POOP – Is it smart to BAG IT?

With all the research I have been doing on the pollution of our waterways I got to thinking about the latest craziness of POOP SCOOPING.  People catching up their dogs droppings and carrying them home in a ‘Plastic’ Bag to be carted to the landfill with the trash.  Now I have to say, I found this to be the epitome of insanity, knowing what I know about plastic.

Now, the Creator, in His infinite wisdom created the most amazing world for us to inhabit.  He set into motion all the appropriate and necessary processes to maintain the earth in perpetuity.  All He asked us to do was to tend it and keep it running as a husbandman.  I know that to all you WOMEN’S LIBBER out there that is a dirty word… But, if you understood God’s intentions for the world you would be oh so thankful for a husband.  That is if the husband knew and understood God’s intentions for the world.  The very idea that God’s plan for headship is something to be avoided or destroyed is just absolutely WRONG!  It needs to be embraced and sought after… If we would only follow GOD’s plan there would be no waste, no shortage, no violence, NO EVIL!

All life, including our food, was designed with the seed inside so that life could continue and there would be food forever.  And since death entered the world, God created natural ways to address that too, as well as waste.  If we had only followed his directions we could have been living in good health, until the natural end of our intended days.  Everything was created in balance.   But man, in his fallen nature. is determined to prove that he can do things better than GOD, and in the process of trying, creates disaster.  

OUR water, air, land and food supply is totally polluted.  MORE PLASTIC is not the answer to any problem… Believe me…

How long does it take for plastics to biodegrade?

BY WILLIAM HARRIS
Green Living Pictures Are we stuck with that plastic bottle forever if it doesn't make it into a recycling bin? See more pictures of green living.
Green Living Pictures Are we stuck with that plastic bottle forever if it doesn’t make it into a recycling bin? See more pictures of green living.
HEMERA/THINKSTOCK
Drop a ketchup bottle on the floor, and you’ll be thankful for polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, the nearly indestructible plastic used to make most containers and bottles. Drop the same bottle into a landfill, however, and you might have second thoughts. Why? Because petroleum-based plastics like PET don’t decompose the same way organic material does. Wood, grass and food scraps undergo a process known as biodegradation when they’re buried, which is a fancy way of saying they’re transformed by bacteria in the soil into other useful compounds. But bacteria turn up their noses at plastic. Load their dinner plates with some plastic bags and bottles, and the one-celled gluttons will skip the meal entirely.

Based on this logic, it’s safe to argue that plastic will never biodegrade. Of course, that’s not the end of the story. Daniel Burd, a student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, recently demonstrated that certain types of bacteria can break down plastic. His research earned the top prize at the Canada-wide Science Fair, earning him $10,000 cash and a $20,000 scholarship [source: Kawawada].

Until other researchers can replicate Burd’s experiment and waste treatment plants can implement any new processes, the only real way to break down plastic is through photodegradation.This kind of decomposition requires sunlight, not bacteria. When UV rays strike plastic, they break the bonds holding the long molecular chain together. Over time, this can turn a big piece of plastic into lots of little pieces.

Of course, plastic buried in a landfill rarely sees the light of day. But in the ocean, which is where a lot of discarded grocery bags, soft drink bottles and six-pack rings end up, plastic is bathed in as much light as water. In 2009, researchers from Nihon University in Chiba, Japan, found that plastic in warm ocean water can degrade in as little as a year. This doesn’t sound so bad until you realize those small bits of plastic are toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer. These end up in the guts of animals or wash up on shorelines, where humans are most likely to come into direct contact with the toxins.

One solution to this environmental disaster is biodegradable plastic. There are two types currently on the market — plant-based hydro-biodegradable plastic and petroleum-based oxo-biodegradable plastic. In the former category, polylactic acid (PLA), a plastic made from corn, tops the list as the most talked-about alternative. PLA decomposes into water and carbon dioxide in 47 to 90 days— four times faster than a PET-based bag floating in the ocean. But conditions have to be just right to achieve these kinds of results. PLA breaks down most efficiently in commercial composting facilities at high temperatures. When buried in a landfill, a plastic bag made from corn may remain intact just as long as a plastic bag made from oil or natural gas.

How Long Does Plastic Take to Break Down?

how-long-does-plastic-take-break-down-decomposition-3_80per

In December of 2016, a little yogurt cup washed along a beach in Canada — not an unusual circumstance. What is unusual was the fact that this yogurt cup was commemorating the 1976 Olympics. For 40 years, it was floating on the surface of the ocean. This event forced us to ask the question: “How long does it take for plastic to decompose?” We’ve investigated the answer, discovering the sheer scale of the amount of time for plastic to break down, including common items like grocery bags, Styrofoam cups, and drinking straws. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s time to talk about what happens to plastic when you throw it away and where it ends up.

First of all, how long does it take for plastic to biodegrade? The answer is simple: It doesn’t. Most common plastics are not biodegradable, or able to be broken down by bacteria or living organisms. Most plastics are photodegradable, or able to be broken down by the sun. But that doesn’t help the plastics at the bottom of landfills or on the ocean floor. The proper question instead is, “How long does plastic take to decompose?”

How long will plastic last in the ocean? In some cases, it’s centuries. More often, items like plastic bottles are pulverized into little bits due to friction. But that means that big chunks of plastic are turned into microplastics, hardly larger than the size of a paperclip, and dangerous chemicals. This led to the creation of the term “plastic soup” when describing the biggest ocean gyres. Indeed, a plastic ocean of those substances might be in our future.

To get from new polyethylene terephthalate plastic bottles in ocean waters to those little microplastics can take anywhere between 450 and 1,000 years. (In human history, that’s the span of time from the death of the Roman Empire to now.) For lighter, thinner plastics, it can be less: About a hundred years is how long it takes for plastic bags to decompose. For plastic straws, disposable diapers, and Styrofoam, decomposition can take about 500 years. It’s not like we can wait around for plastic to decompose with a stop watch, so there may be uncertainty; however, it’s clear that our trash will be still floating around many generations from now.

In the meantime, the plastic pollution in the ocean will be doing untold damage to wildlife. Seabirds will eat plastic bottle caps floating on the surface of the ocean, which look like prey, and die, and the bottle caps inside them will outlast their carcasses. Plastic straws will end up stuck in the nostrils of sea turtles, like in this disturbing viral videoLong and thin microfibers from old polyester clothing will line the stomachs of fish and mussels, eventually killing them.

Just how much plastic is in the ocean? Facts about plastic are upsetting, and this one is a doozy: There’s a giant plastic island in the ocean called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that measures 1.6 million square kilometers, about the size of Mexico, and contains 80,000 tons of plastic (which is four times previous estimates). And that’s just one of the gyres full of plastic in our seas. A mega-expedition studied the patch, and the data is astounding.

Let’s together think more consciously about what we throw out and how long it takes for plastic to break down before tossing it in our ocean.

Are you uncomfortable using products that pollute our world?   Click the link for information on alternatives:

dog-poop-bagsDogs have been human companions for thousands of years, yet amazingly it wasn’t until the late 1970’s when America’s dog population reached a new high that pet waste laws were introduced, enforcing owners to pick up after their dog.

Since then, a vast array of pet waste pick-up devices have been placed onto the market, but nothing seems to be as popular as the traditional plastic dog poop bag. And who can argue? They seem to be the most accommodating of any poop size and consistency; They’re small, compact and easy to carry around; And most importantly, they seem to have the best disposal method – toss it and forget it.

As convenient as they are, they are sadly not very environmentally friendly. Sure this tiny bit of plastic might not seem like much, but when you look at how there are an estimated 80 million dogs in the United States – if each dog is walked just once a day, that’s over 21 billion little baggies used every year and sent to the landfill (not to mention the other bags that are used to pick up the poo in the backyard).

In more recent years, pet stores have been carrying new types of bags that claim to be “compostable”, “biodegradable”, or even “flushable”, but there seems to be a lack of education for the consumer on what the differences are and which one is the best and truly greenest type of bag to use when out walking your pooch.

Is the label Biodegradable misleading?

biodegradable-dog-poop-bagThe answer – well yes and no. In general, the public may believe that something that is biodegradable means that once it goes to the landfill, it will completely go away. This is simply not the the case. The real truth… nothing can ever possibly biodegrade in a landfill.

To understand this fact, you must first understand what biodegradable products are made of. Similar to biodiesel fuel, biodegradable packaging is plant-based. A commonly used material, Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch, tapioca roots, and sugarcane.

no oxygen in a sealed landfillThe idea is that since the bags are made from organic material, then much like an apple rotting on the ground, natural microorganisms will swoop in and decompose the bag back into the environment in the form of water, carbon dioxide, and biomass.

Sounds good right?Here’s the problem, this biodegradation process will only happen in an oxygen-filled (aerobic) environment. What many don’t realize is the landfill is an oxygen-free (anaerobic) environment, meaning that the layers and layers of trash that are piled up in the contained space have no room for air to pass through. If anything, any biodegradable plastics that would break apart in the landfill will actually emit methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent than CO2.

Essentially your biodegradable bag is more effective to be left sitting on the ground out in the open then being sent to the landfill. Although I don’t think society would approve of leaving poo-filled bags lying about our streets and sidewalks.

The other issue with the term “biodegradable” is the lack of guidelines that are adhered to it in a scientific sense. Earlier on, many companies would simply develop these bags incorporating a certain percentage of organic material, and just estimate that they would biodegrade within a certain number of years without actually observing the lengthy process to see if it had indeed fully broken down. This manipulative method was soon given the term “greenwashing the consumer”.

American Society for Testing and Materials
American Society for Testing and Materials

California quickly caught wind of this and in 2008 passed Assembly Bill 1972 requiring clear scientific evidence documenting the biodegradation process within a specific environmental condition and timeframe according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard. Typically anything that lasts longer than 6 months cannot be labeled biodegradable.The bill also requires the labels on the packaging to be perfectly clear as to not imply that the bag will biodegrade or decompose in the landfill.

There is a second type of biodegradable bags that use “Oxo-biodegradable” plastic where instead of using organic starches, small amounts of salts are added to conventional polyolefin plastic that helps speed up the breakdown process. There is controversy over this method as many argue that oxo-biodegradable materials do not actually biodegrade, but rather are broken up into such tiny fragments over time that they become invisible to the human eye (essentially plastic dust).

Biodegradable or not, oxo-biodegradable bags also require the presence of oxygen and therefore ineffective in a landfill.

What about Composting?

o2compost.com
ASP Sytem by O2compost

While biodegradable simply means an object is capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms, “compostable”means that while under a controlled temperature and mixed with the correct carbon to nitrogen ratio, the organic material can be broken down into a humus-rich blend known as compost, which can then be used as fertilizer. What biodegradable and compostable materials have in common is that they both require an aerobic environment (a.k.a. no landfill).

While composting components are stacked up in a comparable fashion to a landfill, these much smaller piles are still exposed to airflow by either being manually turned with loaders or tumblers, or by being fed perforated pipes using the Aerated Static Pile (ASP) technique. A properly composted bag should take about 12 weeks to fully degrade.

Compostable bags have a bright future. Curbside composting is steadily reaching more cities alongside their trash and recycling services. Two hundred American communities offer curbside composting as of 2015 while cities like Houston and Minneapolis are passing ordinances that require their residents to use compostable bags for any green organic material that is collected from their yard.

But sadly, it is still unsure if compostable bags will be the answer for dog waste. Most composting facilities will not handle dog waste in order to avoid contamination.If by chance not all parasites are killed off during the process, any fertilizer that is used on edible plants can negatively affect the health of the eventual consumer. One may want to try composting their dog waste in their own backyard. A noble idea, but unfortunately your compost pile will need to reach a certain temperature (approximately 160 degrees fahrenheit) for an extended amount of time in order to safely kill off the pathogens in the dog waste. And with the small amounts that the typical dog owning household produces, the pile will not be large enough to get that hot.

It is important to know that if you do find a way to effectively dispose of biodegradable or compostable dog poop bags, make sure to research the bag provider first and verify that the product has officially met the testing standards of ASTM D6400 or D6868.

UPDATE: Pet Poo Skiddoo is now composting their dog waste. Learn more
Servicing Asheville and surrounding areas  
828-668-2055

Bags that claim to be Flushable

flushable-dog-poop-bagWouldn’t it be incredible if simply flushing all biodegradable material down the toilet would solve all of our environmental woes? Well, the release of “flushable” adult and baby wipes a few years back quickly crushed that dream. Although these wipes are heavily absorbent in water, the truth is they will not break down fast enough to avoid clogging the pipes as proven by the $18 million bill New York City had to pay to fix all of the issues the wipes had caused…

Many people often figure that if the product successfully flushes down the toilet, it works, but they fail to consider the remaining hundreds of miles of sewage pipes that the “flushable” substance has to travel through. And if you’re on septic, you might not be aware of any problem until it’s too late. Think about it – paper towels are seen as too thick of a material to be flushed, so anything slighter thicker and nonabsorbent than standard toilet paper can be a major problem. Even toilet paper itself has been known to cause major blockages when flushed in large quantities.

Flushable dog poop bags are still a rather new product on the market but there is a fear that they will produce the same outcome as the wipes. Often made of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA), several products have been tested in a separate container of water, and in many instances, the bags become softer within a few hours but never fully disintegrate.

Besides the bag issue, it is also worthwhile to consider the potential negative effects on our environment from the flushing of the dog waste itself. Dog waste can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites – and even though all those should be eradicated once going through the sewage treatment system, this is not always the case. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that at least 23,000 to 75,000 Sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) events occur in the United States each year due to heavy rainfalls, electrical malfunctions, or broken sewer lines. When this occurs, untreated sewage is forced to be discharged back into the environment prior to being cleaned leading to several billion gallons of dirty water being dispersed annually. If pet waste is entered into our streams or bays, it releases high amounts of ammonia whilst decreasing the amount of oxygen which aquatic life requires to survive. It can also contaminate our drinking water, and add to the thousands of gastrointestinal illness cases that are reported each year.

Despite this risk, the Environmental Protection Agency actually does promote the flushing of dog waste (not necessarily the bags) as the best method currently available to the disposal of pet waste. But before you start flushing away, you might want to call your local sewage treatment plant first. The average dog dispenses 275 lbs of waste per year. To put that in perspective, Pet Poo Skiddoo’s hometown Asheville, NC with a mere 87,000 people, generates approximately 6 million lbs of dog poop per year. There are still many sewage treatment plants that use an outdated infrastructure and there’s a good chance that the sudden increase in waste would almost certainly cause a drastic increase in the number of SSO’s leading to an increase of pollution in the town’s water.

Our suggestion is to call your sewer treatment center and hear their thoughts on the matter. My guess is that either way, they will not be too fond of flushing a bag along with it, no matter how biodegradable and water-soluble the company claims.

How bad are conventional Plastic bags?

Plastic bags have been used by consumers worldwide since the 1960s. The lightweight single-use shopping bag is made up of polyethylene, derived from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource. Roughly 11 barrels of oil is used for each ton of plastic bags produced. Doesn’t sound so eco-friendly, does it?

It is estimated that between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide – and like most plastic products that are heavily mass produced, it eventually leads to a major environmental problem.

photodegration-plastic-bagPlastic bags break down through a process called photodegradation in  which the chemical makeup decomposes when exposed to light – similar to how an old painting begins to fade when it oxidizes. The photodegradation process of a single plastic bag is estimated to take between 500 and 1,000 years (although no actual 1,000 year study has been performed since plastic bags have only been around for less than 60 years). During this time, the plastic breaks down into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers, which can eventually contaminate soils and waterways if not contained within a landfill – needless to say, conventional plastic does not fall under the category of being biodegradable.

plastic-paper-bagThere is certainly no question that the issue of petroleum-based plastics needs to be resolved, however, there is some positive information that can be gathered from them. Despite popular belief, the production of plastic bags actually takes less energy than the same size paper bags – a staggering 40% less. While both paper and plastic bags can be recycled, the paper uses a striking 91% more energy than plastic to do so. Paper also creates 50-70% more pollution and weighs 10 times more than your standard plastic bag. Of course, we were not implying that you were using a paper bag to pick up your dog’s doo.

Coming back to the recycling aspect, it is important to note that while conventional plastic can be recycled, biodegradable and compostable bags cannot. Plastic bags have a similar, almost identical makeup compared to other plastic containers and should theoretically be able to be recycled in the same fashion. You may notice that your curbside recycling program will not accept plastic bags – this is not due to the bag’s chemical composition, but rather it’s thin and rather malleable properties. Most modern recycling equipment is designed for rigid plastics that can be crunched up, but plastic bags can easily bypass the pulverizing stage and make its way to clogging up the machine’s wheels and belts.

Recycling plastic bags is starting to become a large industry. Many grocery stores are now featuring drop-off points for plastic bag recycling. And although several states are seeking to prohibit or heavily regulate plastic single-use carryout bags for larger chains, there is also an increasing effort to support companies that can produce a thicker, multi-use recycled plastic bag. But whether at a store or if by chance your recycling service does accept plastic bags, you cannot include your dog poop in it! It goes without saying that dog poop cannot be recycled. Furthermore recycled bags must be clean and dry in order to be recycled, and who wants to wash out a plastic bag after picking up their dog’s poo? There are companies that offer dog poop bags with a certain percentage of recycled material, but what can be done with the bag after it has been used is a different story.

So after reviewing all of the different types of dog poop bags available, what’s the most environmentally friendly option? Well, as of right now…. none of them. Not to say that they don’t all have their place, but it isn’t until cities provide the much-needed service that diverts dog poop away from the landfill (whether through composting, a sewage treatment service, or even using biogas technology) there’s just not a way for dog owners to be as green as they would like to be.

I searched and searched to find concrete numbers on how long it takes for poop to decompose.  The numbers vary greatly.  It does depend on the size of your dog, the food that they eat and the quality of their health.   But, NONE of the answers I was able to find were ever higher than one year, under the worst circumstances.  THAT my friends is so much better than plastic bags already!!

Now, left out in the open air, exposed to the sun the wind, the rain, insects, and bacteria, poop can’t last very long. And since God designed those things to work toward that very purpose… I can’t imagine mankind find a better method. 

Personally, I am convinced the whole “Poop Scooping” policy had nothing to do with the Ecology any more than anything else coming out of the EPA.  It is about CONTROLLING PEOPLE.  It is about making opportunities for generating income from fines or giving the government excuses to incarcerate people.  If I were a dog owner, I would try to manage my dog so that they pooped at home and address the issue in the manner of my choice.   

Let’s take a look at some alternative options to “Bagging It”.  

How Long Does It Take for Dog Poo to Decompose?

By Jane Meggitt
www.cuteness.comwww.cuteness.com
(A lovely website with some great articles – do have a look)

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How long it takes dog poop to decompose depends on your dog’s diet and the climate. In colder regions, that fecal material might be around for as long as a year before natural decomposition occurs. That doesn’t mean you can’t rush Mother Nature by composting dog waste. It’s good for the environment and helps fertilize nonedible plants.
Diet
Dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat animal and plant material. If your dog primarily consumes meat, his feces take longer to decompose than that of a canine eating food filled with grains. However, choosing your dog’s diet based on fecal decomposition isn’t necessarily good for his health. Ask your vet for recommendations for the best food for your pet based on his individual needs.
Here are some helpful suggestions for addressing the Dog Poop Issue, from the general public. 
BethanyI really am not sure. The easy thing to say is to just pick it up…but in my backyard, my dogs poops and it just decomposes. I try to pick it up once every week so that it won’t smell, and he only poops in two parts of the yard…when I go to pick it up, the poop is gone. I live in the woods though, so maybe that has a lot to do with the disappearing poop tricks. It’s really bad just to leave it lying around because it can attract unwanted rodents and your neighbors might not like you so much after that. One thing you can do is just spray it with water…it’s really gross to look at, but you’d be fertilizing your yard and watering your yard in the same step. That’s probably the most environmentally best way to do it if you don’t want to pick it up.  Source

KatherineJust pick it up and put it in a container. The beetles and the flies will take care of the rest. Healthy dog poop will break down in less than a week if left to the devices of Mother Nature and her friends. It is not healthy for the dog to leave its the poop on the grass. Some of Mother Nature’s cleanup crew leave a residue that is not healthy for dogs.   Source

Worm Farm

If you’re interested in vermiculture, or worm farming, dog poop can help feed your worms just as well as the food scraps and other organic material you add to the worm bins. Mixing dog excrement and vegetable waste means you must add leaves or newspaper to the bin, as they provide carbon. Because the worms eat the poop, it actually doesn’t decompose. A pound of red worms can eat as much as a half-pound of waste each day. Worms produce their own weight in waste daily, which you can use as fertilizer. As with compost, don’t use dog waste fertilizer on edible plants.   Source

If you are at least curious about the Worm Farm idea, here is enough information to help you get started.  Try it out… it might be fun, and even lucrative.   Fishermen will be happy to buy your worms.   Gardeners love them, too.  Even for folks who like to keep a handsome lawn, worms are very helpful.

Dealing with dog poop is probably one of the things every dog owner dreads! There are indeed millions of nicer topics to talk about than dog waste! But let’s face it every proud owner of a German Shepherd, Jack Russel, 

Husky or any other breed will have to make a plan to get rid of his or her best friends waste. All dog feces can be annoying, smelly and even the cause of disease. There are a lot of bacteria in dog waste including E. coli, and salmonella.

Using worm composting to get rid of dog poop!

Probably the most common way to deal with dog waste is to send the children into the garden or backyard on a regular basis to scoop up the smelly piles and throw them into the rubbish bin.

This way we get rid of the problem in our backyard but the animal waste would still be dumped on the municipal landfill sites and pose a threat to the communal health.

A much better way to deal with dog waste is to use earthworms or better composting worms to convert the dog shit into nutrient rich worm castings.

Dog excrement’s, are an excellent food source for earthworms. Worms don’t have teeth and can only feed on soft decomposing materials. We have a worm bin or as I call it a “Pet poop composter” in the backyard that has been running exclusively on dog poop for close to 15 years now.

The worms seem to be happy and their breeding activity in those worm bins is exceptional.

Some of the benefits of using compost worms to recycle your dog poop are:

  • No bad odors in the back yard or garden (healthy worm bins never smell)
  • Reduction of waste rotting on landfill sites
  • Constant production of worms that will recycle organic waste
  • Constant supply of fat worms for freshwater fishing
  • Constant production of worms that can be sold for extra income
  • Production of worm castings which can be used to fertilize flowers, trees and lawns, but should not be used to feed fruit and vegetables.

To get started you first will have to buy or build a worm bin.

Follow these links to find out more about worm bins and how to start a worm bin.

Then get hold of some earth worms for breeding stock.

The most popular worms are Eisenia fetida worms, commonly known ascompost worms, red worms or red wigglers.

If you can’t get them, then use European Night crawlers. They will work well too.

Depending on the size of your dogs, you should add at least 500 to 1000 worms to the worm bin.

The bigger your worm bin the more worms you can add. Worms tend to grow bigger if they don’t feel crowded.

To set up you’re worm composting bin to recycle your dog waste go to Starting a worm farm and follow the instructions! 

A simple homemade worm bin.A simple homemade worm bin.

Note: we have worked with dog waste for many years now and never had any health issues but it is a good practice to either wear rubber gloves or use a plastic bag when scooping up the dog feces.

If you have any questions you can post them in the form below and we will answer them asap!

How To Set Up A Dog Poo Worm Farm

When my greyhound Hans moved into the house (in July 2016), it was important to me that I didn’t suddenly start using heaps of plastic, or begin sending stuff to landfill. There’s bedding, toys and food to consider – and also what to do with dog poo.

If a dog goes to the toilet twice a day, that’s potentially two plastic bags going to landfill every day also – not to mention the contents.

One of the first things I did was set up a dog poo worm farm. I’ve mentioned it before, but it is something that I get asked about often, so I wanted to take some time to explain the specifics.

I promise you, it isn’t hard. There’s actually very little to it!

Dog Poo Worm Farm Basics

Dog poo doesn’t go into the regular worm farm; it needs to go in a separate one. There are a couple of reasons for this.

One, if worms have the choice between dog poo and banana peels and avocado, they are not going to be choosing eating dog poo.

Two, whereas regular worm farm castings (the nutrient-rich compost left by the worms once they process the food) can be used to grow seedlings and added to the veggie patch, worm farm castings stay in the ground.

This is because faeces may contain parasites and bad bacteria, so spreading it over the lettuce seedlings isn’t a good idea from a health perspective.

Of course, it’s possible to position a dog poo worm farm underneath a fruit tree so that the tree gets the benefits of all the nutrients.

I like the dog poo worm farm set-up (as opposed to digging holes in the ground every time there is something to dispose of) because there is one spot where everything goes. It’s contained and easy to manage.

As someone with a small yard, it is the perfect solution for me.

Setting Up A Dog Poo Worm Farm

I’m a fan of the repurposed materials-and-no-cost approach. I’ve used a 20 litre plastic bucket that was donated to me by the bulk food store once the contents had been sold. It has a lid, which is very important.

I cut the bottom out of the bucket, and dug a hole in the garden big enough to bury the bucket so just an inch was exposed above the ground (enough to ensure the lid is secured).

I don’t bury the handle as it might be useful if I need to move the bin later.

Next, the worm farm needs a big old handful of composting worms. (These are different to earthworms in that composting worms are surface feeders.) The main types are Eisenia fetida, Eisenia Andrei and Lumbricus rubellus but what is actually available depends on where you live.

I just grabbed a handful from my regular worm farm. If you don’t have any to start with, check out community gardens, Buy Nothing groups, Gumtree or good garden centres.

The worms aren’t trapped in the worm farm as the bottom is cut out, so they are free to come and go, as are any other critters looking for some lunch.

The other thing that worm farms need is carbon. I add this by picking up dog poo using old toilet paper wrappers (conveniently ready-cut the the exact size I need) or newspaper. If you use some kind of scoop to pick up, just throwing in a few handfuls of leaves, or some paper or cardboard would be fine.

This bucket holds 20 litres, so eventually fills up. I’ve also seen these worm farms made with old flip-lid wheelie bins which are much larger (often it is possible to purchase broken or damaged ones – contact your local council to find out if they offer this service.)

When the bin reaches capacity, cover the top with soil, then pull out the bucket and replace elsewhere.

As the freshest and least composted poo will be at the top, consider setting up a second whilst leaving the first to continue decomposing. It will make for a more pleasant experience when removing and replacing the bucket.

Dog Poo Worm Farm – Do’s and Don’ts

Something really important to remember is that a worm farm contains worms, and worming tablets kill worms. If your dog has taken worming tablets, do not put dog poo in the worm farm for a couple of weeks.

I don’t regularly give my dog worming tablets (on the advice of my vet), and he gets a yearly heartworm injection (rather than tablets) which lasts for 12 months.

Personally, I’d avoid putting dog poo in the worm farm in compostable plastic bags. Even the ones that are certified home compostable take 6 months to compost, and that is in a regular compost bin, not a worm farm.

If you’d still like to give it a try, I’d suggest ripping the bags open before adding them to the worm farm, and be prepared to leave it “brewing” for several months once it is full.

Something else to bear in mind: composting worms will die in freezing temperatures (they are surface dwellers, unlike their cousins the earthworms, who will burrow for warmth). The eggs should survive. If you live in a country where it freezes in winter, bear in mind that your worm farm might need to be seasonal.

Thoughts About Cat Poo Worm Farms

I don’t have a cat, but I have several friends that do, and whom compost their cat litter. The main thing to be aware of is that cat poo commonly carries a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which cause toxoplasmosis in humans.

This means cat faeces needs to be handled even more carefully than dog poo.

Cat litter can be found made of newspaper pellets, wood shavings, which would both work great in a worm farm.

The volumes will be bigger so a 20 litre bucket might fill up fairly fast.

Can I Flush Dog and Cat Poo Down the Loo?

From what I’ve read the consensus seems to be that it is okay to flush dog poo down the toilet, but not cat poo (because of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite). However, the best thing would be to phone your local water treatment facility and ask them whether they are happy for you to do so, or not.

That way, you’ll know for sure – and if not, they should be able to tell you why not.

Whilst I know that dog poo worm farms might not be for everyone, they have been a great success for me. The smell is minimal (as opposed to the bins at dog parks, which reek), I have it placed in a convenient spot, and it is no extra hassle at all – except, perhaps, when it needs moving.

Now I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a pet – and what do you do with their waste? Have you set up a pet poo worm farm, are you game to try – or is it definitely a no-go for you?! What have your experiences been? Are there any other ways you try to reduce their waste footprint? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!