If you’re a dog owner who picks up after your pooch, let me start off by saying: Thank you!
Let me continue by saying that the way we dispose of our pup’s poo can be a huge opportunity to promote environmental sustainability.
When it comes to environmental consciousness, biodegradable bags are certainly the vehicle of choice for transferring your dog’s doody from the ground to a garbage can.
But is a garbage can really the best place to discard the droppings?
Unfortunately, landfill conditions are not conducive to the breakdown of bags, even if they’re biodegradable. As it sits without decomposing, the feces produces flammable methane and can contaminate nearby water sources. This is why many landfills don’t technically allow any type of feces; but it ends up there, anyway. About ten million tons of dog poop get dumped in landfills every year
So, what should dog owners do about the doody?
First of all, doggie doody should not be left on the ground. If it’s washed into water sources, it can fill them with bacteria. Feces is also high in nitrogen, meaning it displaces life-sustaining oxygen. This can result in the suffocation of aquatic life that’s O2 dependent.
Here’s what you should do: After wrapping the poop in a biodegradable bag, you can dispose of it by either composting or flushing it.
If you choose to compost, create a pit dedicated only to pup poo, or purchase a dog waste compost bin from a pet or garden store, which is designed specifically for this purpose. A third option (if you’re not squeamish) is to vermicompost, or add worms to the poop pile. They’ll feed off the waste and do the composting for you. In the proper setting, the biodegradable bags will be able to break down, resulting in nutrient-rich soil for gardens. One important thing to note is that dog compost should not be added to edible gardens—like fruit and vegetable plants—to prevent bacteria from being ingested.
The second safe method is to dispose of the poo the way humans do—flush it! Just be careful what bag you choose. Again, only biodegradable bags—not compostable or degradable bags—contain materials that could safely be flushed. (Note: always check with local water treatment center before flushing even biodegradable bags down the loo).
Who knew that dog dung could have such a huge impact on the environment? If all dog owners took a few simple steps to dispose of feces properly, there would be healthier water sources, wildlife, and less waste in our landfills.