Photo credit: Colin Broug via freeimages.com
As a professional pooper scooper, I specialize in the clean up, removal, and disposal of dog waste. Often, people ask me what I do with the dog waste. The EPA allows dog waste to be double-bagged and tossed into the trash so that’s what I do. For seven years, I’ve tossed bags of dog waste into my dumpster after collecting it from residential properties. But I can’t help thinking…there’s gotta be a better way.
About a year ago, I found an article published by the USDA explaining how dog waste could be composted. People often asked me if they could compost dog waste and I gave the standard veterinary answer: Dog waste contains bacteria and parasites that could be harmful to people and pets; therefore, composting dog waste for use in your vegetable garden is a bad idea because your garden could become contaminated with those same bacteria and parasites.
Having read the USDA report, I’m convinced that composting is okay and could be a better way of dealing with dog waste. The USDA agrees, however, that you should not use dog waste compost in your vegetable garden. It could be used in landscaping applications.
The USDA report suggested using a compost bin to compost the dog waste. They also stated that it would take waste from over 20 dogs to fill the compost bin. In other words, most pet owners would not fit this category. But pet waste removal service businesses collect that much waste in a day, so starting a composting service would be an option.
I read an article in the News-Enterprise the other day that suggested not using a compost bin. As long as you prepare a heap, add waste and other organic material to the compost, water it, and turn it daily, you can effectively compost without using a bin. If I get the approval, I think I might try to start composting dog waste just to test this idea out.
It takes 6 to 8 weeks to compost dog waste and before you can use it to fertilize your shrubs and flowers, it needs to cure for about 1 year.
I have also read about other ways of recycling dog waste. Some densely populated places in California are exploring the possibility of turning dog waste into energy. Using animal waste to produce electricity is a fantastic idea and what’s even better is that animal waste tends to be a renewable resource.