Hey Mr. Green,
I use clear plastic produce bags from the store to pick up my dog's doo. At least I'm reusing them, but is there a better approach? –Ted in San Francisco
First of all, I commend you for cleaning up after your dog. Every year, dogs and cats in this country produce 10 million tons of globs, nodes, nuggets, rods, dollops, twists, and coils of their vile excrement. Wherever that stuff anoints our sidewalks, desecrates our lawns, or washes away unsanitized into our watersheds, it can cause all sorts of human-health and environmental problems. (This amount doesn't include the incalculable excreta of feral cats, environmental menaces to native songbirds and other creatures, but don’t get me started on that subject.)
Plastic bags aren’t our largest environmental problem, but you could certainly save and reuse them for further produce packing instead of one-time doggie sewage service. To liberate the bags for this higher purpose, you could devise a pooper- scooper by cutting out the bottom of a plastic milk jug or similar container and using this clever device to skim the feces off whatever unfortunate surface it lands on. If such a crude improvised gadget seems out of touch with local fashion trends, you can find pooper-scoopers in pet shops or on the Internet. Most of them feature long handles, which eliminate the need to bend over. Instead of dropping the turds into your own or somebody else's garbage, empty the scooper into the toilet and flush away. (Municipal sewage systems can handle pet waste, but don’t flush it into septic tanks.) If you're scrupulous about water use, you could save the material in the scooper to be flushed only when there is already sufficient material in the toilet for a righteous co-flush.