Build Your Own Pet Waste Digester

By The Bark, September 2011, Updated August 2019
Build your own Pet Waste Digester

As a dog person the fate of dog waste is something that’s probably never very far from your thoughts especially when picking up dog poop in the yard. Making an in-ground pet waste digester or a dog poop processor is a pretty easy weekend project. These DIY dog waste composters divert dog waste from landfills and instead kept in your own backyard, only in an enviornmently friendly way. They work similarly to a home septic system by converting the waste to liquid which can escape through the subsoil.

Instructions for Making a DIY Dog Poop Disposal System

1. Take an old plastic garbage can and drill a dozen or so holes in the sides.
2. Cut out the bottom. (A keyhole saw works great for this.)
3. Dig a hole deep enough for the garbage can.
4. Toss some rocks or gravel in the hole for drainage and position the garbage can so it’s a little above ground level.
5. Place the lid on top. (You might want to paint something like “Dog Waste Composter” across the lid.)
6. Start scooping.

When you add poop to the bin, sprinkle in some septic starter (available at hardware stores) and add some water.

“Within 48 hours, the septic-tank starter (which is noncaustic and promotes natural bacterial growth) will have begun its work and you can add more dog doo,” explains Michael Levenston, executive director of the City Farmer program in Vancouver, Canada, from which these instructions are adapted. “You can then begin to add it daily. This waste biodegrades and flows into the subsoil.” (Do NOT use composted dog waste in your garden.)


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While burying a garbage can to compost dog waste might seem like overkill if you live near the woods or close to a patch bushes, dealing with dog waste in an environmentally friendly manner is always a good thing.

By the way, if you know someone who lives in a city, the website is loaded with all kinds of helpful urban agriculture tips.