Households

Alternatives to trashing pet waste

If you have a cat or a dog, then you know that their poop and litter can quickly add ballast to the weekly garbage bin. And chances are good that if you’re lucky enough to have an organics recycling service, that pet waste may still be a no-no.

A quick online search will tell you that many individual households are finding unique ways to cycle pet waste back to nature.

In addition to open air above ground backyard composting, options to manage pet waste at home include:

  • pet waste septic systems – anaerobic digestion or biodigestion operates in the absence of oxygen, usually in a sealed, contained area
  • burial – slow composting process that doesn’t require air circulation or additional organic material. Material is buried and covered
  • vermiculture – processing of organic waste through earthworms
  • bokashi – fermentation process that creates “pre-compost” that is then buried and covered in soil to complete the process 
  • moldering – slow composting (rotting) process which requires some air circulation and added organic material to reduce odor
  • flushing – adding and flushing dog poop directly into the municipal sewer system.

Here are two great resources that will help focus your search for solutions:

  1. Pick up a copy of The Pet Poo Pocket Guide: How to Safely Compost and Recycle Pet Waste for details on how to tailor your approach based on location, situation, weather, needs and available.

    See a flow chart – dog poo can be green too (pictured on the right here) based on the book that will show you how to customize your approach based on location, situation, weather, needs and available time.

  2. Due to the nature of pet waste, some care needs to be taken in efforts to divert from landfill, and reuse to enhance soil. Here is a link to helpful information on the dos and don’ts of do-it-yourself pet waste recycling do-it-yourself advice.

An Australia researcher and PhD candidate Emily Bryson, also known as Dr Dog Poo is  based in Adelaide. She is currently studying whether we can compost dog poo at home and make it safe for use in backyard food gardens (2020).

The easiest solution for many households is placing pet waste in your green or FOGO bin (food organics and garden organics). More and more local community waste services are coming on board and providing this service. 

This infographic below, provides options for households where this service is not available. Below the flowchart are videos to help you put the options into practice.

The Pet Poo author chose ‘how to’ videos based on value and clarity of content for the following:
1. Bokashi: What is it? – Making Bokashi mixDrying Bokashi after making bokashi mix
2. Bokashi Lite: Bokashi Cycle offers a simple commercial system. Pet Waste Disposal Video – How to bury the fermented pet waste 
3. Flush: (Sewer connection only, no septic tank.) Flushing dog poop down the toilet – without a bag, only the waste – is a valid disposal method, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Don’t want to use your bathroom toilet? Search online for flushing or power flush options for dog waste or check out this simple solution to creating a doggy doo drain.
4. Trash:-( : Moves directly to the local landfill.
5. Burial: This can be a simple hole or a nicely finished one like this
6. Composting: Using a compost bin on the ground or using an enclosed container
7. Vermiculture: Worm Farm! Don’t feed the worms poo if your pet is taking worm medication! Only input pet poo without other food items. Check out this video for more information
8. Moldering: Cold or slow composting (rotting). Can be done in ventilated closed containers using sawdust, on the ground in an enclosed moldering cove or digging a spot in the garden for it
9. Biodigestion/septic bin: Do not throw in bags! You can use dry bokashi mix to help speed things up. Video 1 – Video 2