Sep 30, 2019

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Flush Before You Dump 

Did you know baby and dog poop should be flushed?

If you said "yes" to this question, then you are one of the few and also very correct! Don't worry if you didn't know this, because I just found this out myself and am totally guilty of just throwing away a poopy diaper (we use cloth diapers, for the most part, so most of the poop does get flushed, but we use disposables at night and when traveling, so we are guilty of throwing some poop in the garbage). I have also never flushed our dog's poop, oops! We do use compostable dog poop bags, which apparently is the next best thing.


Baby Poop Should be Flushed Regardless if You Use Cloth or Disposables

At first, when I heard this information on Facebook, I thought people were lying, but they started posting screenshots! So I went and looked for some of our diaper boxes (luckily we keep most of them as they are nice boxes for storing stuff in), and sure enough here is what I found on my Target Up & Up Diaper Boxes

  

Then I took a trip to Target and Cub Foods to see what I could find on other diaper brands, and here are some other brands that also say to "shake soil into toilet" before discarding the diaper:

 
 

The Pampers, Huggies, and Honest Company diaper packages didn't have this information, however, the Huggies website states:

If possible, be sure to first dump any feces from the diaper into a toilet. - Huggies

I couldn't find anything on the Pampers or Honest Company's websites though. It seems this information is printed on store-brand diapers and smaller brand diapers, but the major companies like Pampers, Huggies, and Honest Company don't make this information easily accessible, which seems a little odd.

So I did a little more digging and came across this article, A Law Against Putting Baby's Dirty Diaper in the Trash?" and the author, Amy Keyishian, claims that the EPA told her:

"Disposable diapers fall under the category of municipal solid waste, which means the material is safe to be disposed of in a U.S. municipal solid waste landfill." - EPA

I went to the EPA site, but couldn't find this statement myself, but Amy Keyishian did mention she called them to get details herself. I did some more of my own research, but couldn't find any government laws or rules about dumping poop out of disposables. The CDC even has a PDF for safe diapering practices and it only mentions flushing the poop if you are using cloth diapers. 

However, after reading The American Public Health Association statement, "Health and Environmental Hazards of Disposable Diapers," I am convinced that we should all be flushing poop! Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but it is also imperative for our health, so many diseases are spread through our waste!

So while technically it's not illegal and you aren't going to get in trouble for tossing that poopy diaper in the trash, it's still more sanitary and better for the environment to knock as much solid waste as you can into the toilet and flush before tossing the soiled diaper in the dump.


What About Dog Poop?

Image Credit
This was my question after discovering baby poop should be flushed, as most dog owners know, we're supposed to pick up our dog's poop while out walking and toss it in the garbage. 

Now, this isn't technically wrong and it's actually illegal to leave dog poop! Many cities even have fines if you don't pick up after your dog. Here are Minneapolis's laws for example.

However, again, to be more environmentally friendly and sanitary, you should also be flushing your dog's poop!

This one was easier to find information on than baby poop. The EPA even has a pamphlet that states flushing is the best solution for disposing dog poop. The Environmental Protection Agency also mentions that flushing is a safe way to dispose of dog waste in their manual.

If you do decide to go or continue the garbage can route, use biodegradable poop bags, which are the next best thing, but still not as great as flushing as they will still sit in the landfill for awhile. The less single-use plastic we can use, the better!


NEVER Flush Cat Poop!

Okay, so we covered babies and dogs, but what about cats? 
Cats are the exception. You should NEVER flush cat poop.


Why? Cat poop can contain the parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, This parasite can affect other animals and people (causing the disease, toxoplasmosis), and municipal water treatment systems don't always kill this parasite (source). Yikes!

Not only that, but litter is terrible on plumbing. as FloHawks says:
"It can cause havoc on your plumbing, clog pipes, and damage your septic system. Your septic system operates on a delicate balance of microbes and is designed to process human waste and biodegradable tissue only. Flushing your cat’s litter adds more solid waste load into the biological mix going on in the septic tank. Not only can this extra load disrupt the tank’s microbial balance it can even cause harm to the environment." - FloHawks

The Sierra Club also states:
"First, it's not a good idea to flush anything from the litter box—even the sweetest, cleanest non-clumping pine—into a private septic tank because it could overburden the septic system. Poop and litter should not be flushed into municipal sewer systems either, because many of them cannot eliminate Toxoplasma, a rather nasty organism sometimes present in cat waste; its release into the ocean has been known to kill sea otters."  - Bob Shildgen (Seirra Club)

Apparently, there is such a thing as "flushable" cat litter, which just sounds horrid, as most of us know there is no such thing as a "flushable" wipe.

It must be a new thing because I haven't been able to find much info on whether or not it can actually be flushed, but there is still the fact that you may be introducing the nasty parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, to our water system and oceans.

So think twice before you decide to invest in trying to toilet train your cat!

Sep 20, 2019

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