How do I dispose of dog poop?
This post was written in 2007 by Kim Palmer
I want to be a good pet owner and clean up after my dog, but what is the best way to dispose of pet waste?
Most people would agree that if you are a responsible member of society you pick up after your pet. But many pet owners have been left wondering what is the most ecological and sanitary way to deal with it after that.
Unfortunately by using a plastic bag to pick up, store and dispose of dog waste you are effectively preserving what is otherwise bio-degradable.
It is sobering when you realize that the amount of dog waste produced in the U.S. every year is enough to fill a football field up to 800 feet.
One way to deal with the biodegradable-ness of your pet’s waste is to switch to biodegradable bags or walk with and use a pooper scooper rather than, say, a recycled grocery bag.
Most types of biodegradable bags breakdown in as few as 30 days and these bio-bags are comparably priced to other plastic dog baggies. Pooper scoopers on the other hand are free after the initial investment.
However, there remains the problem with where to put ‘it’ once you’ve picked ‘it’ up, In most cities, garbage collectors don't want dog waste in the truck because bags can break and get rather messy. Dog waste it turns out is also not really welcome in the plumbing by most sewer departments.
One green option is to create your own personal pet disposal system that will break down the waste to a harmless liquid. Here’s some pointers:
- Take an old garbage can and drill a dozen holes in the side.
- Cut out the bottom.
- Dig a hole in the ground, deep enough for the can.
- Toss some rocks or gravel in the hole for drainage and position the can so it's a slightly higher than the ground
- Then deposit the waste and sprinkle in some septic starter and water.
If making your own composter seems like a bit too much work there are a handful of commercial sites like www.composter.com that offer an impressive array of pet waste composters like: Doggie Dooley Pet Waster digester system and the Pet Poo Converter, which uses worms to change pet waste in healthy soil (not to be used in food gardens). More recently we’ve found something called the Indoor Poo Patch that really defies description and must be seen to believed.
And according a knowledgeable gardening website, urine (even pet urine) is sterile and contains large amounts of urea, which is an excellent source of nitrogen for plants. Of course you need to dilute it to the tune of about 10-15 parts water to 1 part urine.
Pet urine can also be used in composting to increase the nitrogen content of the mulch, accelerating the composting process. Now how you collect and dilute the urine is another question all together.
10 ways to stay cool and save >
See these tips to beat the heat and save money.
Find local food >
Explore local food resources and a map of farmers markets in Northeast Ohio
Eco-friendly landscapes >
We look inside two local guides to native landscaping and their benefits.