It’s a wonderful thing that most dog owners are now clearing up after their fur babies. The question is: what to do with it? This is an area where one size does not fit all and urban and rural environments differ.
In cities, the norm is to pick it up in a plastic doggy bag and plonk it in a special dog waste bin or plain old litter bin. Or just take it home and put it in the trash, double-bagged.
Sticking with the bin option, let’s be clear, this means your dog waste is going to landfill. It’s considered hazardous and councils are not going to trawl through litter bins to find these bags of brown gold. So poo and bag will sit underground for many dog years and human years, without oxygen and definitely not decomposing. Debate rages around whether it’s worth using compostable bags but, at some point, landfill conditions may change and we might as well give poop a chance with a non-plastic bag.
Unlikely to become the go-to option for the mass market, there are wormeries and waste-specific compost bins out there that may be worth exploring if you want to avoid landfill.
One thing that’s absolutely clear, we contacted Thames Water and they said under no circumstances is it to go down the loo. Dog excrement can be highly toxic and should not enter the water cycle – plus those bags are not going to do the fatbergs any favours.
Animal waste (bagged or otherwise) must not be put down toilets.
says Thames Water.
The countryside is a different matter and the use of bags at all is controversial. There’s badger, fox and other carnivores’ poop all over the countryside so the least worst option would be to scoop the dog mess and chuck it under a hedge. Or flick it into the long grass. Others suggest burying it. Basically, get it off the path and avoid the bag-bin-landfill route.
The absolute no-no is to put it in a plastic bag and hang it from a tree like a ghastly bauble. A curiously common sight in the countryside, we’re pretty sure it can’t all be explained away by dog walkers on circular routes who will ‘pick it up on the way home’. Just how long is that walk? It’s been 2 months already and it’s still hanging there! [see picture above].
It seems the ubiquitous use of dog poo bags may need revising. In towns, absolutely; in the countryside, a scoop or a flick is best.