Dos and don’ts of do-it-yourself pet waste recycling

Dos and don’ts of do-it-yourself pet waste recycling

– Herbivore pets that eat only plants generate poop and bedding that are easily composted without concern for pathogens. The quantity of bedding is often much greater than the amount of manure and needs to be supplemented with household food scraps. A little research, and a little trial and error, will help you get the recipe right.

– Dog and cat manure might contain hard-to-kill pathogens that pose serious health risks. Don’t use do-it-yourself finished dog or cat compost on vegetable gardens or near fruit trees. Harvested edibles could fall and become contaminated through direct contact with the soil. Even thorough washing may not remove harmful residue.

– Keep in-ground pet waste septic systems and burial trenches away from house foundations, tree roots, ground and surface water.

– All decomposition grinds to a stop when temperatures drop below 40 degrees F. Bury in-ground septic systems below frost line for your area. Adding a PVC pipe entry at the top will allow you to bury containers deeper.

– When you recycle pet waste, don’t include bags. Even certified compostable and paper bags will degrade in a timely way only at a commercial composting facility. Bags will slow down or stop the back yard recycling processes. Bags identified as “biodegradable” leave plastic bits in the soil. Best to use a scooper and deposit loose pet poo into a backyard composter. Some people use newspaper to pick up dog poop. The newspaper can then be composted along with the poop.

– If asked, municipal water treatment plants often discourage flushing dog waste. But many water control experts including those at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council flushing https://cfpub.epa.gov/npstbx/files/KSMO_PetWaste.pdf and the Salt Lake City County Storm Water Coalition have endorsed flushing pet waste. https://cfpub.epa.gov/npstbx/files/slc_petwaste.pdf encourage flushing.

– To avoid clogged plumbing, don’t flush waste-filled bags unless the bags are specified as “flushable” (usually alcohol-based film). Limit the quantity of loose dog waste you flush to avoid toilet back-ups.

– Don’t flush pet waste into an underground household septic tank. Hair in the waste could cause outflow problems.

– Don’t flush or bury cat waste near natural water sources where runoff can pollute. Poop of outdoor cats that like to feast on rodents might contain Toxoplasma gondii, a disease agent affecting water mammals.

 

FTC cracks down on dog bag degradability claims

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission warned 20 dog waste bag manufacturers and marketers to revise or remove their promotional materials when it found that their claims of sustainability amounted to deceptive advertising.

The agency sent letters to the unnamed bag makers pointing out that labeling their products “biodegradable” or “compostable” are unqualified statements, leading consumers to believe that the bags degrade like grass clippings or leaves in natural settings, yard compost piles or trash disposal streamed to landfills.

Plastic doesn’t break down within a year, if at all, in landfills, and very few recycling facilities accept this waste, according to the FTC’s guidelines. “Therefore, compostable claims for these products are generally untrue.”

“Consumers looking to buy environmentally friendly products should not have to guess whether the claims made are accurate,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Do it yourself

Alternatives to trashing pet waste

Many agencies concerned with public health discourage pet waste recycling. And their concern is justified. If not done conscientiously and with consistent effort, the result could be pollution, odor and illness.

That said, a quick online search will tell you that many communities, organizations and households evolving toward sustainability are finding unique ways to cycle pet waste back to nature. In addition to composting, options include pet waste septic systems, burial, flushing into municipal septic sewers, septic tanks, moldering, vermiculture and bokashi. Before you attempt any “do it yourself” methods of pet waste disposal through flushing or underground systems, it’s best to consult a sewer replacement and repair company for advice.

A few warnings!

– Dog and cat manure might contain hard-to-kill pathogens that pose serious health risks. Do not use do-it-yourself recycled pet manure on vegetable gardens or near fruit trees. Tubers and other edibles could become contaminated through direct contact with the soil. Even thorough washing may not remove harmful residue.

– Keep inground pet waste septic systems and burial trenches away from house foundations, tree rooting, ground and surface water.

– All decomposition grinds to a stop when temperatures drop below 40 degrees F. Bury inground septic systems below frost line for your area. Adding a PVC pipe entry at the top will allow you to bury containers deeper.

– When you recycle pet waste, do not include plastic film bags. Even certified compostable bags will degrade in a timely manner only at a commercial composting facility. These bags will slow down the back yard composting process. Plastics in bags identified as “biodegradable” might never properly degrade. Paper bags and newspaper work best because they give microbes access to the waste and add carbon to offset nitrogen. Better still, use a scooper.

Do not deposit into storm sewers that flow directly into waterways. The old adage of “curb your dog” – puts you dog’s “business” in the gutter washing into a storm sewer that drains into a public waterway. Bad business.

Still want to upcycle pet waste? 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 time. Also check out online do-it-yourself instructions, consider the pros and cons, and decide on a system that works for your situation and location. Then customize it so it works even better!

Here are some quick solutions.

Flushing

– If asked, many municipal water treatment plants will discourage you from flushing dog waste. The EPA supports flushing and the Salt Lake City County Stormwater Coalition has endorsed flushing in its pamphlet on Pet Waste and Water Quality.

– To avoid clogging plumbing, do not flush waste-filled bags unless the bags are specified as “flushable” (usually alcohol-based film). No-brainer: limit quantity of loose dog waste you flush to avoid back toilet back ups. If you do accidentally flush a waste bag or do get a toilet blockage (or worse, an overflow!), then you will probably need to enlist the help of a plumber. If you come from Australia you could try this emergency plumber melbourne. Just be super careful what you are flushing and how much you flush. If you’ve put to much down there it might be a good idea to seek the help of someone similar to sewer cleaning Hoboken nj.

Do not flush dog or cat waste into an underground household septic tank. Hair in the waste might cause outflow problems.

Do not flush cat litter near natural water sources where runoff can pollute. Pathogens in cat waste are destructive to aquatic wildlife. Keep cat waste away from untreated water as the feces may contain Toxoplasma gondii, a disease agent affecting otters.

– Commercial grade flushing systems for dog waste that connect directly to septic sewer lines are available for outdoor installation. Search online for dog waste flushing or power flush options or check out this simple solution.

Composting

USDA Alaska sled dog study – how to compost waste at multiple-dog facilities

Septic bins

City Farmer, Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture – options for back yard disposal
City Farmer – dog waste disposal video
Sierra Club – helpful information on City Farmer’s lidded trash can disposal system

Printed instructions on how to build a septic system – includes soil requirements

Super easy back yard septic system, 1-2 dogs, around $7

How to use mobile septic bins to provide super dense nutrients for fruit trees (don’t use cat waste around natural water sources)

Vermicompost (worm farm)

Two suggestions for dog waste vermicomposting (note: waste from dogs taking deworming meds kills vermicomposting worms!)

Bokashi

Bokashi fermentation for dog waste