How much pet waste goes to the landfill every year in the U.S.?
- Over 20 billion pounds of dog waste goes to the landfill every year in the U.S., that not including the millions of tiny plastic waste bags that go with it.
- Over 10 billion pounds of cat waste goes to the landfill every year, not to mention the billions of pounds of cat litter that it’s mixed in.
Why on earth are we throwing all this out?!?
So let’s start with – Why is it so bad that all this poop is going to the landfill?
Methane from the landfill, known as “landfill gas” is the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States. Such high levels of methane is terrible for the environment as it traps in heat within our atmosphere and is a major contributor for climate change.
Also think about it, for the few seconds it takes to pick up a poopie with a plastic dog waste bag, it will take 1,000 years for the bag to break down.
And not only does cat litter take up a huge amount of space in our trash cans, the common clay and crystal litters are made through the process of strip mining, which is known to cause erosion, flooding, deforestation, and loss of habitat.
Can we just throw pet waste into the toilet?
Well, that’s not such a great idea. Many wastewater treatment plants are already approaching their maximum capacity due to the increased human population in their area, requiring increasing amounts of maintenance and repairs to keep everything running properly. Although the plant’s purpose is to filter and disinfectant the soiled water that comes in, occasionally their sewers will release raw sewage or an “overflow” straight into our water streams, or out of manholes onto city streets, or even worse – back up into ones’ house. It’s bad enough when human sewage contaminates our waters, but dog and cat waste brings a whole other group of potential pathogens and diseases. Also keep in mind that this runoff from sewage treatment plants plays a big part in the red tides that are quickly becoming a huge environmental disaster.
Can’t we just leave the pet waste on the ground?
Besides the fact that your yard will smell and your neighbors may hate you, dog waste is really not great in it’s raw form. You might be thinking but poop is natural, so why can’t it stay out in nature? Well that may have been true back when there was 2 dogs for every acre of land, but in modern society, it can be upwards of 125 dogs per acre. And with the average size pile of dog poo taking 9 weeks to break down, there is only so much that the small amount of ground can take before the grass is killed off, the soil becomes compacted, and the surrounding area becomes riddled with pathogens.
And if that section of land is anywhere near a water source, rain can cause poo runoff to enter our local lakes and rivers. Besides bacterial contamination, pet waste sitting in water consumes the oxygen and releases ammonia, which then in turn harm the fish that reside there.
So What Can We Do?
COMPOST! The practice of composting cow manure has been around as long as 10,000 years and Pet Poo Skiddoo has figured out a way to safely and effectively compost dog and cat waste as well. Instead of trying to treat pet waste like a dirty secret that we just toss into the trash, never to be seen again, let’s put the waste to good use! Turn the waste into a resource, a resource that can replenish the earth’s soil and give back to mother nature.
Even if pet waste composting is not offered in your area (yet), start buying compostable dog waste bags and compostable cat litter – support the movement!