Who uses compost bags when they clean up after their dogs?
I’ve been reading a lot of different perspectives on whether you should be using compostable dog poop bags when you clean up after your favorite pup, and I can’t come up with an answer that is the clear winner for reducing our waste and Carbon (ahem, I mean methane) emissions. Some people argue that you should just use standard plastic bags, while others believe that choosing compostable bags is better because it will ultimately break down (think saving marine wildlife). Not one source can give me a straight answer.
I recently read an article by livescience.com saying that anything put into a landfill that can compost will essentially turn into methane if not given the ideal compost conditions, and that gas is ultimately worse for the greenhouse gas emissions than carbon dioxide. This happens when a compost system is not in place for organic matter. The same site put the amount of dog poop created in America into perspective. There are 83 million pet dogs producing around 10.6 million tons of poop every year in America! Canada obviously has much less. Regardless, there must be another way to dispose of all that dog poop.
I have read that people flush dog poop, but in the same breath, many municipalities don’t have the facilities in place to handle dog and (more problematic) cat poop that goes through the sewage system. So, for those who are collecting that crap in origami style newspaper bags, it must eventually be put it in plastic bags. Seems like a waste of time.
Some people even go as far as purchasing dog poop collection containers that are dug into the ground some 5 feet deep. With the drop of some special tablets and water, apparently the feces will break down. Keep in mind that dog poop shouldn’t be buried anywhere near food gardens, so you need a large space to put all your dog's waste away from any gardens.
If you input the word dog poop in the “Put Waste in its Place” Halton website or app, it tells us to throw it in the trash for garbage curbside pickup. So, that's the official answer around this region. I called their hotline on January 30th, 2020 and I was told that all poop should be put in the garbage because of the reasons that I have learned already. Dog and cat poop can contaminate the compost system, and no one wants composted dog poop in their vegetable garden. The woman kindly let me know that yes, many eco conscious dog lovers spend the extra few dollars to buy compostable dog bags (that’s been me for almost 4 years since I got my pup). However, the methane problem remains. Is it really all that better? I’ll leave that to you to decide for yourself and I’d love to know your perspective.
Many low wasters are advocating that a valuable way to address the climate crisis is to speak up to your local waste management facility about understanding and advocating for better waste removal strategies. Perhaps if enough people speak up about the amount of dog waste that is created, then a better solution will become available sooner rather than later.
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