The Scoop on Scooping. How to Dispose of Large Amounts of Dog Poop

Introduction

Properly disposing of dog waste is an important responsibility for owners, especially those with multiple dogs producing large volumes. Dog waste that is improperly disposed of can cause environmental pollution and health hazards. An average sized dog produces about 275 pounds of poop per year. With multiple dogs, this can add up quickly.

Environmentally-friendly disposal methods are available to dog owners with large amounts of waste. Composting, burial, waste disposal services, and specialized systems like dog waste digesters allow owners to properly manage dog poop. This guide will provide an overview of disposal options to consider that are more earth-friendly than simply placing dog waste in the trash.

Impacts of Improper Disposal

Improperly disposing of dog waste can have negative impacts on both human health and the environment. According to the EPA, dog waste contains bacteria and parasites that can spread disease to humans and other animals [1]. Diseases spread through dog waste include:

  • Salmonella
  • E. coli
  • Giardia
  • Roundworms
  • Hookworms
  • Tapeworms
  • dog owner walking dog on leash outdoors

  • Parvo

These bacteria and parasites can be transmitted through direct contact with the waste or when the waste contaminates water sources. According to Paw Pail, dog waste left on the ground can be washed into storm drains and end up polluting nearby bodies of water [2]. The waste introduces excessive nutrients as well as bacteria and parasites, which can negatively impact water quality and aquatic ecosystems.

Composting Dog Waste

One effective way to dispose of large amounts of dog waste is by composting. Composting dog poop can reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, turn waste into a useful resource, and eliminate the use of plastic bags.

There are different types of compost bins that can be used:

  • Open bins: These allow good air circulation but can attract pests and require more maintenance. Ideal for a dry climate.
  • Closed bins: Keep odors contained and pests out. Require more mixing of contents. Best for wetter areas.
  • Tumblers: Allow easy mixing and aeration. More expensive but very low maintenance.

Proper maintenance is essential for composting dog poop. The compost needs the right balance of nitrogen and carbon materials, moisture, and aeration. It’s recommended to add a mix of brown materials high in carbon along with the dog waste to maintain the right compost chemistry. Turning or mixing the pile weekly provides aeration.

The finished compost has many uses, such as:

  • Soil amendment for lawns and gardens – improves soil fertility and structure.
  • Top-dressing for lawns – provides nutrients for grass.
  • Mulch around plants – retains moisture and suppresses weeds.

Be sure to avoid using composted dog waste on edible crops. Composting reduces pathogens, but there is still a contamination risk.

Flushable Dog Waste Bags

Flushable dog waste bags are designed to be disposed of down the toilet after use. They are made of materials that quickly break down in water, allowing the bag and waste to be flushed away. Most flushable bags are plastic-free and made from natural materials like bamboo fiber, cornstarch, or wood pulp.

Flushable bags can provide a more sanitary and less smelly way to dispose of dog poop, especially for those without access to outdoor trash cans. The bags and waste can be flushed away immediately rather than having the odor linger. They also reduce the amount of plastic waste generated.

person pouring liquid enzyme digester onto dog poop

Flushable bags do come at a higher cost than regular plastic bags. A 200-count box of flushable bags can range from $15-25, while regular plastic bags are often $10-15 for that same count. However, the environmental benefits and convenience may make the extra cost worthwhile for some owners.

It’s important to follow proper disposal methods when using flushable bags. The bags should be placed directly in the toilet bowl and flushed immediately. They should not be placed in the trash or compost, as they are designed to break down in water. Flushing just 1-2 bags per toilet use is recommended, to prevent clogging. The packaging should also note whether the bags are safe for septic systems.

Overall, flushable dog poop bags can be a handy option for dog owners looking to dispose of waste more responsibly. Following the proper usage guidelines is important to gain the benefits without plumbing issues. Check the packaging to verify the bags are 100% plastic-free and septic safe before use.

Dog Waste Digesters

Dog waste digesters are enzyme-based products that help break down solid dog waste. They contain natural microbes and enzymes that help liquefy and dissolve feces, turning it into a liquid that can be disposed of easily.

There are different brands of dog waste digester products available. They typically come in powder or liquid form. The powder is sprinkled onto dog waste to activate the enzymes. The liquid form can be sprayed or poured onto waste. Directions for use vary by product, so be sure to read instructions carefully.

Using a digester helps waste decompose faster, reducing odor and mess. It makes waste easier to pick up and clean. The liquid can be hosed or rinsed away, avoiding the need to handle and dispose of solid feces.

Digesters are convenient for quick and regular disposal of small amounts of waste. For larger amounts, digesters may take longer to fully liquefy waste. You may need to reapply digester or give it more time to work.

Cost wise, digester powders or liquids typically run $10-30 for a 1-3 month supply. This affordable option is cheaper than bags for daily waste disposal. However, digesters alone don’t fully eliminate waste. You still need to monitor the area and may need other disposal methods at times.

With some diligence, enzyme-based dog waste digesters can be an effective solution for simplifying feces disposal.

Dog Waste Collection Services

Dog owners who generate large amounts of dog poop may consider hiring private dog waste collection services or using municipal collection options.

Many cities and towns offer municipal dog waste collection services for public areas like parks, trails, and sidewalks. These are often funded through taxpayer dollars. Check with your local sanitation department to see if any public dog waste collection is available in your area.

For collection of dog poop on private property like backyards, professional pet waste removal companies can provide this service for a fee. The average cost for private dog waste collection services ranges from $10-$35 per visit, with discounts often available for multi-dog homes or regular weekly service. Companies like Swoop Scoop and DoodyCalls offer professional backyard dog poop collection across many U.S. cities.

Burying Dog Waste On Your Property

Burying dog poop on your own property can be a convenient way to dispose of pet waste, especially if you have a large yard. However, there are some important guidelines to follow when burying dog waste onsite:

Burying dog waste may be appropriate if you live in a rural area and have a large property. Make sure to bury the waste away from vegetable gardens, play areas, streams or wells. The waste should be buried at least 5 inches deep, and ideally in a location that does not flood. This helps prevent the waste from surfacing or contaminating water.

person digging hole to bury bag of dog poop

Before burying dog poop, it’s advisable to mix the waste with dirt, sawdust or lime to help decompose it. Lime also reduces odors and kills some pathogens. Use approximately 1 cup of lime per large dog’s daily waste. Avoid burying dog waste repeatedly in the same spot.

According to the City of Bothell, burying dog poop allows pathogens and nutrients to seep into groundwater, so this disposal method should be avoided in urban areas or anywhere with a high water table. Additionally, some municipalities prohibit burying pet waste on public or private property, so check local regulations.

Trash Disposal

Throwing dog waste directly into the trash for landfill disposal is an option some pet owners choose for convenience. However, there are important considerations when using this method.

Most waste management companies require that dog waste be double-bagged before placing it in the trash can to minimize odors and leakage. According to the EPA’s Pet Waste Management guidelines, dog waste should be placed in a sealed plastic bag which is then placed inside another sealed plastic bag. Tying the bags tightly helps contain any smells.

Even when double-bagged, dog waste can create odors when stored inside a trash receptacle. Take measures to minimize smell by regularly cleaning cans and placing some baking soda inside to absorb odors. Also consider freezing dog waste before disposal to limit bacteria growth.

There are also environmental impacts to consider when sending dog waste to landfills. As it decomposes, dog waste contributes to landfill methane emissions. According to the EPA, landfill gas is estimated to account for approximately 15.4% of all methane emissions in the United States. Additionally, the plastic bags used to dispose of dog waste take many years to decompose.

Choosing the Right Method

When deciding how to dispose of large amounts of dog waste, there are several factors to consider such as the number of dogs you have, the size of your yard, and your budget. The right solution will depend on your specific situation.

For example, if you have multiple large dogs, an on-site disposal method like composting or a digester system may be preferable to bagging up all the waste and hauling it to the trash. However, if you have a tiny yard, you may not have space for a dedicated digester unit. In that case, a waste collection service that comes to remove the waste may be better suited.

Composting dog waste can be an eco-friendly and cost effective option, but it requires more effort and time investment than some other methods. It also depends on having sufficient space to maintain a proper compost pile. Composting may work best when combined with another disposal method, such as also using biodegradable bags to remove some waste.

Trash disposal is one of the simplest options, though less environmentally friendly. This can work well for smaller amounts of waste. But for larger quantities, the plastic waste bags can accumulate quickly. You’ll also want to follow any local regulations on disposing pet waste, as some municipalities prohibit this.

When choosing a dog poop disposal system, be sure to consider your specific needs and constraints. In many cases, a combination of two methods can provide the right balance of convenience, affordability, and sustainability.

Being a Responsible Owner

When it comes to properly disposing of dog waste, it starts with being a responsible pet owner. This means teaching your dog proper potty training habits, following leash laws, always cleaning up after your pet, and educating other owners about proper disposal methods.

dog being potty trained to go in designated area

Potty training your dog to go in designated areas, and always cleaning up immediately afterwards, are the first steps to responsible dog waste management. Refresher training may be needed throughout your dog’s life to reinforce good potty habits. Always carry waste bags when walking your dog, follow leash laws, and never leave home without them.

It’s also important to set a good example for other pet owners. Make sure to clean up after your pet in public areas and dispose of the waste properly after returning home. If you see other owners neglecting to pick up after their dogs, politely remind them to do so or notify the proper authorities if the issue persists. We all share public spaces, so cleaning up after your pet keeps areas clean for everyone.

Lastly, educate other dog owners on proper disposal methods, like composting dog waste at home, using dog waste collection services, or trashing sealed bags. Peer education can go a long way in making sure all pet owners understand their role in keeping shared spaces clean and minimizing the environmental impact of dog waste. It takes an entire community’s commitment to make a difference.

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