Dog waste is unpleasant and can spread disease. There are millions of dogs in the UK, producing an estimated 1,000 tonnes of poo every day. 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, some of 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. (Local authorities in the UK are moving away from landfill, and most waste that can’t be recycled is now incinerated.)
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.
Eco-friendly ways to dispose of dog waste at home
You can now get flushable bags, so dog mess can simply be put down the toilet and flushed away off to the sewage plant to be safely treated.
Flush Puppies are made of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA), a water soluble alternative to regular plastic that dissolves in water. The manufacturers say the bags break down quickly and harmlessly in the water.
You can put small amounts of dog poo into your compost bin – it’s not advisable if you’ve got either a small bin or a large dog! Most biodegradable bags aren’t compostable, so be sure to only use bags certified for home composting, although it’s best not to use any bags if possible. You can now buy bags made partly of corn starch which are certified as fully biodegradable and home compostable, such as these – AlphaPet Compostable Cornstarch bags or the PupRepublic Biodegradable Cornstarch Poo Bags, both certified to break down within 90 days into CO2 and water.
The bin needs to be layered correctly and filled regularly to keep the temperature high – vital to kill the pathogens in dog waste. Never use compost containing dog waste on food crops.
The worms must be fed exclusively on pet waste as they won’t tolerate a mixed diet, though you will need to mix about half and half with shredded paper and torn up corrugated cardboard to stop the waste from compacting.
Again, the compost and liquid fertiliser produced should not be used on food crops.
See our posts on Worm Composting for lots more information.
Dog waste can be treated alone or added to food scraps in a bokashi system.
This system uses a fermentation process which speeds up decomposition when the treated waste is buried in the ground or added to a compost bin.
See our posts on bokashi composting for more information.
DIY dog waste disposal system.
Commercial systems are quite small, so if you have several dogs you will need something larger. It’s very easy to build your own.
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 cover to 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. This system works best if no poo bags are used.
Use some dog loo activator (see above) or add a septic tank activator, such as Septic Shock to help the waste break down quickly. The waste breaks down into the soil leaving very little residue. When the hole eventually becomes full just dig another hole, using the soil to cap off the previous hole. For a working example see Sharon’s Dog Waste Disposal Unit on YouTube
City Farmer made a similar system by adapting an old plastic dustbin. They began by drilling holes in the sides of the bin, then cut out the base. A large hole was dug in the ground slightly deeper than the bin, and the bottom of the hole filled with rocks and gravel. The bin was installed into the hole with the top just a little above soil level and a lid placed on top. Dog waste is dropped into the bin and sprinkled with a little bio-activator and some water. They say the system takes about 48 hours to begin working, then all the waste slowly biodegrades and breaks down into the subsoil.
We hope this gives you some usable ideas for eco-friendly methods of dog waste disposal at home.
A great gift for dog lovers – a really cool waterproof and odour-proof washable bag for carrying your bagged waste until you can find a bin.
Plop Trumps Extreme Card Game Put some ‘eeeww’ into education! With stats, scientific facts and pictures of ‘extreme’ animal poo! Learn about the animal that produced the poo, and challenge your friends with stats about frequency, consistency and smelliness!
Doggie Doo Game Cleaning up doggie do for fun! Feed the pup, pump his lead, and see if there’s ‘little present’ to scoop up.