PhD student Emily Bryson
PhD student Emily Bryson

Should we be composting our own dog poo?

Emily Bryson has gotten herself in some serious poop - literally.

When the permaculture graduate started examining her household waste habits, she thought about her King Charles cavalier Bailey's poo scattered all over the backyard.

"A 2019 Pets in Australia report tells us we live with over five million companion dogs, that's a whole lot of dog poo to deal with … how is this sustainable?" Ms Bryson says.

The Lockleys woman started investigating dog owners' behaviour and found most picked up their pet's poo using single-use plastic bags and put it in the landfill bin.

"That's pretty bad, those are non-renewable and the organic waste, when it breaks down it creates methane," she says.

"In SA we have a progressive green bin system - most councils accept dog poo in the green bin as long as it's in a compostable bag or newspaper.

"That's getting collected from councils and taken to be industrially composted and then mechanically you can buy back the compost and put it in your garden.

"So I wanted to know can we compost in our own backyards?

"We're encouraged to use chicken manure which is full of salmonella, that's OK to use, but you can't use dog poo, so that's another thing I'm exploring."

PhD student Emily Bryson with her research assistant Bailey. Picture: AAP/Keryn Stevens
PhD student Emily Bryson with her research assistant Bailey. Picture: AAP/Keryn Stevens

To prove composting your own dog's poo isn't far-fetched, the 43 year old is researching her PhD on the topic, calling on dog owners to take part in her survey.

"I don't want to make any assumptions, I know what I'm doing in my own backyard, but what are people doing in regional areas or apartments?" she says.

"I've had a really good response, but I'm looking for more.

"It's shown me I've tapped into an issue that people really care about but they may not be talking about it."