Dog Waste

Tips for Eco-Friendly Disposal
August 4, 2021

As you pick up your pet's waste, you may wonder, "What’s the most eco-friendly way to dispose of this?" If you are a Compostable LA member, we’re sorry to say that you cannot compost it with us. Due to public health concerns, pet poop cannot be composted with regular food items, therefore we do not accept this type of waste in our Compostable bin.

Unfortunately, the majority of pet poop ends up in the trash, which means that all those plastic bags used to collect it end up in a landfill. Plastic bags are a major source of waste and do not decompose in landfills; however, even if you are using biodegradable bags, they will not decompose in a landfill site – biobags must be broken down by industrial composters otherwise they will have the same long-life expectancy as their plastic counterparts. Most biodegradable and compostable plastics are bioplastics – check out our article on the topic of bioplastics where we explain in more detail why these materials require very specific conditions for degradation to happen.

If you live in an apartment building and do not have access to a private backyard, using bags made of recycled content is a better option – even though they are destined for the landfill, this alternative supports the recycling market and does not use virgin plastic. Some companies sell bags made from only a small percentage of recycled plastic, such as 20% or 30%, but a more in-depth online search will allow you to find pet waste bags made from 90% or 100% recycled materials.

If you have the benefit of a backyard, you have two options that are far more environmentally friendly than throwing dog feces in the garbage.

1. Composting

Pet waste is compostable, but it needs special treatment. We want to emphasize that you should not toss Max’s poop in your regular compost pile because it likely doesn’t maintain high heat long enough to kill the pathogens. It’s recommended that you use a separate backyard composter if you're prepared to invest the time (and supplies) in properly composting your dog's poo. Remember to take precautions to ensure that your family and pets are not exposed to disease-causing germs in the process and only use the end material on non-food producing gardens.

The thought of having a large pile of dog poop in the corner of your yard may sound unappealing, but there are many products, as well as DIY articles and videos, available to assist you with your pet waste composting efforts. You can choose between:

·      building your own pet poop composter or purchasing one from a pet store or garden center.

·      building or buying your own digester - which works like a composter with the difference that it will be buried in your yard.

If you're looking for a do-it-yourself project, look up how to make a pallet stacking compost bin or a dog septic tank (aka digester), and check out the USDA's extensive article on how to compost dog waste.

2. Flushing

The second option is to scoop the dog poop directly into the toilet or to wrap it in toilet paper before flushing it. Just make sure to check with your local water and sewage treatment facility first to ensure that they can handle dog waste flushed down the toilet. Keep in mind that cat feces should never be flushed because it may contain Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can infect humans and animals, which is not always killed by municipal water treatment systems.

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