Medium-sized dogs produce on average 196lb (180kg) of dog poop a year, and the average dog produces about 270lb (124kg) of dog waste a year. What could be a great idea to dispose of all this waste in a green way?
- With proper treatment, dog poop CAN be used as fertilizer
- Use dog poop as energy
- Start a dedicated worm farm
If you think about it, according to Statista, at least 69 million households in the United States own a pet dog. If a plastic bag is used to scoop its poop for every dog once a day, that will work out to 2070 million plastic bags a month alone.
Considering that not all dog poop is scooped with compostable bags, that is a lot of plastic and a good reason to find an environment-friendly alternative.
Disposal Of Dog Poop In Regular Trash
As stated by the EPA, not cleaning up after your dog is a severe health and environmental problem. When dog waste is left on the ground instead of being picked up, pathogens in the feces can get into the water supply, causing disease. The bacteria in the feces cause soil and water pollution.
It causes thousands of illnesses and has a massive impact on the environment.
In fact, dog poop is the largest source of human disease in the United States, with over half a million Americans contracting a dog-related illness each year. In addition, the millions of dogs in the United States produce a lot of waste, which adds to the already large amount of waste that humans produce.
Clean up after your dog with a plastic bag or compostable bag?
The EPA advises dog owners to bring a plastic bag and pick it up after them when walking their dog. They do not talk about dog waste disposal in regular trash is already causing a severe sanitation problem. You can read it here.
If you are using plastic bags to scoop the poop, you are doing a disservice to the environment. Plastic does not decompose, so the dog waste it contains will remain in it. Plastic already has a significant impact on our environment. Reducing its footprint will greatly benefit us all.
So would it be better to use compostable bags? They are now more widely available to us and not even that much more expensive to purchase.
This is a simple, green way to dispose of your dog’s waste, you may think. These bags are often made from plants and are biodegradable. Meaning they will decompose in a landfill rather than sit for a hundred years or more in a plastic bag which never breaks down.
Some biodegradable bags are made of corn-based paper or plastic. These bags are not resistant to moisture and might break while you walk your dog in the rain.
Besides that, these bags might not be as good for our environment as one might think. They will decompose in the same way dog poop in a landfill does. It will produce methane rather than decompose naturally, so too will dog waste in a corn-based bag. The bag will decompose into a less desirable product, methane, not fertilizer. This is not a green way to dispose of dog waste.
Thousand pounds (453 kilograms) of dog poop can produce about 446 pounds (202 kilograms) of methane. Methane is a massive contributor to climate change.
So if bagging your dog poop and throwing it in with the regular trash is your only option, think about these two options you have.
Below we outline a couple of options that are far better ways to recycle our dog waste.
Use Dog Poop As Fertilizer
Do not pick up dog poop from the streets and throw it onto your lawn, thinking it will make good fertilizer. It is not a good fertilizer without the proper handling first. Dog poop is not manure. Manure is the feces of animals that only eat plant-based food.
Fresh dog doody does not contain enough nutrients and is dangerous as fertilizer for your crops or lawn. It can make you and your spouse very sick. I suggest you read my article here on why you should not use dog poop as fertilizer.
A regular pile of dog feces will not decompose healthily, and therefore, it cannot be used as fertilizer.
However, with the right treatments and a little bit of effort, and it’s not hard, composting dog waste is undoubtedly possible. It does not produce any methane (a good plus) and no extra waste. The result? A very usable fertilizer created in your own backyard. The EPA says composting dog poop can reduce the amount of dog waste in the trash by 50 percent.
And it can’t get any greener than that!
What you should definitely not do is throw dog feces in your regular compost heap. This is probably a heap where you don’t pay much attention to. The critical thing here is to get your compost heap up above the right temperature.
The key is to get your compost heap above 130 degrees for about two weeks. Turn it over about every three days. Or get the pile above 165 degrees for about five days if you want to be quick.
Getting your compost above these temperatures will kill all bugs, bacteria, and parasites in your dog’s feces.
The second part is to add your regular organic waste like grass clippings, leaves, or even sawdust.
If you can meet these requirements, you’re all set for a risk-free compost system that your plants and lawn will love. Do proceed with caution and only if you know what you are doing.
Turn over the compost once or twice a week, and after a couple of weeks, you will notice the temperature will drop. The decomposition phase is now completed, and it is time to use your compost for your garden.
I have written an article about using dog poop as fertilizer. Here I outline how you can safely compost dog waste.
Can You Turn Dog Poop Into Energy
Did you know you can turn dog poop into energy? Yes, dog waste produces a gas called methane, just like cow manure, which is already commonly used as an energy source. In many cases, it is a cleaner, more renewable energy source than traditional fossil fuels.
However, dog manure far outperforms cows when it comes to methane production. The systems to harvest the biogas already exist. All needed is a green system to get these together.
A process called anaerobic digestion is similar to how we make biogas. Microorganisms digest the dog feces in an anaerobic digester. The digester needs to be stirred a little and heated enough. Then the breakdown process will start to produce methane.
If you collect this methane, it can be used as an energy source. It doesn’t produce much, though. A street-led lantern uses about 100 watts of energy. You need about ten bags of dog stool to keep a street lantern burning for 2 hours.
The process produces a byproduct that can be used as fertilizer.
This video below shows how dog poop is collected in a park and powers a street lantern.
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would it not be great if we could all produce gas at home from our own waste? After I found a previous youtube video and some other articles about harvesting gas, I started wondering if there would be a way to do this yourself at home.
I have searched the internet for a while and found a great product. A completely recyclable product called home biogas (I’m not an affiliate for them). I searched the FAQ part of the site. I found that besides kitchen waste, animal waste can be used (dog’s and cat’s waste without sand and litter) and even human waste.
The smallest system produces about 2 hours of cooking gas every day and about ten liters of fertilizer a month.
Would it not be great to cook on your own produced gas every day? I am certainly thinking about getting one.
Start a Dedicated Worm Farm With Dog Poo
Worms are the natural recycles of nature. Worms eat most biodegradable waste like leaves, most food waste, and even poop from all kinds of animals and humans. They are not real big fans of Citrus fruits, meat and bones, and fatty or spicy foods; other than that; they like everything.
So starting a dedicated worm farm is another good eco-friendly way to deal with dog waste, and the worms also eat the food waste that would have ended up in the landfill.
While the worms eat the various materials, they convert them to fertilizer naturally. The fertilizer is then ready to be used in your garden or on your lawn. The worms produce the same product as composting. The only difference is the worms do it a lot faster.
A worm farm is a system of bins or barrels in which worms are fed your dog’s waste.
It is a little bit of work to create one yourself, but wormeries come in all shapes and sizes. You can literally make one yourself. If you are not the handy do-it-yourself person, many variations are available to buy.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to deal with your dog’s poop in a greenway. If you are like me, you believe that we are responsible to the environment, our children, and our grandchildren to do what we can to leave the planet in a better state than we found it.
Recycling dog waste is a great way to reduce the negative impact of our dogs on the environment.
I hope this article has made you think about other / cleaner ways to clean up after our dogs without restricting your dog’s freedom.
Feel free to share the article with your friends and family.