Dispose of Pet Waste Properly

waste  2

waste 2 (Photo credit: scotthughes)

When I grew up, dogs ran free and no one ever thought about picking up dog poop.  Today things are different – we have leash laws and people walk their dogs.  America has approximately 71 million dogs that produce 29,000 tons of waste each day. Leaving pet waste on the lawn or near the curb can be a major source of harmful bacteria and excess nutrients that wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterways.  It’s very important to pick up the poop.

What then, is the most eco-conscious way to dispose of all that poop?

Throwing the bag away creates more burden in the landfill.  The plastic bags, even biodegradable ones, and the waste won’t break down without air, water, light and enzymes, which aren’t available in the landfill.  Some communities allow it however.

You don’t want to add the waste to your compost pile either.  Instead build a separate compost pile for the dog waste or dig a hole and bury it away from your vegetable garden or running water.  The enzymes in the soil will eventually break it down.

There are in ground dog waste digesters you can install which act like a home septic system.  You add water and an enzyme and bacteria digester to the pet waste, which turns it into a ground absorbing liquid that does not harm the environment.  Or, you can purchase dog waste buckets that can be attached to an existing septic system.

According to the EPA, “flushing pet waste is the best disposal method.”  (Cat waste however, should never be flushed down the toilet.) You can either empty the waste into the toilet or use a biodegradable,flushable bag and simply throw the entire thing into the toilet.  (Check your plumbing before flushing any flushable product.) That’s what I do – it seems to be the easiest, most sensible, eco-friendly option!  Let’s do the right thing for our dogs and the earth.  

Information compiled from http://www.practicallygreen.com, http://www.nrdc.org and http://www.epa.gov.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cloth Diaper Guru on May 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I’ve heard that waste from dogs on heart worm preventative should not be left to decompose in the lawn (or in a pile/hole). The preventative can kill beneficial earthworms in the soil. My parents are very good about picking up waste from their pet and flushing it… we on the other hand haven’t done a good job of this and it seems to get dissolved into the lawn before I get out to pick it up. Thanks for the reminder and information!


  2. In areas that have commercial composting such as San Francisco, the best option is to use a certified compostable bag (http://www.greenhome.com/products/housekeeping/trash_bags/119056/) and toss it in the green bins for composting. Many “flushable” bags and wipes may not clog your plumbing, but do not dissolve by the time they reach the waste water treatment plant and end up being filtered out and trucked away to the landfill anyway.


  3. Posted by amy nachman on May 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    great idea, betsy..i shall start dumping in the toilet. what a beautiful doggie!!!!


    • Thanks for commenting. I’m not sure it is a good idea to put dog waste in with regular compost. It really needs to be composted separately.


  4. This site definitely has all the information I needed
    concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


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