Update April 19, 2011: I’ve recently gotten a few questions about this post, so I thought I’d repost it for those of you who may have missed it. This is such a great idea for an Earth Day project! Let me know if you make one yourself.
Last week I wrote about an environmentally friendly way to dispose of your dog’s poop using a waste digester—the Doggie Dooley or the Staywell Eco Clean. They work like a miniature septic tank. They can also cost a pretty penny and depending on how many dogs you have, may not be able to handle all your poop problems.
Happily you can make your own pet waste digester for dirt cheap. You’ll need:
a large plastic garbage can with a lid hat fits tightly
a drill to make holes in the side of the can
something to cut the bottom out of the can
a hole dug with that shovel
gravel or small rocks
septic tank enzyme available at hardware stores (Septonic, Septo-Bac, Roebic Septic Treatment, Drain Out, Rid-X)
Don’t locate your waste digester anywhere near edible plants. And don’t put one of these too close to water, like a river bank, or anywhere where the water table is high. Waste digesters won’t work properly in very clayey soil and digestive activity stops below 40°F, but picks up again when the weather warms up. If you live in a cool area, try to locate your digester in a sunnier part of your yard. Also, too much chlorine in the water you add to the digester may slow digestive activity.
I recommend reading the whole post to see their good suggestions and the reasons behind them, but here are some of my favorite points.
adopt from a shelter
use pet-friendly deicer on sidewalks
compost dog poop
contain your pets
Topped only perhaps by habitat destruction, cats are the biggest, baddest bird killers of all time. Even wind turbines have got nothing on them. …[D]omestic cats do have an unfair advantage. Unlike wild predators, house cats are always well fed, well rested, and in tip-top fighting shape. They’re also present in more concentrated (and rapidly increasing) numbers than say, the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike.
There are also tons of links to articles and useful websites, so check it out!
Waste digesters are a pretty environmentally friendly way to dispose of dog waste. No plastic bags of poop filling up the landfills! Waste digesters rely on enzymes and moisture to break down the poop, then the biodegraded waste is absorbed by the soil the same way a septic tank works. Environmental impact is small. You will need to add enough water to keep the digester from drying out and, due to anaerobic activity, waste digesters may emit small amounts of carbon dioxide and methane. (It should be minimal, unless you have a humongous herd of Great Danes.)
Don’t locate your waste digester anywhere near edible plants. You also don’t want to locate one of these too close to water, like a river bank, or anywhere where the water table is high. Waste digesters won’t work properly in very clayey soil and digestive activity stops below 40°F, but picks up again when the weather warms up. Too much chlorine in the water you add to the digester may slow digestive activity.
The Doggie Dooley Underground Waste Digesters are easy to install. You dig a whole in your yard away from any edible plants, stick the Doggie Dooley in there according to directions, sprinkle in some enzyme that works as the digester, and you’re good to go. These range in price from $25-$85.
The Staywell Eco Clean is even more environmentally friendly since it’s made from 100% recycled materials. It too works like a small septic tank. The Staywell Eco Clean is installed the same way as the Doggie Dooley and also requires the addition of enzymes to break down the poop. It runs around $35.