The Poo Problem: Pet Waste

The Poo Problem: Pet Waste

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For pet homeowners who’re conscientious concerning the surroundings, the rubbish pail could comprise principally doggy baggage — of the pooper scooper selection. It’s galling to waste an natural materials, and in case your neighborhood has switched to every-other-week rubbish assortment, it may be noxious as nicely.

Does pet waste must go to waste? Or are you able to compost it?

Reducing Waste

As all the time, decreasing waste within the first place is probably the most ecological alternative, however few animal lovers would take into account sacrificing the enjoyment of pet possession to scale back waste. Nor is it a good suggestion to feed your animals much less.

But what your animals eat does have an effect on how a lot waste they produce. Some pet meals comprise undigestable fillers that could be producing additional poop. Make certain you’re giving your pet biologically acceptable, simply digestible meals. Check along with your vet earlier than attempting completely different meals to scale back your pet’s output.

Dramatic food regimen modifications can have the other impact in your pet’s waste stream.

Why Not Let It Lie?

Why not depart poop the place your pet drops it? After all, your garden appreciates a layer of autumn leaves, and pet poo is natural matter, proper? Yes, however no.

Animal waste is natural, however left alone, it’s fairly bad for the environment. Pet waste can transmit illness to different animals and even to people. Pet waste smells unhealthy, attracts flies and vermin, and makes a multitude for any individual or animal unfortunate sufficient to step in it. When it breaks down, each floor and groundwater are polluted by its vitamins, and worse, parasites and excessive ranges of E. coli and different micro organism.

Probably Don’t Flush It

It could look like a good suggestion to flush pet waste for therapy at a wastewater facility. That may be the greenest choice. Check along with your native wastewater utility to search out out when you can flush your canine’s waste. But the reality is, most municipal water methods should not outfitted to deal with it.

The EPA estimates that pet canines in America produce greater than 8 billion pounds of poop every year — three-quarters of a pound per canine each day. Flushable pet waste baggage don’t all the time dissolve totally within the sewer system and may trigger clogs. Further, canine waste can comprise Cryptosporidium, a parasite that additionally infects people.

Ideally, wastewater treatment eliminates the parasite, however suboptimal therapy amenities or circumstances can enable the parasite to unfold. Cat feces ought to by no means be flushed. Cat waste can comprise Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that’s infectious to people and survives municipal water therapy.

person's hand petting kitten
Cat waste ought to by no means be flushed. It would possibly comprise an infectious parasite that may survive municipal water therapy. Image: zavtrak92, Pixabay

Official Recommendations

Many web sites declare the EPA recommends flushing. Perhaps it as soon as did, however a brochure on the present EPA web site recommends disposal within the rubbish.

Even Seattle, a metropolis well-known for its early and enthusiastic embrace of recycling and composting, recommends disposing of bagged pet waste in the garbage. San Francisco, ranked America’s Greenest City in 2017, additionally requires residents to place pet waste within the black bin for landfilling.


In the past, canine waste was among the many extra precious manures farmers unfold on fields, however the discovery of germ concept put an finish to using uncomposted waste. A few places have experimented with large-scale pet waste composting, however municipal composting applications not often settle for pet waste with different organics. When residents don’t comply with guidelines for present composting applications, cities can hardly be blamed for not trusting them to compost pet waste safely at residence. But it’s technically doable for many who are actually severe about zero waste, and who’re keen and capable of make the dedication to security.

To destroy pathogens, compost should attain 145 levels Fahrenheit and preserve that temperature for a number of days. However, there is no such thing as a assure that even a well-managed residence compost pile will kill all micro organism and parasites.

Never use compost from pet waste on meals crops or the place babies play. The USDA’s Fairbanks study developed detailed pointers for safely composting canine waste at residence. They discovered that such a system required at the least 10 canines.

But what when you don’t have a group of sled canines? Proceed with warning relating to commercially accessible residence pet waste composting methods. Many of them are too small to generate adequate warmth to kill pathogens; some are extra like small septic methods than composters. Most of the accessible details about these merchandise is supplied by the producers, who typically discuss concerning the basic advantages of composting with out offering particular security details about the product.

Feature picture: sianbuckler, Pixabay

This article was initially printed on November 6, 2018.