Poop. It’s not the most pleasant topic, nor the most pleasant part of pet ownership, but it is the most common of the day to day pet parenting responsibilities, next to food. We are responsible for piles and piles of poop. How do we clean it up? What happens if we don’t? Is there a way to keep our planet safe from doggo droppings? There are ways to help keep poop bags environmentally friendly.
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I work with many dogs of all shapes and sizes and I clean poop of all shapes and sizes. I also see that many people are doing their best to find the most ecologically friendly methods of disposing of it, and I often hear that there are not very many options.
Many poop bags, including some that can be purchased at the dollar store, claim to be biodegradable. I have learned that it is almost impossible for them to actually decompose due to the fact that they are compressed in the piles of garbage in the landfills and not exposed to the light and oxygen that is required to complete the decomposition process.
So, should we bury it? Use it for fertilizer?
No. These are also not an option as dog poop, unlike sheep or cow feces, contains bacteria such as E. coli and numerous parasites. As it decomposes, it can spread disease. If humans or dogs have access to it, they can become ill.
So, what can we do?
I try to limit the number of the bags I use. If one of my dog’s poops twice on the same walk, I use the same bag to clean up. This helps to reduce the impact on landfills. In my own yard, I keep a compostable household bag on hand, and continue to fill it for 2 or 3 days before tossing it out, once again reducing the number of bags used. I, as well as the majority of my clients, try to choose poop bags that attempt to help the environment. I look for products that put forth an effort to have a more positive ecological effect, down to the smallest details. Clients, friends and family members have introduced me to many different types that claim to be biodegradable, but as stated above, these can only be as effective as the landfill they are dropped in. Instead, I look for a product that is not made from plastic materials, and for those that use recyclable packaging and packaging made from recycled products. It’s also better to use reusable dispensers rather than disposable.
As of yet, there is no perfect method of poop disposal that I am aware of, but there are significantly better options to choose from, as well as methods of use and disposal that can reduce the risk of illness and negative environmental impact.
Please clean up after your pet responsibly.