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DIY Pet Waste Composter

American dogs and cats create 10 million tons of waste a year, and no one knows where it’s going.

Most of our pets’ poop either winds up in a landfill purgatory, where it’s embalmed practically forever in plastic bags, or sits on the ground until the next rainstorm washes it into the sewer where it can drift on down to rivers and beaches. You can compost the poop—just don’t use it with your vegetable garden, because the compost doesn’t heat up enough to kill pathogens such as E. coli., which could contaminate your homegrown produce and land up in your (very unhappy) belly.

If you have room in your backyard, you can bury an old garbage bin (note: far away from your vegetable garden) to use as a pet-waste composter.

dog waste composter

 

 

 

 

Here's a step-by-step description:

  1. Take and old garbage can and drill a dozen or so holes in the side. 
  2. Cut out the bottom (A keyhole saw works great for this.)
  3. Dig a hole in the ground, deep enough for the garbage can.
  4. Toss some rocks or gravel in the hole for drainage and position the garbage can so it's a little higher than the soil level.
  5. Place the lid on top (you might want to paint it with something like Dog Waste Composter.)
  6. When you scoop some poop, put it in the hole and sprinkle in some septic starter (available at hardware stores) and add some water.
According to the www.cityfarmer.org web site, "Within 48 hours, the septic tank starter, (which is non-caustic and promotes natural bacterial growth) will have begun its work and you can add more dog doo. You can then begin to add it daily. This waste biodegrades and flows into the subsoil."
While burying a garbage can to compost dog waste might seem like overkill if you live near the woods or close to a patch of blackberry bushes, but when you think about it, why not contain the waste in a more environmentally-friendly manner?
Credit: By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and 
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul

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sillygirl on Jul 24, 2008:

This is a great idea! My neighbors just leave their poop hanging in a bag on the fence (if it wasn't right by the street's dumpster it would be totally disgusting. I wonder if you can add grass clippings and other organic waste... If anyone tries this (or has already done something like it) let me know how the smell factor is


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