Composting Dog Poop

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Composting Dog Poop
Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 6:56 pm
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Hi Ken. You were an important influence. Thanks.

Author: Ken (Ken)
Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 3:22 pm
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Nice video of your stove Knothead.

As long as we make biochar on a small scale for our own use, there is no need to clear cut any forest. Biochar is made from waste materials, blown down limbs, trimmings from trees, bushes, pallets, grasses, food waste etc,etc.

I believe if it goes to large scale commerical operations, it could get out of hand.

Ken

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 10:44 am
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You're right Test. All the pluses and minuses have to be considered when embracing out-of-the-box thinking. But it's important to keep an open mind and rely on those who've tried and tested these techniques. It is important to combat misinformation and prejudices that are based on paranoia and fear of change. Whether we're talking about composting humanure or the pyrolizing of wood for fuel and charcoal production.

Paranoia, preconceived notions, complacency, apathy. These all are stumbling blocks to the changes that will have to come about before we will be able to bring about the type of sustainable existence that so many of of feel is our specie's only hope.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 8:14 pm
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@ecointerest - sorry meant the biomass conversation for Knothead. Still I think the galvanized poles will decay more rapidly in the compost, so its seems like a bit of a waste to me. The reason I intialy mentioned the "biomass to energy to say fuel cars" is that people have to think about pros and cons. For example recycle plastic sound good, but it actually takes more energy or about the same (or at least it used to)to recycle it than start from scratch.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 9:01 am
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Ha, :-). No, but the noisy rooster did. (actually he's only made it as far as the freezer) The neighbors finally won out.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 4:27 am
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Knothead, this Thread of conversation is full of humerous potential! Thanks for that video of your char making machine.
The chicken that ran off with the piece of bacon.... did it end up in the pot too?

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 3:06 am
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Folks, my most humble apologies.... I have mixed up a topic I am dealing with in HubPages, ( i.e., cleaning up grey water....) with this topic of re-using humanure. Hopefully everyone here knows what it means to have an active mind! Mine is always active, but a good sense humour is probably an essential when addressing the subject of humanure! If anyone wishes to follow my Hub, it is at this URL: http://jonnycomelately.hubpages.com/hub/Can-the-Water-you-Wash-with-be-Used-Again-Of-course-it-can-Naturally
The mix-up only came when we started talking about biochar and the burning of biomass.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 1:36 am
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Test 2, a few of your points need to be addressed.

First, the Link was not mine, but Knothead's.
Secondly, I did mention that the posts were heavily galvanised. I am not worried about corrosion here... even if the steel did rust after several years, iron and zinc being added to the soil is no problem.
Thirdly, I have not suggested anything about burning biomass, or producing ethanol from it. That is not my interest.
What I DID say was a possibility, which I still have to research more, is putting the Azolla filicoides into a methane gas plant. Once the methane has been produced, the residual liquor contains most of the original nutrients and will make a very good fertiliser.
I am primarily interested in ecosystems. I.e., using sunlight to produce the Azolla (in this case) which will "clean up" grey water; using methanogenic bacteria to produce my energy supply for cooking; then recycling the nutrients, either to produce more Azolla or food crops. I have read that Azolla can be used as food for poultry, so there is another avenue of research.
I don't have all the answers, naturally. However, thinking outside the square, looking for new ways, researching the science, careful trial and error .... this I feel is the way to advance our knowledge and help treat the earth with more respect.
Surely the whole Humanure concept is like this. Joe did not start out with all the answers. But persistence, careful observation and scientific understanding has given us all sound, practical knowledge.
When we have dealt with the humanure, we still need to find solutions for safe grey water disposal

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 12:20 am
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@Ecointerest - First of all I was not talking about biochar, but the priciple of turning biomass into car fuel in general. However even the link you suggest states:

"A number of criticisms have been made about biochar. These include [among others]:

* Charcoal production can generate toxic waste if performed incorrectly.

* The energy needed to produce, transport, and bury biochar could outweigh the carbon savings.

* Some environmental activists claim that applying the process on a large scale would result in further rainforest clearing which would actually degrade soil quality and increase global warming."

So before we all jump on the biomass "burning" bandwagon we better do some deep analysis. I will admit I am no expert in this area, but it seems turning biomass into fuel is basicaly burning soil, since all the energy, nutrients, minerals extracted from the soil is not being returned to it. Eventually the soil should become depleted.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Monday, January 09, 2012 - 10:14 pm
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Test, do some research on Biochar and terra preta. It's a very interesting subject.

http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2008/09/terra-preta-biochar-and-mego-effect.html

Burning wood for energy is actually a sustainable and carbon neutral or sometimes even a carbon negative proposition.
I'm currently looking into building a wood gas generator to power various internal combustion engines such as a vehicle or electric generator.
I've been making wood gas stoves for a few years now. I cook on them while sequestering the carbon.
Here's a link to a video of one of my recent stoves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-AHUECnnlE&list=UUib-4zwIFkOko-kucUIhNPg&feature=player_detailpage

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Monday, January 09, 2012 - 7:36 pm
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@Ecointerest - Your beams will likely rust prematurely, so I would not encourage your method of recycling waste. In other words, by putting those beams into "compost/soil" its causing more pollution (or energy use) than what is being recovered by composting. A better approach would be put rocks in those barrels with the beams, and then put plants in different barrels with the compost, or dig some holes in the ground put the compost in it.

Which brings up ethanol and other biomas energy systems. Burning biomass (directly or indirectly) has the same effect as burning soil and depleting the soil. Thus planting switch grass, corn or willow trees... and then turning those plants into energy to power cars...is INSANITY. All biomass should be returned to soil somehow. Compost is one way.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Saturday, January 07, 2012 - 6:53 am
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Knothead, the biochar is a great idea, had not thought of that. Yes, the continued fertilisation of that soil is a concern, as the nutrients in the humanure could run out.

Test2, I appreciate your concerns, and thanks for the thoughtful feedback.
There are no tyres attached to the wheels. Yes, the steel of the wheels will rust out eventually, but I am only experimenting... the whole thing is not a permanent thing. Same with the posts, but they are heavily galvanised, and will last a very long time.
The ground underneath here is very rocky and not easy to dig holes. Normally one would dig holes 600mm (2 ft) deep and fill them with reinforcement and concrete, then attach the pole to "stirrups." The main object being to hold the roof down against wind lift. My method saves all that work and, again, serves the purpose temporarily. Very strong and stable.
I am not advocating anyone follow my ways, just an example of innovation, using materials available and cheaply.
Yes, the drums were cleaned out very thoroughly before use.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Saturday, January 07, 2012 - 12:20 am
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@Ecointerest one more thing - soil is also in contacts with a car wheel and "rubber" tire ?

I am fairly certain its not a good idea for the soil to be in contact with tires - they leach toxic materials into the soil.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Saturday, January 07, 2012 - 12:17 am
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@Ecointerest - please clean those blue barrels well - the label says engine cleaner and you dont want to eat that stuff. Also not sure if its a good idea to put those metal poles in the barrels - won't they start to rust ? Even if painted would not want the paint in my soil.

Why are you putting the metal poles into the barrels ? Why use containers at all - just plant in the enriched soil ? I must be missing something - unless you are suggesting ways to urban garden where there is no place for a garden.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Friday, January 06, 2012 - 10:11 pm
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Eco, You are so creative. I'm really impressed.
Have you considered adding inoculated biochar to the mixture to help it retain more moisture?

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Friday, January 06, 2012 - 8:11 pm
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I have experimented with this idea: each metal upright post for my car port is bolted to an old car wheel, which is then placed into the bottom of an old blue plastic drum. The drum is half-filled with 20mm (approx. 1 inch) drainage gravel. I then placed shade cloth on top of the gravel. Then added composted humanure mixed with sand about a foot deep. Left hand drum two tomato plants; middle drum jasmine and beans; right hand drum just beans.
Major mistake I have made: too much sand! It drains too fast and I have to water too often.

Author: Annasmedia (Annasmedia)
Friday, January 06, 2012 - 4:32 am
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Ecointerest, such a creative solution! I am very grateful that you share your knowledge.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Friday, December 30, 2011 - 11:29 pm
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Annasmedia, I would like to make a suggestion on the basis of what you wrote: "....that most people live in urban environments with no gardens so they have no possibility to make any compost."

For the ecological and hygienic way of dealing with dog droppings, it is quite possible to compost them within the confines of a very small garden/back yard. If you can acquire a supply of sawdust, that is good. If not, you can get a small mulcher to break down old newspaper, cardboard boxes, fallen leaves from trees in suburbia, to be used as smother material for the toilet bucket, and courser material for the long-term compost pile. Try getting some compost worms... keep them and the waste materials moist, but not soggy. When composting has taken place, mix in some sand, bit of lime, etc., then you have potting mix, fit to grow plants in tubs, etc.

Author: Annasmedia (Annasmedia)
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 7:13 am
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Thanks Ecointerest,
Likely the best idea, for people with gardens. But we have to be aware of that most people live in urban environments with no gardens so they have no possibility to make any compost. I have read that in the US dogs and cats produce 10 million tons of waste each year, which is pretty much. 6,500 tons of dog poop is produced only in the San Francisco Bay Area. Maybe still not enough for very much energy, if comparing with what we need, but it all adds up. On the other hand, if it was all collected and made into fertilizer, this could help us to reduce the overall need of chemical fertilizers.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 1:39 pm
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Annasmedia, the amount of biogas that you could expect to get from dog poop is so, so tiny, it would be a big waste of time, even if you had a ton of it. There is not much in the poop which can break down to give the methane.
Much better to add it to the Humanure pile and use it as the excellent fertilizer, as you say.

Author: Annasmedia (Annasmedia)
Sunday, December 11, 2011 - 10:32 pm
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Hi the virginian,
very interesting that you use the poo from your dog! I am interested in different solutions for alternative fuel sources with a sustainable and ethical approach and I have found a project where they use dog poo in a dog park to make biogas, which is pretty creative www.best-alternative-fuel-sources.com/green-poo.html It is really good to involve people locally and create energy with local resources. But some microbiologists consider it being a problem with the pathogens so they don't recommend a project like this. I would be interested in hearing your view on this.

Author: The_virginian (The_virginian)
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - 1:38 pm
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In addition to my own waste, I also compost my two Brittany Spaniel's dog poop and have been doing so for 10 years. It is put in the center of the pile to get hot and covered a la Humaure and breaks down incredibly fast. I use leaves and grass clippings mostly and weeds in the summer. In the winter I use bags of raked leaves and have yet to have ANY complaints or problems with pathogens or parasites. Dog poop is also rich in iron and phosphorus and greens many of my plants up well during the growing season. I do age the finished pile for about 1 year to 18 months before using it and it is dark rich fluffy compost that smells like humus. I highly recommend it as a compost pile ingredient if you compost it like Humanure.

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