Project Harmless – The Edinburgh-Based Startup Hoping To Clean Up In The Dog Waste Bag Market

Project Harmless – The Edinburgh-Based Startup Hoping To Clean Up In The Dog Waste Bag Market

More than one third of UK families have a loyal canine companion. However, while dogs may make lives richer, the use of conventional plastic bags to dispose of their waste is having a significant impact on the environment. An innovative new startup is tackling the issue head-on with the launch of a water-reactive, non-toxic, and microplastics free alternative that can be fully dissolved in hot water in as little as 10 minutes.

It’s estimated that up to 1.23 million tonnes of dog waste bags are disposed of each year around the world. In the UK, there are approx. 12.5 million dogs, assuming 70% usage of waste bags 2-3 times per day, that’s a potential of between 17.5 – 26.25 million used dog waste bags every day.

Edinburgh-based Project Harmless is hoping that, by making the switch, dog owners can play a big role in keeping harmful plastics out of rivers and oceans, and help create a healthier, happier landscape.

While conventional plastics are affordable and convenient, many take more than 500 years to break down, and never fully decompose. Ultimately, around 10% of all plastic waste ends up in water, posing significant risk to marine life. If human behaviour does not change, National Geographic estimates that, by 2040, the world’s seas will contain a whopping 29 million metric tonnes of plastic.

The ‘Harmless Poop Bag’ from Project Harmless is an innovative solution to conventional dog waste bags. 100 million marine animals die each year[1] from general plastic waste, however, the ‘Harmless Poop Bag’ rapidly disintegrates in seas and oceans, so won’t ensnare marine life. If digested, the non-toxic and micro-plastic free material will safely pass through the systems of marine animals and won’t endanger the animal or human food chain.

George Greer, Managing Director for Project Harmless, says, “On a tour of the Highlands, my partner and I stopped in Loch Long to walk our dog, Noah, but were immediately shocked to see a significant amount of debris and plastic bags washed on shore.  It appears, like many locations worldwide, this shore was a deposit point for the local tidal waves. It struck us just how much harmful plastic is in our waters and got us thinking of how we could make a difference.”

While the concept of eco-friendly dog waste bags certainly isn’t new, George discovered that many of the biodegradable bags on the market weren’t living up to their promises. In fact, during research George uncovered data showing that all ‘biodegradable’ bags studied by a Plymouth University test in 2019 were still functional, even after spending three years in water and soil.

George’s partner, who had become familiar with pill capsule technology while studying in Pennsylvania, suggested using a similar approach to develop a truly eco-friendly bag using the same non-toxic and water-reactive material. Which is how Project Harmless was born. Today, the Harmless Poop Bag is emerging as one of the only sustainable solutions for dog owners, rapidly disintegrating due to heightened sensitivity to the open environment.

Project Harmless is on a mission to launch even more solutions to today’s biggest and most urgent environmental challenges. Its new carrier bag, known as the ‘Harmless Bag’, offers a responsible alternative to single use carrier bags.

Although some supermarkets have committed to switching out plastic bags for paper alternatives, Government reports confirm that ‘paper in landfills does not degrade or break down at a substantially faster rate than plastic does… because of the lack of water, light, oxygen, and other important elements’.

Project Harmless believes that cutting down trees is not the solution. The Harmless Bag can easily be fully dissolved at home avoiding any recycling costs or landfill usage, providing an environmentally friendly solution for retailers and consumers.

By using fewer harmful plastics in day-to-day lives and reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and oceans, Project Harmless hopes to change the world for the better.

To find out more about Project Harmless, visit

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