The 4 Best Dog Poo Compost Systems Australia: Tested 2023
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. We start by sharing our guide to dog poo disposal followed by our list of the best dog poo compost systems Australia offers. To suss out the best from the rest, we teamed up with veterinarians, environmentalists, and dog parents alike to form a panel of independent experts. Together, we compiled this guide, that ends with the best dog poo compost systems that we were able to test for ourselves.
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
EnsoPet Pet Waste Composter
- Easy to install and use
- Elegant and odour-free solution
- Composter made with recycled plastic
- Suitable for all pets (including cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs too)
Runner Up -
Pet Waste Wizard BioBin
- Easy to use
- The digester sachets help speed up the composting process
- Easy to install
- Made with recycled materials
Third Choice -
Foothills Sustainability Centre Dog & Pet Worm Farm
- Comes with everything you need to start making your own poo-vermicompost
- Easy to install
- Easy maintenance
- Does not require digging
Australia's Best Dog Poop Disposal System Reviewed
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 excrement.
Below are our top picks for the best dog poop compost bin in Australia. Our panel of independent experts tested all these and many more, with the following options standing out as the most beneficial, simple and effective.
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 composting 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 40cm x 40 cm hole to install it.
So, once I got my EnsoPet composter in the ground, what happened next? Well, I was able to 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 micro-organisms that help the dog poop decompose faster. For the process to run smoothly, I needed to keep adding the starter as long as I was using the composter.
Now, the size of this composter might seem small. However, our panel of experts were 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, a similar feature it shares with our second choice ahead.
If you have multiple large dogs, though, like in my household, it’s possible that you will need more than one composter to take handle all of their business.
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). Like our number one choice, 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 I had to do was sprinkle a bit of the content over my dog’s poo each day. The digester does work and helps break down the doggie doo faster. In addition to this, the bottomless bin allowed for earthworms that are naturally present in the soil to aid the composting process.
Overall, our team of independent experts believe that this composting bin is a great solution for those who 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 like the above two options, 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. Our panel of independent experts are happy to nore that the worm farm also comes with a manual to guide you through the process.
The Doggie Dooley system is quite similar to our number two choice, the Pet Waste Wizard BioBin we mentioned above. It works on the same principle: there is a large tank that is partly underground with a digester additive (the Doggie Dooley Waste Terminator) that speeds up the composting process.
What our experts liked about this system is the design of the poo bin. It is quite large, measuring 40 cm x 40 cm at the base. Most of the bin goes underground, which means I had to dig quite a big hole. However, once I was done, I ended up with a pet poo disposal system that looks quite elegant. All that’s left above ground is a green lid.
The Doggie Dooley The Original In-Ground Dog Waste Disposal System being tested by our independent expert team.
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, which was majorly appealing to members of our expert panel with several dogs. When used with a digester, like the Doggie Dooley Waste Terminator, these bins seem to never fill up (unless you have many pets).
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.
Whereas at home, most owners will leave the doggy business to naturally decompose where it's dropped on the lawn or in the garden. While this is not a bad option, depending on the weather, it can take some time and you may be left with a yard full of smelly landmines.
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 regular garden compost pile.
There are a couple of precautions you should be aware of, which are team of independent experts are happy to provide. 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 air. To get the pile oxygenated, 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 circulation 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 micro-organisms 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, you establish 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 rubbish 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 doggy's 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.
Related: The Best Dog Poop Bag Holders Australia.
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 not 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.
Related: Why Does Your Dog Eat Their Poop?
My Final Verdict
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. Our team of independent experts 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 through trial and error.
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?”. January 9, 2023. RSPCA. Retrieved May 23, 2023. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/how-many-pets-are-there-in-australia/
- Ackland, M. L. December 28, 2018. “Don’t waste your dog’s poo - compost it”. ABC News. Retrieved May 23, 2023. 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?” American Kennel Club. Retrieved May 23, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/is-dog-poop-compostable/