Kris, a GREEN Life reader, recently left a comment on a previous post The Green Way to Pick up Doggie Doo-Doo and posed a great question.
“So here is my dilemma that I have yet to find a solutions for: we have pet companions of the feline variety. What to do with the waste? I’ve read that you should not compost it like dog waste because of the possibility of contaminating the soil (toxoplasmosis). Right now, we’re sending it to the landfill because I haven’t found another option. We use BioBags but in a way, it’s kinda pointless since they won’t biodegrade in a landfill. Any ideas?”
That is a great question! First off, cat feces carries toxoplasmosis and has more potential to be dangerous. Dog feces is much more likely to carry E. Coli . You can compost dog feces at home as long as you are not using the compost around plants intended for human consumption. You can use it around your tees, shrubs and flower gardens. A combination of dog feces and straw (or used natural cat litter derived from plants, as long as you remove the cat feces first) will compost if done properly. Just remember keep your dog feces in a separate compost bin and do not use it in your vegetable garden.
The material will need to reach high temperatures in order to kill off parasites. Temperatures of 130 – 170º F for several days are needed to destroy pathogens. You can get a compost thermometer to help you regulate the temperature.
If you have a big back backyard you can also bury the feces along with the eco-bag. It will break down in as little as one month. The hole should be around one foot deep and you can put 3 to 4 inches of feces in the hole. Once again stay clear of vegetable gardens.
You can also consider a Doggie Dooley. I just recently came across this underground waste digester. If anyone has used one of these or knows more about it please leave a comment. I would really like to learn more about it.
“Doggy Dooley digesters install in the ground to provide quick easy cleanup for any lawn. Works like a home septic system by using enzyme and bacteria action to turn pet waste into a ground absorbing liquid that does not harm the environment. Just drop in waste, and add water and digester, and wait for the digester to work. Ideal for most soils except clay.”
For cat owners- Keep in mind that if you use an all-natural plant based cat litter it can be composted. However, you must remove the cat feces before composting and the material should never be placed in vegetable gardens. Always wear gloves and be cautious when handling cat waste.
You should always take extra precautions when handling animal waste and follow city ordinances. Keep animal waste away from storm drains as it can contaminate lakes, streams or marine water.
I hope this helps Kris. Thanks for reading!