There are millions of dogs in the UK, producing an estimated 1,000 tonnes of poo every day. Dog waste is unpleasant and can spread the toxocara worm. Obviously we can’t leave all this poo lying around, but what is the most eco-friendly way to dispose of it all?
In the UK most dog owners collect their dog waste in plastic bags then dispose of it in the nearest bin. This is great – but what happens to the waste once it leaves the bin? Well, generally, the bags end up buried in a landfill site where they and their contents will remain for many years – plastic bags can take hundreds of years to degrade.
If the dog waste is going into a household bin this too can cause a problem, as it will start to ferment in the plastic bag. Many councils now only collect wheelie bins on alternate weeks, so the dog poop could potentially be sitting festering in the bin for up to two weeks before being transported off to the landfill site.
Some eco-friendly dog waste disposal methods
- You can now buy flushable bags so dog mess can simply be put down the toilet and flushed away. The bags break down quickly and harmlessly in the water, and the waste goes to the sewage plant to be safely treated. See Flush Puppies at Amazon.
- You can put small amounts of dog poo into your compost heap – it’s not advisable if you’ve got either a small heap or a large dog! Be sure to use compostable, biodegradable bags such as these from Amazon allBIO Dog Waste Bags 100% Biodegradable & Compostable. Most biodegradable bags aren’t compostable. The heap needs to be layered correctly and turned regularly to keep the temperature high. Never use compost containing dog waste on food crops.
- Use a wormery. This works in exactly the same way as a normal wormery used for kitchen waste, but should only be used for animal waste. The worms must be fed exclusively on pet waste as they will not tolerate a mixed diet. If you want to recycle kitchen scraps you will need a separate wormery. Again, the compost and liquid fertiliser produced should not be used on food crops. See the Dog Poo Wormery 120L by Earth Essentials or The Pet Poo Wormery by Original Organics, both at Amazon..
- If you have a garden with free-draining soil you can dig a large hole, say 50cm x 50cm x 1 metre deep. It must have a lid which will keep children out. The dog waste is simply put in the hole, watered, then sprinkled over with sawdust, soil or sand to prevent it from smelling and to keep flies away. Compostable disposal bags can be put down the hole as well. A septic tank activator, such as Septic Shock can be added to help the waste break down quickly. Or if you have a bokashi bucket you can use the liquid drained off from that. The waste breaks down into the soil leaving very little residue. When the hole eventually becomes full, simply dig another hole, using the soil to cap off the previous hole. For a working example see Sharon’s Dog Waste Disposal Unit at YouTube.
- Buy a Doggybog – this is designed to fit onto your outdoor soil pipe. You just put the dog waste down the pipe then flush the waste away into the mains sewage system. Flushable disposable bags can be used with this system too. More details from Doggybog.
- Buy a Dog Loo. These generally consist of a two part bucket which is sunk into the ground with large stones beneath to ensure good drainage. A bio-activator, such as Waste Terminator or Armitage Good Boy Bio Activator is added weekly to help break down the waste naturally. Correct installation is absolutely vital because if the drainage is insufficient you end up with two buckets full of a nasty stinking mess. See the Good Boy Clean Green Dog Loo, or the Armitage Green Dog Loo or the Doggie Dooley, all at Amazon.
- DIY dog waste disposal system. You might prefer to build your own system, especially if you have several dogs. City Farmer say they have devised a method of composting dog waste by adapting an old plastic dustbin to slowly decompose the waste in a way that is environmentally safe. See their step-by-step picture guide for the method of construction. They begin by drilling holes in the side of the bin, then cut out the base. A large hole is dug in the ground slightly deeper than the bin, and the bottom of the hole is filled with rocks or gravel. The bin is installed into the hole with the top just a little above soil level, and the lid placed on top. Dog waste is dropped into the bin and sprinkled with a little bio-activator such as Septic Shock or Waste Terminator and some water. The system takes about 48 hours to begin working, after which they say all the waste biodegrades and breaks down into the subsoil. Again, this system needs to be covered over to keep children out. Any compost produced should not be used on food crops.
I hope this has given you some usable ideas for eco-friendly methods of dog waste disposal rather than sending your dog’s waste off to a landfill site.
Here’s a lovely little video by Daniel, age 6 ‘The gang raise money to buy a dog poo bin for the park‘