The current situation when is comes to dog poop disposal in most communities is not ideal to say the least.
What we hope to do in this short article is outline some of the main problems we are facing, and put forward 7 ideas that can be built on ,and added to by others, to move towards a more environmentally friendly future.
Let’s get into it!
How To Improve Dog Poop Disposal: 7 Ideas To Do It The Green & Environmentally Friendly Way
1. Have Waste Sites Dedicated To Biodegradable Pet Waste Bags Only
Problem: Regardless of whether your dog poop is in a bag or not, or what type of bag it is in if it is in one – when you put it in the trash – it get’s sent to a landfill site with all the other rubbish.
If it’s in a plastic bag, we have issues from the start because plastic – a) takes roughly 500-1000 years to break down, b) releases toxic micro polymers when it breaks down and c) can be harmful for wildlife
However, you might think that putting the poop in a biodegradable or compostable bag is better, right?
Well, it might not be. The reason for this is that both biodegradable and compostable bags need air to break down and decompose organically.
When under layers and tonnes of landfill mass, the bags are more likely to produce methane gas which is not good for the air or the ozone.
On top of this, some landfill sites don’t even accept pet waste!
Idea/Solution: One way that we could combat this is if we figured out if sites or sections of waste sites that accommodate biodegradable and compostable bags are feasible.
This would involve ensuring the conditions at the waste site are aerobic and in turn will enable the bags and poop to naturally decompose.
2. Have Industrial Compost Sites That Process Only Pet Waste
Problem: Composting dog poop is essentially the equivalent of recycling it.
The issue is however that most industrial composting sites don’t accept pet waste.
The reasons for this are a) it’s too difficult and risky dealing with the dog poop itself which can contain pathogens and virus causing bacteria and b) it’s too easy to contaminate the other compost matter and overall composting conditions
Also, the only bags that can be composted are compostable bags which must meet a specific set of criteria that is ideal for turning organic matter into a nutrient rich composting hummus.
Idea/Solution: It may be a good idea to explore the possibility of compost sites that only deal with pet waste and compostable pet waste bags. This is in comparison to the sites that are only meant for biodegradation.
This way compostable bags aren’t being wasted at landfill sites, and we get to recycle dog poop and produce more nutrient rich fertiliser.
3. Have Pre Fabricated Dog Poop Compost Bins For Homes More Accesible, & Better Educate People On The Benefits Of Composting
Problem: Composting doesn’t always have to occur at an industrial compost heap, it can also happen at home in a backyard.
Health professionals might warn against composting dog poop yourself because a) dog poop needs higher temperatures to compost than a lot of other organic matter and b) the sometimes disease carrying dog poop can be dangerous to humans and animals nearby if not sealed off properly
Idea/Solution: There are companies out there however that do produce dog poop composting bins, and provide live worm cultures with the bins.
Worms naturally like to eat organic matter and all different types of animal poop – which over time becomes compost.
It would be great if these bins and similar technology were more commercially accessible to people, and education on safe composting in schools for example was more readily available.
4. Improve The Performance Of Flushable Dog Poop Bags
Problem: Flushable bags allow you to flush dog poop down the toilet instead of sending it to landfill.
There are a few problems with this approach though including a) you can contaminate the inside of your house or bathroom with the nasties in the dog poop b) not all flushable bags fully dissolve in the sewer lines – costing governments a lot of money to clear out
Idea/Solution: At present, the testing done on flushable dog poop bags doesn’t seem to be suitable enough to determine that the bags will dissolve once they hit our sewers.
A combination of better flushable bag technology, and better/more stringent testing could be done to ensure bags are suitable for the sewer lines.
5. Analyse Our Sewerage Systems To Better Deal With & Treat Pet Waste
Problem: Further to the problem above with flushable bags…
In the event of a sewer overflow, the dog poop can contaminate the environment such as waterways and water reserves (eutrophication can be a big issue), harm animals and even get into drinking water.
Idea/Solution: It would be worth looking at how we can better treat and process pet waste that is flushed down our sewers – but, this may be difficult to do (which is why biodegradable and compostable bags and methods may be a better option)
6. Biogas Technology
Problem: We don’t currently make use of biogas to a large extent to dispose of and process pet waste.
Some of this could be to do with the cost and newness of the technology. Other reasons could be to do with awareness and unfamiliarity with the capabilities of the technology.
Idea/Solution: If you’re unfamiliar with biogas, biogas utilises the gasses emitted by the breakdown of dog poop (methane, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide (CO) with the use of oxygen) to create fuel for energy.
It would be worth looking into very small biogas generators in places like dog parks and at places like beaches – that then in turn power surrounding lights and communal cooking facilities.
7. Use less plastic dog poop bags
Problem: We already outlined the problems with too much plastic above when talking about landfill sites.
Idea/Solution: Pretty simple, use less plastic and move towards materials and disposal processes that involve more natural break down and recycling.
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