Tuesday, September 30, 2008
On my regular walks with Jack (pictured) I am never certain whether it is better for the environment for me to encourage him to do his business deep in the woods or in some ground cover and leave it there to fertilize and spare the space in a landfill or if I should always pick it up and dispose. 90% of the time, I do pick up and dispose. The receptacles provided by my neighborhood say that the bags are biodegradable but... well... what does that mean anyway? How so? Luckily, I am not alone in this dilemma and Slate's Green Lantern has addressed the issue.
In a nutshell, he says that it is important to always pick up and properly dispose of doggie waste because it contains "a bacteria that can contaminate local waterways if it washes from your lawn into storm drains. In large enough quantities, this pollution can remove oxygen from streams and rivers and contribute to algal blooms, threatening marine life."
Okay. I'm convinced. But what about after you have picked up the waste? The lantern suggests flushing it down the toilet, burying it at least a foot deep in the ground, or creating a composter far away from any fruit or vegetable gardens. He also suggests transporting with bags or boxes made from bio matter (hopefully the biodegradable bags in my community count) but what if these are unrealistic options due to the place of residence? I can't picture folks getting on an elevator in their apartment building with their stinky bags to flush and then, well, throwing the bags out anyway. Ugh.
It gets even more complicated for cat owners and I'm not certain this settles the matter for me. Check out the Lanterns post here.