Composting Dog Poop & Compostable Bags-2 Easy Methods
Composting Dog Poop & Compostable Bags-2 Easy Methods can be done at home in your backyard with very little effort from you. Which method you choose is up to you, though Method 2 is the best. Or you can use both methods for slightly different results. Both methods are Portable, Efficient, Simple and Fast, compared to other methods I commonly see used online and in backyards.
In some American cities they have community dog waste containers scattered around the city. Anyone can pick up their dog poop with paper and put it in the common bins. Council waste management departments are responsible for collecting and disposing of this waste. I am not aware of any in Australia, though they may exist somewhere.
To my knowledge in Australia, most people use plastic compostable bags to collect their dog waste when they take their dogs for a walk. Then into the council bin it goes when they get home. This at least stops the smell in your council bin but does not resolve the issue of methane production in council tips. And it takes a long time to decompose once they bury it in a huge hole in council waste management centres. It is much faster in smaller quantities composted in your back yard. Council waste is growing every year as the population of dogs and people grows causing increased pressure on council waste centres. The more you can compost at home the better it is for the environment and our council tips.
Composting dog poop simply and easily?
Method 1. DIY Method
Follow these steps
- Find a nice planter pot of your choice that you think will look good in your garden and does not look like an ugly composter. Make sure it is light enough for you to lift it. This way you can easily move it if you want to.
- Drill some extra holes in the base so there are around 4 to 6 holes. Ideally make the holes at least 1 cm in diameter. This is not essential but will reduce the possibility of the holes becoming compacted with soil. And it makes it easier for the worms to move in and out.
- Now put some soil or weeds in the bottom just as a base to begin with.
- Take your doggie bags and cut them open with a pair of scissors (keep these scissors for outside use only)
- Drop the bag into the planter pot. If you want you can tip the poop out of the bag but it is not necessary as the bugs will find it anyway.
- Do this as many times as you want with how every many bags you have. You may want to collect a few before you cut them open. Then cut them open all at once.
- Now you simply cover them with some soil, weeds or grass clippings. Nitrogen rich items are best because they heat up as they break down. Eg. grass clippings.
- If you want to do it daily then cover the bags as you go with whatever you use as a garden cover. I personally love grass clipping but almost any cover will work.
- OR fill the whole planter pot with weed waste, paper waste, and / or worm friendly food waste. Make sure the food waste is at least half way from the top so any covering will smother the odour so as not to attract rats. Ideally this waste is better fermented before putting it into an open pot. But it needs to be covered well to filter the odour as you don’t want to be attracting house flies to your pots. And it must be only worm friendly food waste. Or semi-decomposed waste (that looks like mashed potato) that you may have taken from inside a full compot when you are trying to make extra space for food waste over winter.
- Then place your planter pot anywhere you want in your garden. As long as it is on soil it will attract the garden worms who will break down all the contents including the dog waste. Do not plant near your edible veggies. Plant around your ornamental plants, flowers or trees.
- The plastic takes a bit longer to break down but will eventually disappear over roughly 65 days. That is roughly only 10 weeks. I don’t know of anything that is faster or easier than this method except when used in conjunction with an eco-eze compot in the centre of the planter pot. And that brings me to Number 2 method.
Method 2. DIY Method with an eco-eze Compot Composter
Method 2 for Composting Dog Poop & Compostable Bags is exactly the same as Method 1 except with a eco-eze compot composter in the centre of a planter pot. This allows you to dispose of the dog waste faster inside a Compot with the use of the Soldier Fly Larvae and is actually the best option for disposing of dog waste.
Studies completed on dog faeces undertaken as a thesis for the University of Sheffield, UK 2012 by Salah Attia Jaber, “CANINE FAECES: THE MICROBIOLOGY OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM” showed that “The potential for using fly larvae for the bioremediation of dog faeces was investigated. Black Soldier Fly (BSFL) and Fruit Beetle (FBL) Fly larvae were shown to dramatically improve the physical nature of canine faeces, even after only a short exposure period, giving a bioremediated product which is markedly improved in terms of texture, reduced odour and overall reduced offensiveness.
The bioremediated dog faeces product was also found to be suitable as potting compost when “diluted” with proprietary potting compost. 7) The haemolymph and total body extracts of BSFL and FBL were shown to be antibacterial.”
With Method 2 the plastic compostable bags go around the outside of the ECO-EZE COMPOT in the space between the Compot and the planter pot. And the dog waste goes inside the Compot. The same as if you were setting up the “Above Ground Compost System”
Follow these steps
- Find a nice planter pot that will look good in your garden as if it were an ornament and not a composter. Make sure it is light enough for you to lift so you can move it to a different position if you so desire.
- Position your Compot in the centre (the same as if you were following the Above Ground Composting Method)
- Pack some weed waste or paper waste around the Compot to about ¼ full, leaving plenty of space for compostable bags or more weed and paper waste.
- Get your dog poop bags and cut them to remove the dog poo. Avoid touching the dog poop and use gloves if necessary.
- Empty the dog poop into the Compot for the Soldier Flies to decompose. They will devour any nasty pathogens and turn it into frass or leachate.
- Place the compostable bag outside the pot in the same space you just put weed waste and paper waste.
- Then cover the poop bags with more weed waste or paper waste or both or dirt if you have nothing else. Don’t cover inside the Compot with dirt.
- Ideally make sure the contents are nice and wet, so water with the hose before putting a covering on top.
- If you want to add ALL your kitchen waste to the Compot you can do that now as well.. Or just use it for your dog waste only.
- Lock on the lid and cover everything with grass clipping, leaves, hay, straw or whatever you use in your garden as a garden cover that will allow the pot to breath so it is not too dense.
- Avoid using sugar cane mulch if you have a rat problem in your garden.
- You can cover the contents outside the Compot with dirt if you so desire but do not cover the lid of the Compot with dirt or it can’t breathe and the bugs can’t find the waste or your dog poop.
- All you have to do now is place the planter pot somewhere in your garden under an ornamental tree or plant and “let it be”
- As it reduces in size just keep topping it up and re-covering with grass clippings etc. and water as needed
Should I drill holes around the outside of the Planter Pot?
NO. You do not need to drill holes around the outside of the pot. Many people think this aerates the contents inside. In my experience it dries out the contents and takes longer for the worms and bugs to decompose it. Ideally the contents should be moist or nothing can break it down. It will never get really really wet because excess water drains out through the bottom holes. And it will never overheat like a large compost bay can.
If you find your pot dry and not breaking down then simply wet the contents. If it has rained I would not bother to water the contents as usually the rain is enough.
When do I empty the contents?
The whole idea of using this method is so you don’t have to empty it. This reduces the work involved with composting dog waste or any waste for that matter. Rather than empty it just keep topping it up and moving it round your garden.
By all means empty it if you really want to and if it has mostly turned to soil. You may want to use it to top up a garden bed or nourish a dead spot in your lawn. Just tip the contents onto your garden, spread it around and give it a good watering. The nutrients will spread through the soil instantly feeding your plants.
If some things have not decomposed, put them back inside the planter pot and start filling it up again with all your weed waste, paper waste, food waste, dog waste and doggie bags.
What if it has stopped emptying?
There could be several reasons why the planter pot has stopped emptying.
- The contents have dried out. Simply water it with the hose to resolve this issue and possibly cover it better with grass clippings, ;eaves, straw, etc to stop the air drying it out.
- The soil has become very dense. Worm turn the contents into very dense soil almost like clay. It may need emptying at this point or give the soil a bit of a turn. Emptying will easily resolve this issue as will turning the soil.
- The holes have become compacted with soil. This can occur because the soil is so dense. Ideally drill bigger holes about 1cm in diameter at the beginning when you first set the system up.
- The soil below the pot has become compacted. Again this is due to the soil becoming so compacted. Simply fork up the soil to break it up thus making pathways for the worms to move in and around the soil. Or move it to a new spot.
If you do none of these things it will still work. It just may take a bit longer to fully decompose and empty.
There are always variations to the rule but whatever you do it will usually sort itself out with time. But in my book, 70 days to decompose compastable dog bags is very fast. It will probably take a little longer in colder climates.
If you have lots of dogs and lots of garden waste you might need a few pots. But don’t buy a lot till you have tried one and work out how many you might need. If you use a planter pot in conjunction with a Compot you may not need many at all because the Soldier Flies are so fast and efficient at breaking down doggie doos it will be gone before you can blink.
You could use a bigger pot that does not move and just sits in one place. But be aware it may not be as fast depending on where you place it in the garden and how big it is. The more portable the pot is, the more often you will get a better result because you can move it to suit the climate in your garden. And the mass is less so breaks down quicker giving you a faster result.
Does it work faster in the sun or the shade?
This will vary with every garden depending on whether your garden is a cold garden or a hot garden. The heat from the sun can aid the decomposition process and can hinder the process if it gets too hot as it will dry out the contents. A really cold climate may freeze the contents so nothing will break down till the weather warms up again.
I don’t worry about it and just let it look after itself. The worms will move out if it gets too hot or find a warm spot if it gets too cold. It will never get super hot like a hot compost system so you never really have to worry about killing your worms or the good bacteria in the soil.
If you are using Method 2 with the Compot and your pot is full of Soldier Flies they too will move to a cooler or warmer place if the conditions are not suitable for them. In very cold climates the Soldier Files will hibernate but other bacteria and garden critters will continue to compost the waste unless everything has frozen because you live in the snow. The worms will move to a warm part of the pot or move down into the ground. Either way you don’t need to worry about them. They all look after themselves.
What about the bacteria & pathogens in dog poop?
Pathogens and bacteria that might be harmful to humans are all composted by the worms and the Soldier Flies. Soldier Flies are commonly used to clean up chemically contaminated environments so a little bit of dog poop will not hurt them. And as mentioned above in the Thesis undertaken in Canada, the Soldier Flies actually help turn the dog waste into usable compost to mix with other compost or spread around your garden and water in. Just not in your veggie garden.
Some say it can contaminate our water ways. If dog poop managed to find its way into our waterways it could potentially contaminate the water. But it requires a large amount of poop to cause any harm. However if everyone tossed their dog poop in the waterways it could potentially become a problem.
Can you bury dog poop in the garden?
Absolutely you can if you want to keep digging holes. But don’t bury it around your edible veggies. According to a US report you should dig a hole roughly 15 to 25 cm deep and at least 60 m from any waterways. Who has time to do that? I for one don’t have time to keep digging holes. But if that is what you prefer, then dig holes.
Composting Dog Poop in-ground with an eco-eze Compot Composter
Compositng Dog Poop in-ground with an eco-eze Compot Composter is a super fast way to compost dog waste as long as you attract the Soldier Flies to do the hard work. It will work with worms also but is much slower. The poop needs to be wet and not dry. And ideally compost it without the bio-degradable bags. If the poop is dry all you need to do is add water.
Compost the plastic bags using Method 1 or 2 (as discussed above in this article) as I have found the bags compost too slowly inside a Compot. But dog waste inside a Compot in the ground will decompose super fast with the Soldier Fly Larvae and produce a safe result that smells and looks like perfect compost.
How else can I compost dog poop?
There are several other methods of composting dog waste but to me these two methods are the fastest, easiest methods I have ever tried. And using the Compot directly in the garden is a third easy method for composting animal waste. Both Method 2 and the Compot in the ground are the best when using Soldier Flies.
If you prefer the method you are doing and it works for you then just keep doing that. It’s all good as long as we are not tossing it in the river or sending it off to council tips where it becomes a methane problem along with all our other waste. Whatever you can compost in your backyard helps the environment and reduces methane production in council tips. And reduces the cost to council (and us) to dispose of all our waste. Just find a method that works for you.
Here is an interesting article why wild animal scat is safe but our pet dog waste is not.
And this is another study you might be interested in.