Pet waste disposal presents the least attractive side of pet ownership. In fact, according to Natural Dog Magazine, there are 77 million dogs in the United States, and each produces an average of 274 pounds of waste every year. Living with four dogs, I wanted to find a simple solution that will keep my garden smelling clean without filling my outdoor garbage can with the stench of pooh. The solution combined two simple principals. I chose biodegradable dog bags for picking up the pet waste, then threw it away into a homemade pet waste disposer I built in my backyard following these steps.
Step 1: What You’ll Need
At your home improvement store, buy a 20 to 50 gallon trash can with a locking lid, a bag of gravel, septic tank enzymes and baking soda. To build the pet waste disposer you’ll also need an electric drill with a 1/4 bit and a shovel and measuring tape.
Step 2: Choosing a Location
Find an out-of-the-way spot in your garden to install the pet waste disposer. Choose a spot that children or playing pets will not run into, and one that will not be close to any sitting areas in the garden.
Step 3: Digging
Place the trash can lid on the ground and mark its diameter. If the area is grassy, you can spray paint around the lid to mark the side of the whole you’ll need to dig. If the bottom of the trash can is wider than the lid (very rare), be sure to measure that diameter instead. Measure the depth of the can and dig a hole large and deep enough to fit accommodate.
Step 4: Burying the Container
Drill holes at the bottom of the can to imitate a sieve. This will allow the can to drain into the ground after the pet waste is decomposed. Place the trash can in the hole with only the lid and locks (snaps) protruding above ground. The can should fit in snugly, so compact the surrounding area until the hole is filled entirely and the pet waste disposer is buried fast.
Step 5: Prep the Waste Disposer
Pour the gravel into the bottom of the buried pet waste disposer. Your composter is now ready for use. Collect pet waste in your yard using biodegradable dog bags, then sprinkle with septic tank enzymes. Keep the lid firmly closed and re-sprinkle enzymes once a week.
Step 6: Odor Control
Pour baking soda into the pet waste disposer periodically to eliminate unpleasant odors. You can also use pulverized lime for a more sanitized scent.
Natural Dog Magazine, Summer 2010, Vol 41, No 8, p. 26.