Get the scoop on poop! This special guest post from Beco Pets will give you the details on how to compost dog poop, including safety considerations and options making your own DIY dog poop compost bins. Let’s explore some eco-conscious ways to deal with doo-doo.
Composting Dog Poop at Home
We’re all trying to do our best for the environment: recycling where possible, using less water, conserving energy and adjusting our diets. Pet owners have an additional problem to consider though. How to deal with our dog’s poop in a convenient yet eco-friendly way?
Most of us are more than likely using plastic dog poop bags to pick up their deposits and placing them in a litter bin while on a walk, or taking them home and putting them in the general household waste. As a result, they will be destined for landfills where dog poop is a major producer of harmful methane gas.
So, what is the solution? Your very own dog poop compost bin is easily constructed in your own garden for minimal expense. Interested? Below we will explain why it is so good for the environment and give you information on how to make and install one in your garden.
What is the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of dog poop?
There are 12 million dogs in the UK producing roughly 340g of waste each per day. That is equivalent to 300 London buses! Most of this goes into landfills in plastic bags, which is hugely harmful to the environment. Dog poop creates methane which is the primary contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant and greenhouse gas. And there’s also the problem of plastic poop bags. Even biodegradable plastic bags can take up to two years to break down.
With dog ownership on the rise, this problem is not going away. Some initiatives positively use dog poop by harnessing the methane created when it decomposes. In Malvern, it is even powering street lights! If you are not up for that particular technical challenge, one of the most eco-friendly ways to deal with your furry friend’s presents is to use compostable poop bags and then put them in your own dog poop compost bin.
Advice on flushing dog poop in septic systems and municipal sewage varies. For safety many municipalities state that dog poop should not be flushed down the loo as the water treatment process does not remove harmful parasites that may be present. Composting offers an easy environmentally-friendly alternative.
Can dog poop go in a general compost bin?
So why do we need a special dog poop compost bin – Why can’t we chuck it into the regular household heap? Dog poop can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that may still be dangerous to humans and animals even when decomposed. This is due to the temperatures of most home composters. Even if you are only composting your own dog’s healthy poop and they get regular treatments for common parasites, it’s still better to be safe just in case.
Compost produced from dog waste can be used in the garden, but only for ornamental shrubs and flowers, not vegetables, fruit, or other edibles. Read on to learn more about options for safely composting dog poop at home to keep it out of landfill and human waste treatment facilities.
How can I create a home dog poop composter?
Dog poop can be composted in a dedicated compost bin, either DIY or ready-made. Segregating the poop from normal compost makes it easier to ensure the finished compost is used only in garden areas with non-edible plants. For more information have a look at Beco’s detailed advice on composting dog poop.
For many dog owners, however, a standard compost bin might not be ideal for poop. Especially with smaller properties or close neighbours. A buried dog poop composter can be a great alternative. These are bottomless perforated bins partially buried in the garden soil. Buried composters help minimise smells and unwanted insects, like flies, during the poop composting process. If the composter is getting full, it can be removed and repositioned to a new hole. The composted poop can be buried in place afterwards too, so there are no worries about using it elsewhere in your garden. Easy and eco-friendly.
Ready-made buried composters are available, but it’s easy to make your own. You can make one by cutting the bottom off a large drum or other sturdy lidded container, and drilling side holes in the lower half. Look for a second-hand drum or container for extra eco points! And as a DIY bonus, you can customize the size to suit your pet and your garden. Many ready-made options are too small for large or multiple dogs. Buried composters work best in combination with a microorganism starter, also known as an activator or accelerator. These help speed up decomposition, reduce odour, and reduce other nasties in the compost. A 28-litre plastic drum costs around £40, and microorganism starter is around £20 for a bag that will last a year. The Green Hub has a great step-by-step example of how to build a DIY buried dog poop composter.
How do I use a home dog poop composter?
When installing your composter make sure it is not too close to your vegetable plot or other edible plants, and keep it away from any water sources or flood risks. For a buried composter, it should be either positioned where nobody will accidently walk on it or installed with a suitable elevation for safety.
Once your composter is set up and ready for use, it’s poop time. This can go straight in if you are scooping poop directly from your lawn. If you are bringing poo back from your walk, ensure it is in compostable dog poop bags or empty it from a reusable poo carrier. There are numerous eco-conscious dog poop bag producers, such as Beco, which have a range of poop bags made from cornstarch. Despite being plant-based, they are incredibly strong, reliable, and leakproof. Look for bags that are certified compostable by ASTM D6400, D6868, or EN13432, like Beco’s compostable bags, to make sure you don’t fall for any false claims that might sabotage your composting efforts.
The composting process depends on the content and conditions. Heat speeds up the process, so composting will be slower in colder weather. Because poop is very rich in nitrogen, adding some dry organic high-carbon matter like dry leaves, shredded newspaper, clean sawdust, straw, etc. can help keep your compost balanced. And don’t forget to sprinkle on more microorganism starter when you’re adding poop to your buried composter, too.
Depending on the type of composter you choose, its size, how much poop your need to dispose of, and the conditions, you may need to rotate bins (normal composter) or periodically relocate (buried composter).
Ready to start home dog poop composting?
In short, a compost bin is quick, easy and relatively cheap to make and ensures that your dog’s poop is not entering landfills to create a problem for future generations. If you’re serious about being green, this solution will benefit you and our planet without costing the earth.
About the Guest Author
This guest article and accompanying feature photo were provided by Beco Pets. Beco has been on a mission since 2009 to create the best possible products for cats and dogs, whilst doing as little harm to the environment as possible.
Pawnote from the Blog Dogs of Dalmatian DIY
Thanks for the guest post, Beco Pets! This is great information to consider for households like ours who actively trying to reduce waste. We’ve been working on efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle in other areas, but dog poop is still a significant contributor to our outgoing rubbish. Where’s there’s poop, it must be scooped! We haven’t yet been brave enough to try home composting pet waste in our garden, but the idea of a buried composter to reduce the “eww” factor is an interesting one. I’ll definitely be taking a closer look at your information and links. If any of our readers are using these methods or have other clever tips, I’d love to hear from you, too.