I’ve been banging on about it for a while now and I finally did it – I made a dog poo composter. It was surprisingly easy!
But as a buddy of mine asked, why bother?
Now that we have a back yard, the dogs tend to poop freely and there’s nothing worse than stepping in a fresh pile of dog poop – just ask anyone that’s witnessed me step in one and the string of colourful words that come out of my mouth! So the poop has to be picked up.
One option is to pop it into the bin, but when dog poo ends up in landfill it doesn’t actually decompose, it just gets buried by more rubbish and essentially becomes mummified. This option also calls for the use of plastic bags, which to me seems like a waste of resources, even if they’re made from natural fibers like cornstarch. Prior to having a back yard we were using on average, two plastic poop bags a day, or 730 a year! All of which were going to landfill.
According to Bokashi Composting Australia, there are over 4 million dogs in Australia, each of which produce up to 100kg of poop annually – that’s a lot of poop and a lot of plastic!
Instead, composting the poop returns carbon and nutrients to the soil and reduces landfill and all the detriments that come with it.
How to Make a Dog Poop Composter
What you need:
- Bucket and lid – choose your bucket depending on the size and number of poops you’ll be picking up.
- Grinder or saw
- Rocks or pebbles
- Compost starter/bokashi mix
- Optional – saw dust, compost/leaves
- Get an old bucket with a lid – an appropriate size to the amount of dog poop you will be putting in there, i.e. if you have a German Shepherd get a big bucket. We have two Jack Russells so I just got an old 20L bucket that we had previously used to put dirty cloth nappies in – I would say it is a medium in size.
- Dig a hole in the ground, big enough so that the bucket will sit at least 3/4 of the way in, and preferably somewhere shady – you don’t want to cook the poop in summer!
- Drill holes in the bucket, starting at halfway down, all the way around and to the bottom. This will allow for worms and microorganisms to work their way through the waste.
- Cut the bottom off the bucket – we used a grinder but you could use a saw.
- Place the bucket into the hole, making sure the holes in the sides are deep in the dirt – this ensures smells stay in the ground. Fill in around the bucket with the dirt you took out of the hole.
- I placed some pebbles in the bottom to help drain any liquid, then a layer of dry, semi-composted leaves and a handful of bokashi mix to get it started. I didn’t have any at the time, but you could also add some sawdust and a little bit of compost from your regular bin. You could also use a pet poo starter, like Ensopet, instead of the bokashi mix.
- Every time you pop a poop in, sprinkle a handful of bokashi mix over the top.
- Keep the lid on to stop smells and that’s it! It’s that simple!
- If the bucket fills up, you could pull it out, leaving the waste behind and fill it in with dirt. Or, you can also use the humus on the garden, just make sure you don’t put it on any edible plants to avoid spreading pathogens.
- We use the metal pooper scooper in the photos to pop the poop into the hole and on our walks we use cornstarch bags that are home compostable. You could use a shovel, tongs etc. to pick up the poop
***.UPDATE – the last summer we had a fly infestation and unfortunately had to stop using the composter during the warmer months***