If you’re the owner of a large dog, like me, you know that cleaning up after your pet can be a pretty awful but necessary chore. Companies have created pooper-scoopers, eco-friendly waste bags and other products to make the job easier, more sanitary, and more environmentally friendly; however, the task stinks.
With my dogs, they have a designated area in my fenced backyard that they use when nature calls. Note, I didn’t designate the area – they did! As a pet owner, I know its my responsibility to clean up after them whether they eliminate in my backyard or when they are out on a walk. Not only is this a good idea to protect the dogs health but my families and neighbors health as well as dog feces harbor a variety of harmful bacteria and viruses. Since the bacteria and viruses can linger in the soil, they are easily transmitted via contact by a dog or human into the home.
Recently, I had been really busy with work and it was a few days before I was able to get out back and remove their droppings. To my surprise, and horror – I ended up almost filling a bag about half way to the top. The shear weight of the bag was amazing. I laughingly thought, ‘now if I could sell this by the pound I’d be in good shape!’ Then, I started thinking that there must be a better way to dispose of this pet waste in a more environmentally friendly way. Instead of using a shopping bag, albeit a eco-friendly one, and then sending the “package” off to the dump, was there a way to compost it?
After a little research, I found that you can indeed compost pet waste. The name of the particular product I stumbled upon gave me pause, the Pet Poo Converter What a great name. Apparently the Poo Converter can compost, on average, the droppings of two medium sized dogs. They quantify this statement by saying the amount the converter can handle varies depending on the diet, exercise, age and breed of your dog. As they say on their site, “think Chihuahua vs. Great Dane.” Oh my.
By this point, I started thinking that I either one, had too much time on my hands to be researching this, or two, had stumbled onto a really cool eco-friendly product but it was going to involve more thinking about my dogs waste then I may actually want to do. I decided to go with the idea that this could be a really great product and not over-think the details!
So, the waste converter is actually a worm farm. The main structure is a plastic box. You simply place the dog waste in the top portion of the composter with some worms and they work their magic. As the worms eat the bacteria in the decomposing pet waste, they excrete their own waste, sometimes called compost tea, or liquid manure. This waste is a liquid organic fertilizer that is rich in nutrients.
Apparently there is no odor to worry about and the liquid manures high concentration can be mixed with water and used in the garden to fertilize plants.
As a side note, you can use one of these converters for kitchen scraps too, but you either need to use it for pet waste or kitchen waste. Apparently the worms can’t handle a mixed diet. Who knew?
So, while there’s no chemicals used, there is a cost involved to get started. You’d need to invest about two-hundred dollars to obtain the converter and one batch of the red worms.
I’m still weighing the options on this one as far as cost versus benefit. I may have my answer soon though, the dogs just barked to go out again.