Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pet poop disposal

Poop scoopinI asked this question a long time ago and wanted to see if people's answers have changed much regarding how they dispose of their dog poop.

When we had a dog, we always flushed his poop, thinking that it was better sending it to the wastewater treatment plant rather than it living forever in a plastic bag in the landfill somewhere, never to decompose.

I'm really not sure which is better, although since our wastewater is treated and composted it's probably better than going into the landfill. This won't work so well if you have a septic system.

I assume you could also dispose of cat poop in a similar manner (flushing rather than putting in the trash). And I know you can compost your pet poop in a pet poop composter.

Which leads me to Sunday's poll:

42 comments:

Bucky said...

Hey, your poll isn't working. I was the first to leave a response -- which was Compost It -- but it recorded a vote for flush it.

You must be using one of those same polling systems that is counting our vote for the elections.

esther said...

I'm afraid I had to say that I left it where it was pooped>>>but only, because I live in the country and my cats live mostly outside, and I have no idea whereas the poop....
But I do compost my own poop, does that count?lol!

esp said...

Honestly, with four cats, soiled litter is the biggest part of our garbage each week. We tried the flushable type, but with four cats it was daunting to flush that much and we felt like we were wasting a lot of water. I wish there was a safe way to compost it, even if that compost was never used on plants.

Bellesouth said...

Where I live, the wastewater treatment plant takes biosolids and converts them to compost, which it sells back to the community and then offers for free for about two weeks a year when it piles up.

So people are helping plants grow. I'm sure a few dogs here and there are doing the same.

jewishfarmer said...

Esther, it is possible to compost it. Simply find a corner, make a box so that it can't leak out, pile it up and add organic matter. You'll need to use a plant-based litter, like the one from wheat. Even if you end up having to throw it out in the end (ie, you can't find any safe place to simply bury it), you'll be throwing out a much lower volume of total matter.

Sharon

Abbie said...

Our dogs are trained to go in the woods behind our house.

Tom Sawyer said...

esp: I wish there was a safe way to compost it, even if that compost was never used on plants.

here is the answer:
NatureMill Home Composter

Greenpa said...

I think Esther may be worrying about possible Toxoplasma in the cat poop? Very good to be aware of- I personally know one young woman who cannot have children now, because of her pet kitty- a miserable, miserable situation.

I don't know about this suggestion, haven't tried it; but I heard about it in China, and it makes sense. The Chinese have used "nightsoil" forever, of course; but it does sometimes contain pathogens.

In an effort to improve both pathogen handling- and nitrogen retention- they were working on a village system where everybody's poop and pee went into a giant earthen ware pot, which was then sealed up when 5/6 full, or so. (I think it was rather specific- and I don't know the specifics.)

What was supposed to happen- the urea in the pee breaks down to ammonia pretty quickly- and the ammonia builds up and becomes very very toxic; to everything inside the pot; effectively sterilizing it.

In open compost systems, the ammonia happens, but it's so volatile it mostly blows away, long before it actually becomes poisonous, and also decreasing your fertilizer value.

Pot One has to sit there sealed up for 2 weeks (or something); during which time the village makes deposits in Pot Two; and maybe Three (obviously; you need multiple pots). When it's thoroughly fermented and sterilized by the ammonia- it's opened up and quickly put to work as fertilizer. Ammonia makes fine fertilizer; just don't breathe it.

Whether this kind of thing would kill Toxoplasma cysts- I do not know. But high concentrations of ammonia are really fierce; almost as deadly as bleach.

More research is needed. :-)

Tom Sawyer said...

Greenpa, the Humanure Handbook claims that all pathogens in Human manure are destroyed in a well managed thermophilic compost. The whole book is online and a very good resource.

Toxoplasma gondii oocyst survival:
at 40 C oocysts were infective for 9 days but not 28 days, at 45 C, oocysts were infective for 1 day but not 2 days, at 50 C oocysts were infective for 1 hr but not 2 hr. At 55 C and 60 C oocysts were rendered noninfective in 2 and 1 min, respectively.

so it seems with a well managed thermophilic compost the Toxoplasma gondii in cat litter would be destroyed completly and not pose a risk when the compost is used to fertilize plants.

Anonymous said...

Other. We scoop it into a bucket and spread it around the trees in our yard.

Crunchy Chicken said...

bucky - actually you weren't the first to leave a poll, but I'm sure there are some similarities with the election polls...

EJ said...

Which answer is "best" depends on your situation, I think. We "leave where deposited" but we live very rurally.
Anyone got any bear poop disposal suggestions? We have *lots* more bear poop in our yard than we've ever had dog poop. ;)

Krista said...

Anything has to be better than the old guy that walks his dog in my moms neighborhood.

He bags it in plastic bags and then throws it down the storm sewer in front of my moms house. She has asked him to stop (can you imagine the smell?) and the city has asked him to stop, but he still does it.

Jessica C. said...

We have two big dogs, so we go around and collect in a bucket, then dump it straight in the trash can. My cat prefers to got potty outside, so it usually isn't an issue, but on the rare occasions that he deigns to use a litter box, I stick the clumps in a paper bag (lunch size) then toss it. I figure that it will hopefully be able to eventually biodegrade that way.

lae21 said...

You need to be careful flushing cat poop down the toilet. They can carry parasites that get through the treatment process and can kill sea otters and other mammals.

Alana said...

Here all biosolid from the waste treatment plant goes strait to the landfill, so not much of a difference of putting it in our trash can and flushing, just wasted water. But then again, poop pick up is my husband's job so it gets really decomposed before it's picked up!
***I wish I could huck it in the neighbors yard without guilt - their dogs come and poop in our yard!***

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine dig a pit in her yard and buries it, she has 2 big dogs and I don't notice a poopy smell in her yard.

Greenpa said...

EJ - about the bear poop-

If you're looking for a new source of income- you might be able to just bag it up- and sell it.

ok, quit laughing. Really! Eons ago, I was walking with a friend in the Washington woods- when we came across a great big fresh pile. I still tease him about it. He had a brand new ball-cap on- and he immediately took it off, and started filling it with the bear poop.

Slightly special circumstances; of course. He was a nurseryman, with an established mailorder business. And one of the things he sold was "bear fodder" plants- which he got by lining out bear poop in the nursery. Whatever came up was what the bears were eating, of course.

According to him, that one good pile of bear poop would generate over $500 worth of plants.

Depending how good a salesperson you are- you might be able to sell it wildlife enthusiasts; do-it-yourself bear fodder seed.

:-) just a thought.

Heather said...

From what I've read, composting is tricky, because if you don't know what you are doing, you can end up contracting diseases. If you flush cat poop, the toxoplasmosis that may be present in their feces can contaminate the water and impact other mammals. The best option I've ever seen is the doggie septic system.

fullfreezer said...

We have a large dog and a small yard :( We usually bury it in a pit under the tree- I guess like layered composting but we don't dig it back out. Although last winter when we didn't see the ground from Thanksgiving until March we periodically collected it in the old birdseed bags and tossed it in the garbage, I hated to do it but it got to be a bit much.

Rosa said...

I don't worry too much about toxoplasmosis in the compost because the feral cats poop & pee all over - our housecats are hardly going to make a difference.

We composted for several years, and it worked really well - after 3 years, we had nice black dirt in what had been an undiggable, impenetrable stick pile. The swheat scoop & cat pee made it compost really hot - steaming even in winter, the way our mouldering food compost pile never does - and completely dissolved elm, pine & mulberry sticks more than an inch in diameter.

But it smelled bad at a distance of about 5 feet, every time it rained. In a big suburban or rural lot that wouldn't be a problem at all. Here, there's no part of our back yard that's more than 5 feet from our house or the property line, and if we protected the heap from getting wet, it didn't compost.

So we're back to tossing it, which means double plastic bags - the gargabe hauler specifically requests that and I figure whoever has to haul the poop gets to decide how it's packaged.

Jennifer said...

I've got two dogs who poo on command, so I put both poos in one compostable bag. :)

Erika said...

We pick up our dog's poo infrequently, then bury it. I do have a confession to make though... A certain someone's little dog always poos in our front or side yard (our house is on the corner), and I scoop it up and put it on the sidewalk... it's always gone a day or two later... especially if the certain someone walks along that section of the sidewalk in that time... I'm just tired of walking to my garden and seeing piles of dog poo that don't belong to my dog. I know I should just pick it up and bury it with Jessi's... but it's the closest I can get to flinging it at someone... :-P

Jena said...

As a vet tech I have to second greenpa's warning about toxoplasmosis. Perhaps even more importantly, please be aware of hookworms and roundworms. These are very common intestinal parasites, especially in dogs, and they are contagious to people (i.e. zoonotic). 99% of puppies are born with roundworms and they usually remain until proper and routine deworming.

If anyone, especially children, walk barefoot in the area where your dog poops hooks & rounds can migrate into the skin. There are cases where they have traveled up behind the eye and caused blindness in children.

I suggest asking your vet about zoonotic parasites if he/she hasn't already discussed risks with you. Depending on your area, routine fecal exams and/or using certain heartworm preventatives or other dewormers can help alleviate these risks.

As for our 3 dogs we usually leave their stool where it is deposited. It usually dries out enough that when we mow the lawn it spreads out and breaks down quickly. I haven't noticed a smell, but then again it is a farm. :)

I'm comfortable with our routine because they are all on monthly heartworm preventative/dewormer and I test fecal samples regularly. I'm sure we'll have to change things when kiddos come along.

sealander said...

One of the companies that sells worm farms here in NZ recommends a separate small worm farm for your dog poop. They say they are not 100% sure all the nasty bacteria is dealt with so recommend you use that fertilizer for the flower garden rather than vegetables. You can get biodegradable dog poop bags too so I suppose the whole thing could go in there.

Humble wife said...

We live on a small farm out in the sticks...we trained the dog to go outside the center 2 acres...and we compost the livestock poo into rotating bins...flushing pets poo? I am glad that I live out here.

stella said...

Do not flush cat poop! There is some kind of bacteria in the poop that is bad for otters (a problem here in the SF bay area).

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1538645,00.html

stella said...

Sorry, I was being repetitive--Lae21 said the same thing!
Here's another link:
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/oa/web/ActionAlertDetails.aspx?enc=XVOw36hELSyJE967qbxm6A==

Robj98168 said...

I picked compost it- My mom used to have a Doggy Dooley system. She paid top dollar for it- I was watching "Grenovate" on Planet Green and a guy showed how to make your own - essentially it is a septic tank for pet poop. Remember if you compost pet poop(dog and kitty) in a regular composter- their poo is known to carry bacteria and awful things to humans so use the compost for flowers and ornamentals only. The reason cow and horse manure doesn't have the same rules is they are herbivores, and for cows they have 4 stomaches to aide in their digestion,Here is a video on making your own dooley the only thing he seemed to leave out is make sure to drill a number of holes on the can before burying it.

Anonymous said...

Bio-fuel...

Imagine the methane potential..., who needs foreign oil... the new poop powered revolution.

jennconspiracy said...

I'm just shocked that so many people admit to throwing the poop in the landfill in PLASTIC BAGS! What are you DOING?!? Mummifying cat/dog poop?

EWWWW!

That bothered me for a long time - I found what I think is a pretty good compromise since I cannot flush cat waste here (goes to the ocean, sea otters die from toxoplasms):

1- bio bags
2- world's best cat litter

Clay litter is a bad thing - bentonite clay mined for cat litter results in the removal of mountain tops - put cat poop and clay into a plastic bag and you have mummified bricks of earth and feces forever in the landfill. Yuck.

Sadly, the plant based cat litters are both expensive AND come in big plastic bags. Oakland and Berkeley do not accept recycle plastic bags of any sort in our recycling bins (even if they have a recycle symbol on them).

Since the only thing I put in the trash can is cat poop in bio bags and non-recyclable plastic, I don't have to use trash bags.

I would put it in a hole in the yard but the landlord has a dog and it wouldn't last very long.

I just *wish* I could end up sterilized by toxoplasms but... alas, my cats don't eat wild animals or raw meat so the likelihood of that is nearly nil.

The chance of getting poisoned by toxoplasms from an indoor cat is far lower than the risk presented by digging in the soil without gloves or eating a rare steak.

Crunchy Chicken said...

I just wanted to chime in here and say that I am learning so much about all your pet poop habits.

Since I never have had cats I didn't really give much thought to their "special" poop requirements.

And I've never seen bear poop, let alone had it in my yard. There really are huge distinctions that need to be made based on urban vs. rural pet poop disposal.

Thanks for all your comments! Keep 'em coming...

Rosa said...

The thing about this question is that it really matters where you are and what kind of waste removal you have - our trash all goes to an incinerator. Some people's trash goes to modern, methane-collecting, nonleaky landfills. Some people's goes to landfills that pollute the groundwater. Some people burn all their non-compostables in a barrel in the backyard, still.

Some of us live in places where solid waste from the sewer gets turned into fertilizer; some of us (me, and I think the SF folks too) run the risk of our waste going directly into a local body of water because of combined sewers that haven't been fully revamped.

I think this is one of those things where the green answer is dependent on knowing the specifics of the situation, instead of relying on a general rule.

Atticus Sampson said...

We used to pick our dog's poo and wrap it in newspaper, then throw it in the rubbish bin.

Debbie said...

Most of the time I just leave it where it's deposited....which is on my own property. But, other times, I'm ashamed to say, I pick it up with a plastic bag and put it in an outdoor trash barrel.

Thanks for making me aware of this (I don't know why I wasn't before). From now on I'll pick it up in a paper bag.

Sweetpeas said...

This was something I never found a good solution to when we lived in town. The cost of the pet composters was prohibitive, and neither flushing it or throwing it out seemed like a good option either. Now we live farther out & have plenty of our own land (well, land we rent and nobody else is likely to be walking on anyway) around us, and the yard's always full of goose poop (in the summer) anyway, so just leaving it where it is works fine and seems to biodegrade back into the ground quite quickly.

Kim from Milw said...

I have three cats, and I found that pine shavings are the cheapest compostable litter, as well as the best in keeping odor down, and they love it. I normally flush their poops and compost the wet stuff, but I've composted the poops as well and they do break down and they don't smell in the composter. My sister using the doggy dooly for her dog's waste...works great.

I've read studies online that worms eliminate all bad toxins and microorganisms in anything they consume, although I think I'd dedicate one specific worm bin just for the cat poops. They also need the poops to be somewhat composted already, beginning to break down, although I've had good luck with just putting them straight into the bin. You don't want to put pee in the bin though...the ammonia will kill the worms.

Ok, that may be more than anyone wanted to know!!!!

Fake Plastic Fish said...

About that toxoplasma, we had our housecats tested for toxoplasma gondii at the vet. They tested negative. And since they never go outside where they would pick up the parasite, we feel fine flushing their poop. We use either World's Best Cat Litter (which comes in a plastic bag, unfortunately) or SwheatScoop which comes in a paper bag but doesn't work as well.

novemberjuliet said...

Please remember that your backyard is still part of the watershed. When you leave your pet waste on the ground, it does start to break down...and the water takes all that nasty bacteria and stuff with it when it washes across your yard, onto the streets, into streams or into the street sewer, and both of those lead to the next biggest body of water near you. Puget Sound for us. It's actually a pretty big problem. So big, the City of Everett pays me to go to elementary schools all over Snohomish county to teach kids about picking up after their pet.

Here's some interesting information My favorite quote is: Pet crap in Snohomish County equals the human waste from a city of 32,000.

Snohomish County advocates throwing it in the trash so that it will go to the landfill where it will be sealed in.

no.hunting / rachel said...

speaking of sealed in, even if you toss the poo in a compostable/biodegradable bag, it won't receive enough oxygen to break down if it ends up in a landfill. same goes for all the biodegradable trash bags...

i think it's still better than tossing the poo in a plastic bag, but... maybe toss 'em in a different container for a while before sending it off to the city dump?

jennconspiracy said...

I suspect the doggie waste bags may be made somewhat differently from regular biodegadable bags - I have noticed that if I leave the bag on the front step for a couple hours, it more often than not breaks out the bottom (and I'm not putting wet stuff in there!)

FlushDoggy said...

I flush my dog's poops down the toilet with a flushable doggy waste bag. Most eco-friendly way to get ride of poops.

The company is called Flush Doggy.

There are flushable dog poop bags. The best answer probably because dog poop can get treated just as your poop is.

FlushDoggy, is a fully biodegradable, flushable(water soluble) dog waste bag that is very eco-friendly. Dog doodies are best to be flushed down the toilet and degrade naturally , just as our own doodies. Stop destroying our earth and start educating the public, one poop at a time. Be a responsible owner and go green for our pets.

http://flushdoggy.com and get a FREE SAMPLE TO TRY !

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