Monday, January 21, 2008

Go Green in 2008 ~ Let's Talk About Poo

Animal poo, that is. We have three little critters running around here who produce an inordinate amount of the stuff. Here's how we manage it:

For the two cats, we use Swheat Scoop Natural Wheat litter

I was going to show you the stuff "in use," but I didn't want to be forever know as the crazy lady who posted a picture of her cat box online. You'll just have to *believe* my analysis of its performance. It does clump - most similar to the Arm&Hammer clumping litter (i.e. not hard little balls like some other brands, but good enough to get it out of the box). It does seem to control odor pretty well in the box. Cleaning the waste out of the box, however, I notice the smell more than I did with clay litters. I love that it is flushable - I just scoop it into an old dustpan just for this purpose and flush. No residue in the toilet. I can go about 1 1/2 weeks before I need to change the whole cat box. It is safer for the cats and no more clay dust. Oh, and they sell it at Target, so totally easy to find.

We have a pooper scooper to clean up Chuy's messes

(I think it's funny to use something called the "Big Bucket" for a dog that it is hard to find where he even went sometimes)

which is emptied into our outside trash can. Way more convenient than using bags. Chuy is not much of a walker, but we do have small bags to take with us on walks. He also eats a natural dog food. I considered the BARF diet for him, but he is just so tiny, I don't fee comfortable with the vitamin and supplement side of things. I'll leave that to the experts.

Treehugger has a good write up about going green with pet care.

I have to add a note, though, regarding biodegradable pet bags. It seems this has become the norm for pet waste bags, so I can't say "don't waste your money." But, keeping in mind the idea I put out in an earlier post that things don't really degrade in a landfill, the compostable poop bags will be there pretty much the same amount of time as the plastic ones. I'm not sure we want them degrade, really, in that environment. Pet waste is really yucky stuff (indicative of what our little furry friends are fed, I suppose). Waste that is not bagged in a landfill could contribute to groundwater contamination. This is why it is important as well to clean up waste left outdoors by any domestic animal.

Additionally, though it is assumed that compostable products most likely decompose naturally ( I assume this happens as well - not being a total naysayer here), there has been limited research as to how they degrade in a non-composting environment. That is, for compostable items (bags, dinnerware, etc.) that are landfilled or left out in the open and not put in a compost pile, are all the products released safe for the environment? There is a benefit to a compost pile that the micro-organisms use the intermediary "bad" compounds that are produced. If an item is left to degrade on its own, what happens to those by-products?

Finally, unless your waste hauler says otherwise, they probably don't want your biodegradable pet waste bags to be included with green or food waste collected for compost.


Anonymous said...

Good for you for all that you are doing!
Check out Dr.Harvey's at for Chuy. There you will find the best all natural foods available, without worry of pesticides or pet grade ingredients. We think it's is the best there is in natural dog nutritrion. You do not have to go completely raw, you can cook your protein if you wish,but can add your own protein source so that you can control the protein and fat, which is so important and have a fresh meal for your tiny guy.
Keep up the good work and all the great suggestions.

Kathy said...

I've used that littler before but found it stuck to the bottom of the pan. It helped if I sprayed it with a little oil before filling the box. I did use Yesterday's News ( and loved it. No real urine order and very easy to scoop. :)

Carrie said...

Ahh.. something I hadn't considered yet. We have a cat. Hmm.

Your post reminded me of some friends of ours who bagged each individual "decomposable" diaper in its own little plastic bag and only then threw it away. I couldn't believe the irony... although now I know it won't decompose anyway so oh well, I suppose.