Earth Day 2012: Don’t Half-Trash Your Pet Waste

Have you noticed a recent trend of half-trashed pet waste on area beaches, parks, and trails? I’ve seen bags of the stuff left along the shore and have a feeling the owners are never coming back for the bags. Like throwing something towards a trash can and letting the wind take it away, some people take steps to do the right thing, but for some reason can’t complete the action. I call this half-trashing it, and people do it every day. Let’s use Earth Week to tell those people to stop.

My local observation from San Diego is happening all over the world – this BBC article uses cleanup data to cite a 71% increase in the stuff on Scotland beaches. But why?

I have an inkling that many people believe the reason to pick up pet waste is to avoid the embarrassing social situation when someone has stepped in the stuff. They aren’t connecting the waste with water pollution – or if they do, perhaps they they think bagging it up at least gets the bacteria contained so it can’t enter runoff. Haven’t these people heard about plastic bags choking sea turtles!?

Pet waste and plastics cause serious problems for our coastal water quality, so don’t half-trash it. SD county Stormwater has some information and brochures to help you if you need some tips to share with your neighbors.

You could also take it a step further – a 2010 Treehugger post suggests that true Earth Lovers take the bag home and empty the bag to flush the poo. But then do you have to reuse the bag afterwards? I sure hope not.

Just don’t half trash it and you’re on your way to being an Earth Day rock star.