Dealing with Dog Waste
Of course all animals make waste, but most of them do so in an ecosystem that knows what to do with it. Dogs and city streets? Not so much. In my town, the routine usually involves a plastic shopping bag repurposed for poop disposal and tossed in a trashcan. I imagine a weighted shopping bag is preferable to an empty one that gets scooped up by the wind and ends up in a tree or the ocean–but the thought of mountains of poop-filled eternally-plastic shopping bags in the landfill makes me exceedingly squeamish.
And I suppose suburban and rural dog guardians have their host of disposal dilemmas as well, which brings me to Flush Puppies. Flush Puppies are dog poop disposal bags that are, as the name suggests, flushable. They are made of PVA film, a water-soluble material that completely dissolves in about 45 minutes. Flush Puppies can be disposed of in any standard toilet, saving them from ever hitting the landfill–once flushed, the waste goes through your local sewage treatment plant which removes harmful toxins from fecal matter.
According to the Flush Puppies site, here are some facts to consider about abandoning pet waste (if you’re eating right now, you may want to finish your food before reading this):
• If left on the ground, dog poop can infect surface water and groundwater.
• Dog poop contains parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms.
• Parasites found in dog poop present an even greater risk to children.
• Parasite eggs can live in the ground for years.
• Cities across the country, including New York and San Francisco, have enacted pooper-scooper fines.
Throwing dog poop in the trash is not an ideal solution, here are statistics regarding the impact of animal fecal matter on the landfill:
• The average person in the U.S. generates about 4 pounds of solid trash per day.
• At that rate, the United States generates 210 million tons of trash per year.
• There are an estimated 44.8 million dogs in the United States.
• In a city of 100,000 people or 43 square miles, dogs can generate about 2 1/2 tons of feces per day. That’s almost 2 million pounds a year.
• A plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in the landfill.
The bags come 15 to a packet, which is the size and shape of a pocket pack of tissues. The cheapest option is to enroll in the Flush Puppies subscription which they ship you four packs per month (60 bags) for 14.99 including shipping.