Gato, our cat, was none too impressed, but our household acquired a new member on the weekend: a puppy. Of course, being of the zero-waste sort of persuasion, we started thinking about pets and the world of waste management.
I will fully admit that we are not the most responsible of pet owners when if comes to waste, allowing Gato to do his thing outside wherever he pleases (which turns out to be primarily under the deck), but a dog is another thing. Dogs don’t stick to one place, and you can’t have dog crap lying around the yard. You have to do something with it. But what?
Herbivores like cows, horses, bunnies and gerbils and the like are easy; it’s common knowledge that their manure makes great compost. It’s the omnivores and carnivores that pose a bit more of an issue. Pathogens existing in the feces of dogs and cats cannot be overcome by backyard composting.
Yet, throwing poo in the garbage is technically illegal (depending on your municipality), leaving residents with limited options. You could of course, empty the feces into the toilet and wash the bag for recycling. . . .uh, not likely.
Some municipalities like Toronto take pet waste (complete with plastic bags which later get separated) in their city compost systems. But what if you don’t have municipal compost pick up?
Rhyannon (new dog owner extraordinaire) had already scoped out a couple options in anticipation that Grant and I would be up in arms at the prospect of another housemate (we weren’t of course).
Turns out you can compost dog waste, just not for use in your veggie patch. You can either go with a commercial product like the Doggy Dooley or you can DIY. (You basically create a mini septic tank out of a garbage can by drilling holes in it and burying it neck deep in your backyard.)
So our new housemate is set to jump in to the the last two weeks of our zero waste year (poo composter and all), and Rhyannon is declaring absolute defeat in the “no buying stuff” part of our project.
Update: Peter from Metro Vancouver kindly sent us this link on what to do with dog waste, and Rhyannon has since made a doggie doo composter by punching holes into an old garbage can and sinking it into the ground (well away from the veggie patch).