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Make a "Green" Dog Poop Scoop With Old Junk Mail

Updated on July 17, 2011

Well... this is awkward...

I hate to say it, but I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how to get rid of dog poop in a "green," eco-friendly sort of way that does not involve excessive plastic bags. There aren't many affordable alternatives, sadly. The few that there are don't especially appeal to me.

  • Biodegradable bags are one option. However, and this is huge to me, plastic may break down but never disappears. It simply turns into tiny pieces that float around in the water supply, act like estrogen, and can't easily be removed. Then the fish ingest it, they become feminized, and they can't reproduce. So even if it breaks down in your compost or your toilet, the bag is not exactly harmless; it's just not visible to you anymore. If you send it to the landfill, don't kid yourself. It will remain there for hundreds, if not, thousands of years. Landfills are anaerobic, and even banana peels don't decay.
  • Poop scoopers are another alternative. Let's face it: these are the best alternative. They are, however, cumbersome, stinky, and not practical on walks. I remember a cloud of flies attentively following ours.
  • Corn-based bags are a good choice, but they take a lot of energy and resources to make, and they are expensive. Plus, they get gooey if it takes too long to get them into a trash can.

So what's left? Enter my highly-patented, very super-ergonomic and aerodynamic, mean, green, dog-poop-scooping junk mail machine! Oh... and it's cheap.

Junk Mail. I get lots of it.

First step: Divide it in 5.

First, take your large piece of junk mail (a magazine or half a cereal box work well, too) and divide it into five as shown. The parts should be relatively equal, and should go up and down the short way. I drew the lines in with a pen below so you can see what I mean if my words don't really make sense.

Fold it.

Next, fold it so it makes a sort of claw with a backward-facing lip. As I realize this makes no sense, I have included a side-view image below.

For a good time, run with this claw after people .

Line it.

Next, get some sort of liner for your claw. The most eco-friendly would be toilet paper because you can then flush everything when you get in. If you're in a park, a single sheet of newspaper or typing paper or junk mail or a fast food napkin would work adequately, too. I used a fast food napkin.

Open the "claw" and put the liner in it. Again, see image.

Fast food napkins put to good use!

Oh No! A Tragic Cherry-Related Accident!

To avoid grossness factor of poop images, I will be using these delicious-looking dark red cherries instead. Isn't that pleasant?

Oh, look! Someone dropped cherries in the middle of my table. Good thing I have... THE CLAW!

Cherry-Related Accident!

Flip the CLAW!

Flip your claw over the... ummm.... cherries. Make sure it is open and you are holding on to the liner. Close the claw over the delicious produce.

CLAW the cherries!

Now everything's all cleaned up.

Flip the claw over. All the fun stuff should be inside it, away from your hand and in the liner. Fold the edges of the liner over to keep everything away from your hands. You can then use the claw lips as a handle to make a little holder until you can dispose of the poop (it looks just like a little paper poop-holding purse!).

All done.


There are several ways to dispose of this now. It's up to you to figure out which is best for your situation.

  • If you lined with toilet paper, you can flush the poop and paper and recycle your claw.
  • If you are somewhere that it is ok to do this, don't use a liner, throw the poop off the trail into the deep grass or bushes, and fold the claw up to recycle later. Obviously, if the poop was runny, this is not the greatest idea and it will be gross.
  • If you have to dump the poop in a trash can, use as little of a liner as possible. One piece of newspaper or a paper towel is adequate. Fold up the claw and recycle it later.
  • Throw the liner and the poop in the compost heap and recycle the claw. Please note that some home compost heaps do not do well with dog poop because the compost is not warm enough to degrade it.

Reasons why this is awesome:

  • You don't have to get that squishy-poop-in-your-hand feeling you would get from a bag.
  • If you plan this correctly, there is no waste.
  • People will be confused by your cute paper purse and they will not realize you are carrying poop. You can even say, "Hey, hold this for a second!" and they won't be any the wiser.
  • You could do this with mail that ticks you off. Think of it as revenge.
  • No one else will have thought of it yet, and if you pretend it was your idea, everyone will think you are super cool. Really.
  • It's kinda like origami, except for dog poop.

Thank you for visiting.

I hope this Hub was helpful. I have not found too many other cheap alternatives online (maybe because no one else wants to write epics about dog poop), so I hope this will be of help. Please let me know if you have other viable solutions.

(Disclaimer: I will not accept any comments hawking various commercial dog-poop clean-up items. Please only send your home-made ideas.)


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    • MoRita profile image

      MoRita 6 years ago from IL

      Thanks for the comments. :0) Hyph, sorry about ruining the cherries for you!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      This is a great idea. I also love to see items recycled. Although I may have lost my love for cherries now, it was worth the loss to learn from your very interesting Hub. Regards, Hyph.

    • profile image

      Memories1932 6 years ago

      Excellent and informative hub. I will definitely have to give this a try. It would be great for the environment if everyone who has a dog used this method instead of using plastic bags. Take care.