Sep 30, 2019

Did You Know Baby and Dog Poop Should be Flushed?

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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!

28 comments:

  1. Oh wow! I never thought about this, but it would be much tree if I could flush my dogs bag!

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  2. this is very informative, I'm one guilty mom with the diapers, I never read the instructions on the diaper ever, only the benefits and skipped on that part. thank you for sharing. i will try my best to also educate my husband to do the same.

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  3. Kristine Nicole AlessandraOctober 1, 2019 at 1:47 AM

    I used cloth diapers on all my kids where they were little, so dumping their poop in the toilet was routine. I did not know about dog poop, so this is good information to know now that I have a furry little dog in the house. That information about cat poop is alarming. I never knew that the parasite cannot be easily eliminated/killed in water treatment plants. Yikes.

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  4. I just rushed to check my boy's diapers and had never thought of reading it.Well now I know and thank you for this.

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    1. You're welcome! I just found this out too! I'm sure a lot of people don't realize it, which is why I shared.

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  5. I flush my dog's poop down the toilet when he goes in the house - which is more often than I would like! Was just listening to NPR last week and the Plastic challenge to go plastic free and the journalist recommended throwing away dog poop in the toilet as well. It's just not practical when out on a walk.

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    1. I agree, it can be tricky when walking. We use biodegradable poop bags, which are the next best things besides flushing.

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  6. So informative! I hate to say it, but I really don't think many know that you should flush the two! I too had no idea, so thanks for sharing!

    -madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com

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    1. It's not something people tell you and diaper boxes have it in tiny print, and who reads right? But now we know!

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  7. Now I am surprised that there are many people who doesn't flushed their babies and dogs poop!
    All poops must be flushed. Unless you got poops from poultry farm animals that are usually used as natural fertilizers.

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    1. Maybe it depends on where you live? But I have never been told to flush the poop if using a disposable and don't know of anyone who does! Which is why when I discovered this, I had to share as so many are unaware!

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  8. I honestly did not know this to be true and either case. Thank you for the helpful information.

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  9. I have never heard about this until now. It does make sense and even though I don't have anyone in diapers at the moment I will be keeping this for future reference.

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  10. I've never heard of this at all. Fascinating -- and it kind of makes sense!

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  11. I knew about the animal poop, but I didn't know about baby poop. Very interesting, I'll try and keep this in mind if we decide to have another baby! My daughter is 4 years old now.

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  12. OK...I honestly had no. idea. We cloth-diapered, too (and even better, we had a service that took away the dirties, poop and all!). But still an eye-opening heads-up. Boy am I glad those days are behind us!

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  13. Wow ! Had never even occurred to me.. So important for the world to know .

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  14. I had no idea! When I cloth diapered I flushed the poop. But I never thought I needed to with disposables. Now I feel terrible!

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    1. We use both too and I never flushed with disposables either, going to start now though!

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  15. My mind is blown! What?!!!! I feel so bad now! Thanks so much for informing me on all this info!

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    1. You're welcome! Don't feel too bad! It's definitely not common knowledge, as I didn't know until recently either!

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  16. I had no idea that it had instructions on the diaper boxes about throwing poop in the toilet. I actually already dump my daughter's formed poop in the toilet already.

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    1. I have heard a few say the same, I guess it helps with the smell since it's not sitting in the diaper pail, which is another reason I never thought of!

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  17. Wow - I had never heard of this or even noticed this on our diaper boxes. What great strides we've made for the environment. I would have never known about this had it not been for your post. So thank you!

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  18. Yeah I had absolutely no idea! I tossed all of my dirty diapers in the trash. I've clearly never read the box. I did know not to flush cat poop. It's horrible for your plumbing.

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  19. This is really interesting information. This is the 1st time that hear about this. I'm not sure how I would feel about picking up dog poop and putting it into the toilet that seems like a lot more work lol

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  20. Wow! I did not know this. I have 3 dogs at home and I have been thinking how to properly dispose their poop. Thank you for sharing this .Will start flushing them. :)

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