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The eco-scoop on dog poop
By Jeanette Brizendine
For The Mirror
If you’ve got pets, you’ve got poop.
Are there eco-friendly ways to dispose of it? Yes, but the answers may surprise you. Here’s our quick list of dos and don’ts for pet waste disposal.
• Throw it away. This is probably the most common option. Double-bag your pet’s wastes if you can. This limits the mess during garbage collection.
• Flush it. To prevent plumbing problems, be careful not to flush any debris such as rocks and sticks that may be accidently picked up with the waste. Think twice if you’re on a septic system, though. Some aren’t equipped to handle the high pollutant load of pet waste.
• Bury it. Pet waste can be buried (at least one foot deep) and covered in your yard. Dig holes away from food-growing and children’s play areas. Pet waste bacteria may be unsafe for humans.
• Compost it with your food scraps. Do not place pet waste in a regular compost pile or in your yard debris cart. Remember, pet waste bacteria may be harmful to humans. Pet waste can be composted separately using special enzymes similar to those used in septic tanks. Search online for “pet waste digester” to either purchase a digester or get directions to make one.
• Let it rot on your lawn (or someone else’s). Not only is this bad for the environment, but it is against the law (Federal Way Revised City Code 16.50.020). When it rains, pet waste can carry diseases and bacteria through the storm drains into our lakes, streams and Puget Sound.
• Use a biodegradable bag. Biodegradable bags are a wonderful option for food scraps that go in your yard waste cart or home compost bin, but not for anything that goes to a landfill. Landfills limit exposure to air and water, two necessary conditions for items to properly compost. Using biodegradable bags for pet waste supports the “alternatives to plastics” industry, but that’s about it.
Jeanette Brizendine is the Recycling Manager for the City of Federal Way. She can be reached at 253.835.2771 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cityoffederalway.com/recycling