Bella Goes Green: Composting Dog Poop
Everything I had ever heard about recycling dog poop was always met with funny scrunched up faces and sounds of ick, eeyew, and claims that it can’t be done. I wondered why, since people pay big money for sacks of cow manure and buy the zoo’s surplus elephant dung by the truckload. Why not dog poop? Then my Auntie Karen, who is a very smart lady, sent me something she found on the topic and it was enlightening! Someone had asked the question “How can I recycle dog poop?” and I found a lot of really good answers! This is a picture that Mommy took in August of 2005, in the seaport village of Warnemunde, (East) Germany on a day stop during a cruise of the Baltic countries. It shows how dog poop is just not wanted no matter where you are!
I started sniffing out information on the topic of recycling dog poop and, much to my surprise, I found that there are actually dog poop composting bins designed especially to handle the stinky stuff and turn it into usable soil. They are called Doggie Doolies and are made to be sunk into the ground and work like miniature septic tanks. They retail for about $35 to $50, and are used with a special enzyme that breaks the poop down to a liquid that gets absorbed into the ground. Here is what it looks like:
So what is the science behind this finding? The US Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the EPA and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation actually conducted a dog waste study and published their findings in December of 2005 titled “Composting Dog Waste“. The study concludes that there are some pretty pawesome benefits and I will let the readers determine what those benefits are for themselves, since the benefits do require some labor and effort to capture. There are several designs ideas included for building your own doggie doolies, and Mommy’s favorite for simplicity and low price is the black trash can with a snap-on lid like this one:
The $15 plastic trash can in the photo turned out to be too big for us at 32 gallons, so we are taking it back for a smaller one, perhaps the 20 gallon size. You have to dig a hole in the ground, in a sunny and dry site somewhere safe considering what it is going to be used for. Cut the bottom out of the can, and then about 12″ from the top rim drill a lot of holes in the sides so that the liquid can leach out during the composting process. Insert the can into the hole, allowing the handles to remain above ground because later you might want to pull it up and relocate it to another spot; backfill the hole on the outside of the can with some of the dirt. You want all the holes to be below ground level so no stinky smells can escape and ruin your garden pawties. Here is the video that Mommy liked best:
This is a project that we are going to try in our yard this year, because we have a lot of four-legged Dog Poop factories at our house, for BOL!! We may as well put their poop to good use!