Zero Waste Ways to Clean Up Dog Poop | We can’t just leave dog poop lying on the dog trail or on the side of the road for many reasons. Not only is it just plain rude and disrespectful to the others that enjoy walking outside who would rather not step in poop, it contains some not so good elements that we shouldn’t expose others to.
The most frustrating thing is trying to enjoy the park or walking trail only to find dog poop everywhere and worse, dog poop that has been collected in a plastic bag then tossed deeper into the woods or off the trail. My level of disgust is unfathomable.
And you may be questioning, “It’s just poop, it’s natural, why can’t we just let it decompose?” Well, because there are just too many dogs in urbanized areas, that’s why.
I remember a few years ago, I read about some mysterious vigilante in New York City that would go around and throw dog poop at the dog owners who didn’t pick up after their pet. I thought that was hilarious. Of course, he was asked to stop since I’m pretty sure that is assault….ASSault.
Don’t break the law.
For most communities, it’s unlawful to not remove pet waste. Here’s an example of the ordinance in my city:
Any person in physical possession and control of any animal shall remove excreta or other solid waste deposited by the animal in any public or private area not designated to receive such wastes including, but not limited to, streets, sidewalks, parking lots, public parks or recreation areas and private property. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to a guide dog accompanying any blind person.
And come on, it’s just plain gross and unsanitary. Estimates share that a single gram of dog poo can contain nearly 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. These bad little guys can lead to serious intestinal illnesses, cramping, diarrhea, and even kidney disorders.
Dog poop also harbors many viruses that can cause serious illnesses.
- E. Coli
- Cryptosporidium and Giardia
My dog, Zora lost her cancer battle this last spring after contracting Cryptosporidium from the common yard that we share with other neighbors. I’m not saying that is what caused her demise but she died within a month of getting it.
Just be considerate and responsible pet owners. Please.
Zero Waste Ways to Clean Up Dog Poop
Like I always say, health always comes before waste. So, as a pet owner you will inevitably create trash. However, there are ways to handle the pet poop without as much trash.
I find plastic grocery bags, paper bags, ziplock bags, and even produce bags littered all over my neighborhood. And like every other environmentalist, I can’t just walk past it without picking it up. I just can’t – I swear it would keep me up at night if I did.
I board dogs now as a way to heal after Zora died, which is fantastic by the way, I use litter to clean up after them on our walks. Yes, I throw it into the garbage when we get home, but I feel that is a perfect and zero waste-ish way to handle dog poop since I live in an apartment and do not have access to pet waste composting.
Upcycle Your Own Trash
Plastic grocery bags, bread bags, chip bags, paper bags from take out, or even junk mail – keep it for dog waste pick up. Keep a little bin next to your dog supplies to keep the items that you plan to use for dog poop. I mean, that trash will inevitably end up in the landfill anyway, you might as well give it a “crappy” second life.
I get a ton of papers at my house that I can’t seem to avoid. If you have a smaller dog, this would be a simple way to pick up and toss. Of course, you’d probably want to keep the poo contained in another bigger container so I’d recommend saving the dog food bags for bulk storage.
Use a Reusable Poo Container
Keep a plastic container like maybe one from peanut butter or mayo and use it to scoop up the poo until you can get home and dispose of properly. I’m not sure how easy this would be but it IS an option.
Compost the Dog Poop
If you have yard space, there are methods to compost pet waste. And to be very clear, I’m not suggesting the poop to be composted then used. This composting method is solely for proper, and safe disposal that prevents the poop from ending up in the landfill.
For a few resources on how to do this check out:
Dig a hole and toss in the poo. I consider this a lazier alternative to just composting it. Make sure you bury it deep enough though.
If you have access to a municipal pet waste facility…
Use real biodegradable bags.
And if all else fails….
Use Dog Poop Bags Made from Recycled Plastic or Buy Paper
I stand behind my argument that if you plan to toss it into the garbage, opt for recycled plastic over biodegradable. Seriously, it just doesn’t make any sense to throw “biodegradable” plastic bags into the garbage to then send to a closed landfill where it can’t decompose anyway. Not to mention not all poop bags degrade quickly, safely or even at all.
If you are looking from some brands that are made from recycled plastic or paper, check out these:
What did I forget? Do you have some tips to share? What are your Zero Waste Ways to Deal with Dog Poop?
For other pet related posts on Zero Waste check out: