What is the Most Environmentally-Friendly Way to Dispose of Your Dog’s Waste?
When it comes to cleaning up after your dog, your top priority is most likely transferring it from the ground, to the doggie bag, and straight in the bin. To get rid of it as quickly as possible and never to be thought of or smelled again. How else would we dispose of dog waste?
During this process, it most likely never crosses your mind that the many plastic dog poop bags being tossed daily in bins are having a significant and negative impact on the environment.
It is difficult to blame dog owners for not factoring poo bags into their waste reduction efforts. It is a bag of poo, after all. What else can be done? However, with an estimated 500 million doggie bags making their way into landfills each year, it is imperative that owners begin looking towards eco-friendly alternatives to the standard plastic bag.
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To help you get started, here are just 3 of the many alternative options to throwing plastic poop bags in the bin that will turn your pup from a waste producer to a waste reducer:
1. Using Compostable Poo Bags To Dispose Of Dog Waste
Did you know that once your dog’s poop bag makes its journey to a landfill, it will remain intact for over 500 years before degrading? Even then, the chances of it ever being completely degraded are very small. It’s hard to imagine when they already seem so thin.
Luckily, there is a viable and eco-friendly alternative for dog owners hoping to go green! Plenty of pet companies are now producing affordable poop bags that don’t require a second thought when tossing in the bin.
Even so, it is still important to recognize the difference between the brands who claim to be “100% degradable” and those that truly are. While biodegradable poop bags may sound like a great option, they are actually adding to the problem.
Biodegradable bags are still made with plastic materials but contain EPI-additives that help speed up the degrading process. This in turn, leaves behind microplastics that are pretty much impossible to get rid of. Not to mention that these types of bags are only effective when exposed to oxygen over a long period of time, rendering them completely useless when buried in a landfill.
Also look out for claims of “oxo-biodegradable” materials. These essentially use the same break down methods with similar harmful effects.
Compostable bags, on the other hand, are not only a plastic-free alternative, but they take just over 12 months to fully degrade when placed in a landfill (and even less time in a nurturing environment). With many being made completely out of plant material, you don’t have to worry about certain additives being left behind that are harmful to the environment.
Avoid brands that use greenwashing terms, or unregulated language used to make products appear eco-friendly, like “compostable” and “biodegradable” without having any proper certifications to back them up. You can learn more about the differences and how to know you are getting the right compostable bags here.
2. Send it to an industrial composting facility
If you are already using compostable doggie bags, why not take it a step further? Avoid adding to landfills all together by sending them to an industrial composting facility near you and dispose of dog poo that way.
According to Veolia, a waste management and composting facility, “Composting is nature’s way of recycling. Composting biodegrades organic waste (i.e. food waste, manure, leaves, grass trimmings, paper, wood etc.) turning it into a valuable fertilizer.” In other words, composting means taking organic waste material, letting it decompose naturally, and then using it as a conditioner and nutrient for soil.
When you send your dog’s poo bag to an industrial composting facility, it will be screened, processed, and placed with tons of other waster in a building specifically designed to promote natural decomposition. This is what we would consider to be a nurturing environment for the compostable bag and would take an estimated 3 months to completely degrade.
Once all the waste in the facility has decomposed completely, you are now left with what is called compost. This compost can be packaged and sold for the purpose of providing nutrients to soil and promoting healthy growth in plants and flowers.
Your pup’s poo could potentially be helping someone grow their plants and vegetables right now! Of all the possibilities, you both can probably agree that this is more than you ever imagined it would do and a truly enviromental-friendly way to dispose of dog waste.
3. Compost it at home: Dog Poo Wormeries and Composting Pet Waste
Of course, there is always the option of composting the poo yourself at home! There are several methods suggested for at-home composting. A common one is using a wormery.
A wormery is simply a box or container of sorts that houses composting worms. The worms are used to break down and convert organic waste materials into useful compost. In contrast to a compost facility, it is recommended that your waste be separated into categories, such as kitchen waste and animal waste, rather than combined in one wormery.
This is for the health of the worms, who thrive on a consistent diet, and for your safety depending on how you want to use your compost. Carry on Composting details the importance of only using dog poo compost for flower beds and gardens that are not accessible to children, and kitchen compost for vegetable, fruit, and other gardens meant for consuming. Talk about an eco-friendly cleanup option!
There are a number of other ways to compost dog waste at home, including Garden composters, Full Circle (which is good for odor control due to an airtight seal), or a tumbling composter. However, one consistent factor among them is making sure your composting material is consistently reaching a temperature of 60°C or higher.
This is a standard for composting and not only helps with the quicker breakdown of the organic material and compostable poo bags and it also kills off pathogenic bacteria from the dog waste so that the compost is safe to use. Knowing and assuring that you are using proper composting techniques will help avoid the risks associated.
You can find detailed composting methods and a list of serious risks to consider when composting dog waste here.
The benefits of at-home composting include saving money (to spend on treats for your earth-saving pet), confidence that your fertilizer is chemical-free, and – obviously – reducing your waste output!
Odor-free Composting Solution For Your Garden
If you don’t have a compost bin or heap in your own garden, and you don’t intend to install one because of the odor, but you like the idea of composting your own dog poo at home, there is a solution for that – this environmentally safe in-ground pet-waste disposal system from Amazon.
This tank works like a miniature septic tank, utilising natural bacteria and enzyme cultures to break down dog waste into a liquid easily absorbed by the ground. The digester is a non-toxic, harmless mixture designed especially for pet waste, and you burry it a few feet underground with only the top visible.
An enthusiastic Amazon review titled “Why, oh why didn’t we get this sooner??” explains how this works: “We bought ours and installed it three weeks ago. It seems to do the trick and decomposes our dogs’s copious piles of waste as intended and without odor. For the most part, the waste seems to disappear. On occasion it appears to pile up six or seven inches. When that happens we add a gallon or two of water to keep the system moist. No more stench-plagued garbage cans full of smelly green bags of poop for us.”
This in-ground septic tank for pet waste might be for you if:
- You have multiple dogs, and want to reduce the amount of bags you use for clean-up
- You have a yard or garden access where you can dig
- You want a composter that’s odorless and out of sight
- You want a system that does the work for you and you don’t have personal use for fertiliser
Starting A Dog Poo Wormery
Another eco-friendly dog poop cleanup option for green-minded pet owners is to dispose of their dog’s waste by setting up a wormery, which is a great way to turn pet and dog poo into great homemade vermicompost and a liquid fertilizer for your garden.
A Wormery is a highly effective and environmentally-friendly compost bin that turns dead organic matter into a superb high-quality worm cast compost and a nutritious liquid feed, which you can use in your garden and around your home.
A Wormery will divert your pet poo, food waste, shredded newspaper, cardboard tubes, teabags, egg boxes, and more away from landfills and convert into something that will benefit your garden and the earth instead.
Because of the nature of the waste (faeces), it is not advised to use the end compost in vegetables or food patches, but it is still an excellent conditioner to be used as a bedding for shrubbery, flower beds, and other plant life.
But overall this is a great way to reduce the quantity of bags going to landfill each year, by processing it through a homemade wormery first.For more information, read this guide on How To Set Up A Dog Poo Worm Farm or access the full The Dog & Pet Poo Wormery Guide here.
Thank You for Making the Effort to Reduce your Carbon Pawprint!
The list of small changes you and your pup can make does not stop here! There are endless opportunities for green-minded pet owners to take steps towards making sure their pup isn’t adding unnecessary and harmful waste to the environment.
But even by simply switching to an eco-friendly and compostable poop bag, you and your pup are already making a huge impact!
Keep-pup the good work!