Many of us can probably agree that dog poop is gross. What we choose to do about it is another matter.
In my opinion, I believe dog owners should be responsible for their pets’ waste and remove it. Who enjoys going to the dog park and stepping in a moist pile of poo that should have been picked up by the dog’s owner?
The problem we have at the Leuda May Historic Apartments is that it is not convenient to bag and drop off our dogs’ doo doo at the moment it is squeezed out. (Unlike at the dog park — those people have no excuse!) It requires walking all the way around the apartment to the garbage drop off and many of us are in a rush in the morning. So, we decide to let it lie and pick it up later.
But the problem is that not everyone picks it up later.
Then it starts to get hot outside and the crap heats up. It smells AWFUL. Our landlords have threatened to charge dog owners more in rent and use that money to hire a company to come in and pick up after us. Not fun either.
My solution, which will hopefully allow us to remove the poo conveniently and inexpensively, is to compost it. As it turns out, composting dog poop is not that hard to do. It’s a viable option for people with many dogs, not just those with one or two. Annnnd it turns “waste” into something beneficial.
There are products on the market designed to do this easily, like this one or this one. Those aren’t a great choice for us at the Leuda because we have more than 10 large dogs running around dropping loads. We also don’t have a lot of money to spend. So, I made my own after looking over this helpful guide.
Step One: Procure a trash can.
First, I posted online that I needed a trash can without wheels. I put this out to the Community Cultivators group as well as Beg, Borrow, Trade Fort Worth page on Facebook. Both have been super helpful in obtaining materials for trade or free.
I got a couple responses and ended up getting this trash can from a wonderful couple who lived relatively close by. It saved me from having to buy one (the gas I spent was cheaper than the cost of a new one) and they were planning on getting rid of it in any case. It’s actually two trash cans that are stuck together and sort of falling apart. Perfectly fine for what I needed it for, though.
Step Two: Cut out the bottom part.
One of my wonderful neighbors who has lots of tools and know-how used a jig saw to cut out the bottom. Basically, the trash can will serve as a lining for my hole and keep the sides from caving in.
It took me two days to do this, because I didn’t want to do it all in one go. However, it wasn’t too difficult because the soil here was soft albeit rocky. It helped that it had rained recently, I think.
The location of the hole is important. I choose this spot because it was away from windows, which are often open in the summertime. Even though it shouldn’t smell once the decomposition process is going, it could have a slight odor at times when a large amount of new poo is added. It might also bother individuals sensitive to the thought that fecal matter is nearby. Better to be respectful with the location.
Also, this spot is easy for residents in any of the buildings to access.
Step Four: Put the altered trash can into the hole and begin composting.
This process requires special enzymes/bacteria to break down the poop quickly. It comes in a powder form and is easy to sprinkle on or mix with water and pour in. This is the kind we purchased (except I found a good deal on a 3 pound tub on Ebay). There is also this. It doesn’t have to be specific to dog poop composting. Bacteria for septic tanks will work just as well. I just had a harder time finding those online.
The recommended dosage for a premade dog composter is 1 tablespoon of powder each week for up to two large dogs. So, I will be putting in about 5 tablespoons of powder and making sure the hole is kept damp to maximize composting.
This won’t be too hard to do since I keep a bucket in my sink for gray water collection (and coffee grounds from the French press we use). I’ll start dumping some of this water onto the dog poop composter instead of just the large compost pile, which I’m also trying to keep moist.
The power arrived in the mail late last week. So, I’ve already begun scooping the old poop into the hole, and residents can begin scooping their dogs’ poop to add in on a regular basis. I’m adding the old poop in slowly so as not to overwhelm the new system, especially since it’s cold and will compost less quickly than if it were warmer.
I’m hoping for lots of participation and much success with this project. In any case, I’ll keep everyone posted.