The Straight Poop On Dog Poop (Green-Style, That Is)
We lost our dog and good friend Biscuit last week after a quick deterioration of her health. She was truly a noble creature, much more so than many humans I know, and I will miss her always.
Ironically, Biscuit was the subject of the first day’s post on my year-long trash experiment. It wasn’t a surprise, but I figured since the first morning of the first day of the experiment I was going to throw something in the trash can outside the house, I should be honest and cop to it. So, my first day’s post revolved around Biscuit’s poop.
Since her passing, I posted another piece on my newsletter in her honor and got some interesting responses concerning the disposal of dog waste. Probably not going to save the world with this post, but we may make it a little less stinky. So here’s what people had to offer.
Corn-Based Bags. We used these for about the last year and while they do run about $30 a year for the bags (dependent on the size of your dog and the amount of their output), I gladly paid it knowing that I wasn’t putting plastic bags into the landfill. That said, there has been some discussion about whether there is a large amount of methane released from the decomposition of these bags in landfills. The company says no, and others say yes. So the jury is still out on this one for me.
Plastic Bags. While this clearly is not the way to go (we don’t want to be adding plastic bags to the landfill after all), at least if this is your choice, re-use bags that were already headed there. If you are using reusables (which hopefully everyone is by now) check with a neighbor who tosses theirs and at least give them a second life. Truthfully, this isn’t really a solution, but it is a lesser evil nonetheless.
Worm Composters. I’ve read a bit about these and they basically work the same as my worm composter, with the noted exception that you put in ONLY dog excrement. I had been meaning to check into this, but frankly was a bit unnerved at the idea of a huge tray full of poop. Don’t know why worm poop doesn’t bother me and dog poop does, but hey, that’s me. If you don’t want to buy one, there are also online instructions on how to build your own.
In-Ground Composters. Now this is something that we tried a while back and it did not work at all, but I must confess that my sneaking suspicion is that it was due to operator error. You basically dig a 4-foot hole (not as simple as it sounds) and put the composter on top of it. Poop and enzymes go in, as well as some water, and over time, the little buggers break it all down. I’ve heard that these actually do work but there is a bit of care involved in maintaining them correctly, so be forewarned.
Leaving it or the old flaming bag on the door. While I’m not advocating either of these as sustainable solutions I did feel I should include them lest some faction of dog owners get upset over their omission.
The bottom line to me is this–you take responsibility for the dog’s health, feeding and shelter, you might as well take responsibility for its impact as well. And while most of us may look at dog poop as a negative side effect to animal ownership, perhaps we should look at the lighter side. San Francisco has seen it and they are turning theirs into fuel.
Finally, Biscuit, if you can read this (she was an extremely bright dog so my money says she can), thanks for all the good memories, yummy snorts, drive-by lickings, and for being the greatest dog a family could ever have. We miss you.