers in Kenton-on-Sea.

Check the codes on the box containing biodegradable bags, read the fine print, and check the BB date.

Apart from being environmentally mindful it is common courtesy to pick up after your dog in public places.  You don’t expect your visitors to sit in your garden or on your patio surrounded by dog faeces.  Why are a pavement, the beach or the banks of our estuaries any different?