Based on my research, the best way to handle dog poop is to use a reusable pooper scooper and flush the poop down a toilet.
- Sewer systems are designed to handle poop (yours and your pet's) safely and effectively (this was verified by calling the local sewage treatment plant in Sunnyvale, California)
- The poop is treated and recycled fairly quickly and safely back into the environment
- Need to carry the poop to a toilet
- Need to purchase or make a reusable pooper scooper
Here are other alternatives generally listed from healthiest for environment to least healthy.
Use a flushable poop bag and flush down a toilet.
- Sewer systems are designed to handle poop
- The poop is treated and recycled
- Easy to carry bag around to pick up poop
- Flushable bags can "melt" in rain or other very wet conditions
- Flushable bags should be kept sealed in another plastic bag before use
- Flushable bags are a bit expensive and hard to find
- Flushable bags smell a bit
Put the poop in the trash.
- Sometimes easier than flushing down a toilet
- Easy for poop picked up in a plastic doogie doo bag
- Dangerous to sanitation workers
- Poop is not recycled easily back into our environment in a landfill
- Takes up landfill space
- Uses up plastic bags (which do not decompose very quickly)
Hire a pet waste pickup service.
- Someone else does the dirty work
- Poop probably just ends up in the trash in which case those cons also apply
- It takes extra energy and causes extra pollution for a service to drive to and from your house
Put it in a "doogie doolie" septic system.
- Does attempt to recycle poop and get it safely back into environment
- Takes work to set up and maintain
- Have to purchase system
- Can smell
- Can spread disease
- A real septic tank system is much more effective, these smaller septic-like systems are usually too small to work safely and effectively
- Takes a bit of effort to dig hole
- Can still spread disease and smell
- May be the best option when you are very far from civilization
Leave it were it is.
- Cheap & easy
- Spreads disease to you and your pets
- Greatly increases the local fly population
- Messy to step in
- Smells and is unsightly
- Illegal in many public areas
- This is generally the worst option.
---------- October 15, 2008 addition ----------
Additional supporting references can be found at: