Dog Poo Compost Systems Australia - Turning Poop Into Fertile Soil
Our #1 Pick
The Best Value for Money
EnsoPet Pet Waste Composter
Yikes. Dog poop. The subject most of us would like to elegantly avoid, but unfortunately, that’s not possible.
Our canine companions need to go number two no matter what and we need to deal with it. But are plastic baggies the best solution?
Probably not. Today, we talk about the possibility of dog poo compost as a solution to that problem.
A Guide To Dog Poo Disposal
Dog poop is a problem everywhere, but in Australia, it might be more obvious than elsewhere. Considering that 40% of households in Australia include at least 1 dog (1), and that a medium-sized dog can produce more than 100 kilograms of poop each year (2), one can easily see that this quickly adds up to lots and lots of waste.
So what happens with all that poop? In the worst case, dog owners will leave it lying around on the street. This is the worst possible scenario since dog poop can contain a variety of pathogens that can keep spreading throughout our environment when the poop is washed away with water, for example. Picking the poop up and throwing it in the dog poo bin (if available) or a regular trash bin is the better option, but still not ideal.
What would be even better is to find a way to deal with all this poop without the need to pack it away or transport it. Well, it is possible, at least while you are at home - by composting the poop.
How To Compost Dog Poop
If you are an eco-conscious pet parent you’ll be glad to learn that yes, it is achievable to compost what your dog leaves behind (and most other pets for that matter). However, the matter might be a bit more complicated than tossing the poop into your garden compost pile. There are a couple of precautions you should be aware of, but first - let’s consider the options you have when it comes to composting dog poop.
If you’ve ever dealt with composting anything, you might not be surprised that there are a couple of options you can choose from. Composting really is a science on its own.
The Good Old Compost Bin
The first option to consider is simply setting up a compost bin. What you’ll want to do is set up a bin (or simply a pile) in your yard where you’ll put the dog poo together with grass clippings, sawdust, and similar materials. Pretty much any sort of organic waste needs to be added - but you want to achieve a balance between ‘green’ (fresh grass clippings, food scraps, dog poo) and ‘brown’ (dry leaves, sawdust and the like) materials. This method is also called open-air composting or hot composting. For the process to work, your compost pile will also need enough water and enough air. To get the pile oxygenated enough, you might need to turn it from time to time. The green materials provide nitrogen and the brown materials provide carbon. In the process, the pile heats up and it starts decomposing without creating unpleasant smells.
Bokashi is a method of composting that has become extremely popular in recent years. This method involves an anaerobic process. That means you want to keep the air out of your composting bin, as opposed to the traditional composting method where you need to ensure there is enough air in the pile. In effect, bokashi is not compost - it is a fermentation process (that is the meaning of the word bokashi in Japanese).
The bokashi method involves putting your organic waste in an air-tight container and sprinkling a Bokashi mix on top (which is usually made of wheat bran, sawdust, rice husks and the like combined with beneficial microorganisms that accelerate the process. The Bokashi process is fast and easy and there are no unpleasant smells which is why it's gaining in popularity quickly. However, the final product needs to be buried in the soil in order to finalise the composting process.
Now, the Bokashi method is often used in apartments, but you probably won’t want to do that with your dog’s poop. However, there are solutions based on the same principle designed to deal with pet waste in your yard (see EnsoPet below).
Another very popular method for composting, in general, is letting the worms help you. In this process, one establishes a colony of various species of earthworms that help break down the organic waste. It’s what naturally happens in the soil, really, only accelerated.
Worm composting is probably the oldest DIY method for composting dog poop. There are a couple of ways to set up a worm farm.
The most ‘lazy’ approach is taking a bucket with the bottom cut out or a large PVC pipe and digging it into your garden. This is where you will put your dog poop.
If you have naturally rich and moist soil, you might want to just add dog poop and a source of carbon (like old chopped up cardboard, sawdust, or dry leaves) and wait for the worms to show up. The more certain way is to get some worms and put them in there. As long as you keep adding poop and brown material, the worms will keep munching on it. In the process, the volume of the dog poo gets reduced as it turns into worm compost so it would take a lot of time for your bucket to fill up.
PRO TIP: It is often possible to find the worms you need in gardening or composting-enthusiast groups, so make sure you check them out.
If you don’t have a suitable space for this, don’t worry - it is also possible to create an enclosed worm farm - which basically looks just like a trash bin. It is even possible to buy a complete worm farm system. All you need in that case is a small outdoor area for the bin and you can start using it.
Using The Poo Compost
So what should you do with all this compost once your doggies doo is broken down? The obvious answer would be to use it in your garden or otherwise for indoor or balcony plants. However, there is one issue with dog compost that is often mentioned: Certain parasites can survive the composting process.
For this reason, it is not recommended to use pet poo compost for growing anything you eat, including seedlings and your veggie patch, for example. For the same reason, it is usually recommended to compost your dog poop separately from your regular compost.
On the other hand, some experts say that the danger from pathogens in dog poo compost is simply no that great:
“The fact is, if there were any pathogens, they are suited to living inside humans or dogs, and once you put those pathogens in the compost, unless there are masses of them, they will probably just die.” - - Leigh Ackland, Director of the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University in Melbourne for AKC
Still, there is no way to be completely certain. The safest solution is to simply not use the compost too close to anything you will eat and keep it away from areas where children play. That does not mean the compost is unusable, though. It’s perfectly fine (and beneficial) for flower patches, decorative plants of any sort, and all sorts of trees - even fruit-bearing trees.
Best Dog Poop Disposal System Australia 2021: Our Top Picks
As you have seen, composting pet poo is not only possible, but also fairly easy to do as long as you have the space. However, we know that not everyone is inclined towards DIY. Luckily, there are plenty of ready-made solutions to help you deal with your pet’s excrements.
Below are our top picks for the best dog poop compost bin in Australia.
What sets this product apart from the rest?
The EnsoPet composting system is an innovative solution designed to make dealing with dog poop as easy as possible. The starter kit includes a composting ‘bin’, a bag of the EnsoPet compost starter, and full instructions to guide you through the process (this is why the EnsoPet starter kit is also a great gift for someone interested in trying out composting).
So what exactly is the EnsoPet composter? Well, let’s talk about the composter unit first. The composter is basically a plastic funnel that goes upside down into your garden. There is no bottom and there are holes on the sides to promote the natural composting process. The nutrients can go into the soil and the worms can come in and out. The composter should be dug completely into the ground. Only an elegant top with a lid sticks out. In short, this system requires you to have some garden space for it as it goes directly into the ground. However, once installed, it takes up very little space and looks quite neat.
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s necessary to keep your composter away from edible plants. The composter is 35 cm wide at the base and 40 cm tall, which means you’ll need a 40 x 40 cm hole to install it.
So, once you have your EnsoPet composter in the ground, what’s next? Well, you can start putting dog poop in there. The only trick is to sprinkle some of the EnsoPet starter onto the poop. The starter is a mix of sawdust, wheat, and minerals enriched with beneficial microorganisms that helps the dog poop decompose faster. For the process to run smoothly, you’ll need to keep adding the starter as long as you are using the composter.
Now, the size of this composter might seem small. However, you might be surprised at how quickly the composting process reduces the volume of dog poop. The composter will fill up very slowly. Once it’s full, you can simply move your composter to another spot. If you have multiple large dogs, though, it’s possible that you will need more than one composter to take care of it all.
The Pet Waste Wizard BioBin system for dog poo disposal is a simple and functional solution. The system consists of two parts: the ‘BioBin’ and the digester sachets.
The bin itself is nothing special. It’s essentially a bottomless bin made of thin plastic that you need to assemble yourself (quite easy to do). The bin needs to be dug partially into the ground. Even though it’s thin, the bin seems to work quite well and last fairly long. However, the same effect can be achieved with any other bin with the bottom cut out.
What makes this system effective are the Biomaster Pet Waste Wizard Digester Sachets. The sachets are bought separately, and what you’ll need to do is sprinkle a bit of the content over your dog’s poo each day. The digester does work and helps break down the doggie doo faster. In addition to this, the bottomless bin allows for earthworms that are usually naturally present in the soil to aid the composting process.
This composting bin is a great solution for those that have a garden. You can place it right inside your garden bed, and you’ll never have to empty it. Once the bin fills up, you can simply move it to another spot and leave the nutritious compost in place. According to Pet Waste Wizard, one BioBin is enough to handle 2 grown Labradors, for example.
For those thinking about trying out the vermicomposting method for dog poop, this ready-made worm farm might be the right option. The Foothills Sustainability Centre based in Perth makes and sells worm farms made specifically for dealing with dog poop. When you buy a pet poo composter from them, you get everything you need in order to start and keep it going. So, if you’d like to be more eco-friendly, but aren’t that interested in constructing your own composting system, this could be a great solution.
What we love the most about Foothills Sustainability Centre Worm Farm is that it looks just like a regular trash bin. It even has wheels so you can move it around, making this worm farm the perfect solution if you don’t have enough space in your garden for pet poo composters that need to be dug into the soil.
However, inside, this is more than a regular bin. You’ll receive a bunch of Red Wriggler Worms to start your vermicompost as well as everything you need to start feeding the worms - besides the poop. This includes dolomite for balancing the pH value, volcanic rock dust, and cocopeat - all of which you need to create the perfect balance inside your bin. If all of that seems too complicated, don’t worry - the worm farm also comes with a manual to guide you through the process.
The Doggie Dooley system is quite similar to the Pet Waste Wizard BioBin we mentioned above. It works on the same principle: there is a large tank that is partly underground and a digester additive (the Doggie Dooley Waste Terminator) that speeds up the composting process.
What we like about this system is the design of the poo bin. It is quite large, measuring 40 x 40 cm at the base. Most of the bin goes underground, which means you’ll need to dig quite a big hole. However, once you are done, you end up with a pet poo disposal system that looks quite elegant. All that’s left above ground is a green lid.
With this kind of system, you’ll be able to get rid of excrements from 2 large dogs (or 4 small ones) for quite a long time. When used with a digester, like the Doggie Dooley Waste Terminator, these bins seem to never fill up (unless you have many pets).
Verified Review - 22/03/2021
Holds Dog Poo, Hole in the Ground is Not Fun to Dig
"I've had this in use now over a freeze here in Texas. It's a great product, and luckily it was in cooler weather that I had to dig the hole. The process of getting a post hole digger that deep is a nightmare. All that aside, it worked great and I'm happy with it."
What is the best dog poo composter? It’s hard to say. A good composting system is any system that lets you deal with your dog’s number two in a way that fits into your lifestyle.
As you have seen, there is much to choose from - from DIY systems to ready-made worm farms. We’ve found the EnsoPet Pet Waste Composter to be quite convenient - but any system will do. If you haven’t, look through our list and see what fits into your space and your waste management routine.
Pet parents who tried this reported mixed experiences. It will depend a lot on the bag. The thing is, degradable bags (especially the plastic-looking kind) don’t always decompose that fast in household compost. They are designed for industrial composting facilities. However, if the baggie is really *home* compostable, then you can certainly add them. Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure is by trying.
It is recommended to keep your dog poop compost separately from your regular garden compost. Compost made from dog poop is not recommended for use around edible plants, although it can still provide nutrition for decorative garden beds and trees of all kinds.
On average, dog poo takes about 9 weeks to decompose on its own - which is quite long. In addition, this will depend on the dog’s diet which determines the contents of the poo and on the outdoor conditions. However, by adding it to a composter of any kind you can speed up the process quite a bit. With a good composting system, the poo should disappear already in a couple of weeks.
- “How many pets are there in Australia?”. RSPCA. Retrieved July 26, 2021. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/how-many-pets-are-there-in-australia/
- Ackland, M. L. December 27, 2018. “Don’t waste your dog’s poo - compost it”. ABC News. Retrieved July 26, 2021. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-28/dont-waste-your-dogs-poo-compost-it/10668760
- Johnstone, G. June 16, 2021. “Is Dog Poop Compostable?” AKC. Retrieved July 26, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/is-dog-poop-compostable/