By MELANIE VOLLICK
Imagine how many tonnes of dog poo is not properly disposed of each year?
Having two dogs of my own and a cat, my household is heavily into disposal-research mode and trying to understand the best way to discard of this waste.
Flushing it down the toilet is the most sanitary way to go since sewage treatment plants are set up to treat mammal waste products; however, this method of disposal comes with problems of its own because pet waste has a lot of grit on it and mucks up treatment plants.
If it is large dog poop, sending it to the landfill may be better. Garbage collectors don’t want dog waste to go into the truck because it gets messy and the bags explode.
It is important to remember to double bag your dog waste if you do send it to the landfill. Tubular bags from newspaper or loaves of bread work great, and bags made of plastic that are not commonly recycled, are good for wrapping the stinky stuff. The bag keeps microbes from easily escaping into the landfill and gives more time for the stuff to mellow.
The Collingwood landfill will not accept kitchen waste, so you will have to take your waste to the Nottawasaga site or another location that is close by. Composting your pet waste may be the best way to discard of it, and you will save $5 a bag for the cost of disposing it at the landfill.
To compost your dog or cat waste, dig a hole big enough to fit a garbage can that has holes drilled around it and the bottom cut out. Toss some rocks or gravel in the hole for drainage and position the garbage can so it is a little higher than the soil level.
Place a lid on the top and get creative. Now if we could only train the dogs to lift the lid and make their deposits directly. Still, the males would probably forget to put the lid back down when they were through.
Paint the lid to let everyone know that it is the ‘Doggie Composter,’ and what ever you do, do not step on the lid. You can also purchase a ‘doggy dooly’ from PetSmart which is a similar method of composting your pet waste.
It may seem silly to contain your waste if it is near the woods or close to a patch of bushes, but when you think about it, why not contain the waste in a more environmentally-friendly manner.
When you scoop your pet’s poop, put it in the contained hole. Add powdered lime after a big poop scoop and a bucket of water once a week. This will help to increase the digestion rate.
Common sense must be used to maintain the composting system properly: cover the contents often with three-to-five cmof soil (one-to-two inches) to prevent odours and flies. Do not put composted dog waste in your garden, and keep the composter away from drinking water sources and edible plants.
* 2 shovels of poop
* 1 shovel of sawdust or other carbon rich material such as chopped straw or hay, shredded newspaper, or fallen leaves.
Thoroughly mix ingredients and add water as you go. You will want to mix the waste every six-to-eight weeks, and keep a thermometer to see if the temperature rises and falls accordingly is a good idea. The temperature should rise up to 160° F and greater and then decline slowly. If this does not occur, you may need to adjust your recipe.
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends not composting pet waste in order to avoid contaminating soil and water with harmful parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens. The temperatures needed to eliminate pathogens from pet waste may not be attainable in a backyard compost pile.
So, when composting pet waste in your yard, be very careful to check the temperature and be sure to purchase a thermometer to help maintain this.
Some people put dog poop into their worm farms which works fine, although it’s not recommended that you then use the worm castings from the farm in your vegetable garden. Vermicomposting is a method of composting that uses red wiggler worms to break the matter down. Using a vermicomposter is a great way to manage your waste and can be turned into a more nutrient rich soil instead of just poop. You can also add strips of paper– worms love carbon–and this will keep the soil from getting too moist. The size of bin will depend on the number of pets that you have.
For more information or to purchase a worm bin, call – 705-446-0551 or contact www.environmentnetwork.org.
Dog waste compost can be a safe soil additive for vegetation and landscaping when it is done properly.
If you choose another method, be sure to dispose of it properly and someone will thank you whether it is the garbage collector, Sewage Company or your wormies.