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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Man's Best Friend - Can We be Zero Waste With Our Pooch?

Exciting news from our home... We got a puppy!  Our sweet old cat passed away some weeks back.   Our house had a sad emptiness in it.  We've talked about adding a dog to our family for a long time, and decided it was time.   Meet Onyx - our new puppy!

In an effort to keep our dog in line with our Zero Waste options, we have made the following decisions.
1.  Purchase a used crate on Craigslist to crate train her.
2.  Purchase food in bulk so we are minimizing packaging for waste.  
3.  Do not go crazy buying every puppy related toy / bed / gadget for her.   We got two toys for her, both chew toys because she is a puppy and needs to chew right now.  We looked for toys that would endure and not just fall apart and cause us to buy her more toys.
4.  I will research making out own pet treats when she is a bit older.

The lowdown on doggie doo-doo.  The poop is one area where we will research and try to find the best solution for being pet owners.  Pet waste needs to be dealt with.  You can't just take your dog to a public (or private!) place and let them do their business and leave it.  Pet feces has bacteria, microbes and possible viruses that if left untended can end up in our ground water.  YUCK!

So, in my quick and dirty research I have found a few options for handling pet waste.

Option #1.  Bag it and dispose of it in the garbage can.  I know from my research that plastic bags that end up in the landfill can sit there for 1,000 years - they just don't decompose easily.  BUT, there are bags you can get that are plant based and bio-degradable.

Option #2  An At home pet poop composter.  There are compost bins specifically suited for handling dog poop.   We are currently researching this, and will get back to you on our findings.   Here is one article on how to make your own.  

Option #3  In the future there may be large scale digesters for handling dog poop.   Recology in San Francisco has been toying with this idea since 2006, but thus far has not launched a pilot program.  The thought is to use the methane generated by the poop into power.  I hope this gets off the ground.

Option #4  Flush it.  Some people suggest flushing the poop along with human waste.  It seems to me like this would waste a bunch of water, and eventually waste from the waste water treatment ends up back at the landfill... so this doesn't sound like a great solution to me. 

We will let you know what else we learn along the way!