Thursday, November 5, 2009

Composting pet poo?

My not so brilliant dog, Cori, posing for this question: Would you compost my poo?

We try try try to compost/recycle whatever possible here and the knowledge that this is available/can be made:

is intriguing yet frightening at the same time.  (Also, a $100?! Seriously?!?!)

If you want to get real science fiction here's this version... for $400:

 I feel guilty using little plastic newspaper baggies (I know, I know I get a newspaper... tree killer!) but the paper is helpful and I recycle/reuse it!) to pick up the dog's poo, but the idea of it being somewhat hermetically sealed in a knotted off baggie in the middle of a landfill does not make me feel great, but the idea of have that stinkiness still around the yard is plenty enough to send me running.

I know that techically it should stop smelling when it composts down and you can seal it well enough so that no "aromas" leak out, but still there's that ick factor.

As my dog won't do it in our yard, we'd still have to use something to transport the stuff for a good distance if I even if I really wanted to consider composting my dog's poo.

Most of the sites tend to mention not to use this stuff on/in your vegetable gardens because of the uncertainty that the e. coli will break down, so that might be problematic as well since I have very few things I grow that I don't eat.

Hmmm... oak tree want some doggy compost?  Bet the squirrels would love that.

This ironic question pops up of course: "why are we composting our dog's poo and not ours?"

Sadly we don't have a composting toilet or gray water system as sweet as a setup like that would be, and we're really iffy on doing that as we don't plan to be here for a real long time, so that cost thing is rough.  UNLESS, we build an outhouse.  Ok, no.  I already whimper when I have to enter our cold bathroom in the winter, let's not have frozen tears going on when I just want to tinkle.

(eek, too much info...I have a  bad tendency for that..)

Anyhow, interesting questions and I leave you with a tutorial on how to build one of your own, using an "in the ground method:"


Jacob Royer said...

One of the main reasons I don't compost my pet's poo is that they are meat eaters which makes their poo less desirable for compost.
As far as human poo goes, have you seen what people eat???? There is no way I would want most of that in my yard, much less my garden.

Anonymous said...

Cute dog!

I have looked into this and have found a few negatives (at least for our area.) That keep me from pursuing it.

I was looking at this product:

Similar to the in the ground setups you linked to. It is basically a septic tank that uses enzymes and some water. Not too bad, but our cities water is supplied by an aquifer and that is a cause for concern. But I guess if people don't pick up their poo then it gets down there anyways and gets treated.

Also the note on the above product warned not to use it in clay because it can't drain and break down properly. Although I'd assume you could amend the soil around this area to make it work.

The problem I've found with the vermi-composting method is the temperature seems to get too hot for worms to thrive in our area during the summer (temperatures above 86F could harm the worms.)

I definitely wouldn't buy something that costs a lot of money and uses electricity just for the dogs, but maybe a composting toilet for yourself and the pets? If there was a clean way to do that it may be an option, but still sounds messy.

I've heard about humanure and people just using a bucket with a lid, but I haven't really considered it. But if anyone is interested here's a link to a handbook about that subject.

Rosey Pollen said...

People all over the world have been composting humanure( POO ) for centuries. Not saying I want to. Just that it isn't that weird for other cultures.

janie said...

I would not do it, but they do in other countries. No poo is excluded.

persephone said...

@Jacob: The whole "meat eaters/we humans eat terrible crap that should never inhabit this earth" thing feels so true.... but maybe if we nicely asked a vegan community... er, nevermind.

@bcooper5: Holy crap! (pun intended) thanks for all that info! I forgot about that clay-thing, so that's an excellent point.

The vermiculture might potentially work I think if you shade your bin; as I've mentioned in my blog, I had a rather nice little covered sun room, which faces north and I think is relatively cool in the summer for worms to be potentially happy.
Still though, I am sure smells would linger.

Even though the cost of a composting toilet that's not too entirely messy in a stupid suburban house as mine would not be worth it, I think I've heard of some communities where the waste sewage is treated, dried and can be used as fertilizer. Of course it's frightening what people put down the toilet (if I want to recall what I tossed down there when I was 5... and the fact many people still flush meds :/

Oh, and yes, I love my dog; yours are pretty adorable too!

@Rosey and Janie: I think it would be somewhat awesome to not waste this "resource" and applaud the other cultures who have the ease of doing this but the convenience factor is no good now and I think we have a level of ick factor to go through here in the states still.

Liz said...

We are working on a biogas system over here. Bathrooms are normal, but the septic tank is designed to allow natural gases to rise and collect in an above-ground tank. Gas is then routed to the KITCHEN (stay with me) to fuel a gas-burning stove. crazy? yes, but very feasible and sustainable. viva la humanure!

persephone said...

@Liz: *jaw drop* I bow down to your efforts and ingenuity! Just curious, my husband and I are curious how many people it takes to fill your gas tank and ensure you are always fine on fuel? Any notes on how to um, optimize fuel level? Wow. Just awesome wow.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

First, your dog is so adorable... she doesn't have to be brilliant! :)

This is something that I wrestle with, too. I don't get the newspaper, and I use cloth bags when shopping, but my parents and grandmother otherwise burn (eek!) their plastic bags (out in the country) so I take all that they want to give me. And I use those for picking up the poo.

I guess what stops me from composting it, too, is the disease factor. I am willing to use dog poo compost on my ornamentals... but my edibles are all mixed in, since I have such a small yard. :( And I keep finding conflicting info about whether or not it really is a big deal for dog poo to be used. *sigh*

(btw, I'm SO glad you stopped by and left a comment so I could visit your blog in return--I'm learning so much here!)

Liz said...

I wish i could give you more sciencey info on the biogas--i am more the supportive partner than the engineer :) It's still in the construction phase, so as of yet we don't know how much quantity or time will be required to "fire it up." the system is typically designed for animal poo--pig/horse/cow. will definitely update my blog when we get her running!