YOU CAN HELP: Poogooder grows as 2nd year begins

While we mentioned Giving Tuesday in our daily preview list, we otherwise haven’t emphasized it since we try to provide opportunities for EVERY day to be Giving Day. But we do have a request for help from one community-based campaign – Poogooder, described by founder Lori Kothe as an “audacious idea to launch a community dog poo bin program to help end wayward dog poo for a happier, healthier community and planet”:

In our first year, Poogooder has grown to nearly 100 active dog poo bins in West Seattle stewarded like Little Free Libraries, with a growing steward waitlist (currently almost 50!). Poogooder has become an amazing phenomenon as we collectively work to reframe dog poo from problem to opportunity for good, but it takes a village. To-date, Poogooder has been funded personally by me plus many small donations, mostly through GoFundMe and Venmo.

People can “say thanks” via the Venmo QR code on the bin lids (Venmo @Poogooder), but we need a funding boost now to fulfill the waitlist and keep Poogooder going. Consider giving to Poogooder this #GivingTuesday to help meet our campaign goal by the end of the year, regularly donating via Venmo, and giving in other ways listed at Poogooder is not currently a registered non-profit so donations are not tax deductible, but all donations go directly to support the program, as it is currently 100% donation and volunteer driven. We’re exploring additional funding models such as grants and partnerships, and welcome ideas from anyone interested in helping Poogooder sustain and scale.

Beyond monetary donations, people can do some good today and every day by doing these three things:

1. Always pick up after your dogs and carry the bagged dog poo with you.
2. Never put dog poo in private garbage cans without explicit consent.
3. Remember to tie the bag and treat Poogooder bins and public garbage cans with care (dog poo NEVER goes in recycling, food & yard waste, or personal compost bins).

Poogooder is a community project where neighbors offer to maintain the bins and transfer the contents to their personal garbage for free, not a paid service, so please show stewards you care by not overflowing the bins, being sure your bag goes entirely in, and closing the lid to keep the rain out. If a bin is full, walk your bag home or check the active bin map at for a nearby bin. We also need volunteers to help with the program and to sign up to be “bin buddies” to support stewards as needed. Join the movement and learn more at

17 Replies to "YOU CAN HELP: Poogooder grows as 2nd year begins"

  • Kersti Muul November 30, 2021 (6:37 pm)

    I love this program and fully support it. The amount of poop it saves from washing into the sound, or into unappreciative folk’s garbage cans is amazing. There is one I use every day and it is high use.Such a fantastic idea, please support her as so many complain about this issue and she has created a great solution.

  • salmon November 30, 2021 (7:34 pm)

    Thanks for your work poogooders! Wondering how is all the collected stuff being disposed of? And, have you researched best practices for dog waste disposable for the environment?  The bags used and practices for dumping, have environmental impacts, too, beyond just making sure it gets put into a bin, right?

    • ACG December 1, 2021 (8:36 am)

      According to the article above, the “steward” who has volunteered maintaining the Poogooder bin will transfer the waste from the Poogooder bin into their own private garbage can for pickup by the garbage truck/SPU. The article above stated that the waste never should go in compost/yard waste. So any further questions about where the waste goes after pick up/environmental impact should be directed to SPU. Poogooder does not empty the bin or remove/dispose of the waste on their own. 

      • Buddy December 1, 2021 (3:49 pm)

        Ok, who wants to put a giant sack of random dog crap in their private garage can? I sure would not do it!  Instead people should carry their own dog filled poop sack home with them and put in their own private garbage can.  I don’t understand why it is so hard for people who take their dogs on walk around their neighborhood to bring their own personal dog poop filled bags back home with them. My dog carries his own poop filled bags on his leash with a clip and then I throw it in my own garage can like a responsible dog owner. 

        • West Seattle Nomad December 1, 2021 (10:46 pm)

          Agreed, Buddy, and thank you for behaving so responsibly!  It’s amazingly kind that Lori has gone to all this trouble to create a program but it blows my mind that it’s needed. To all those people dumping dog poo into their neighbors’  bins,  just pick up your dog’s waste and take it home! Bring a stronger, bigger  or thicker bag with you on your walk, if needed. Even some of you using the bins provided with this program can’t even seem to do that respectfully! I’ve never seen such entitled people in my life. It isn’t your neighbors’ responsibility to handle and dispose of your dog’s  waste and there is absolutely no excuse for why you as a dog owner can’t.  If you don’t want to deal with dog waste, why do you even have a dog?

    • Lori Kothe December 1, 2021 (8:53 am)

      Hello! Great questions! Volunteer bin stewards empty Poogooder bin contents into their personal garbage as necessary (yes, our neighbors are that awesome), which is why it is especially important not to overflow a bin when it’s full (and be sure the lid closes all the way), and why some stewards in high-traffic areas need bin buddies to help have capacity to dispose of the waste properly until we have enough bins on every block to share the load. Regarding education and the environment: Currently, the city of Seattle does not offer large-scale curbside dog poo composting, which is why residents are instructed to bag it and put it into garbage only. This is because the method used at the facility to break down food & yard waste does not reach a high enough temperature to kill the pathogens in dog poo. Also, there’s a huge disconnect between “compostable” dog poo bag maker marketing messages and reality which adds to the confusion — the bag is compostable, but not if it has dog poo in it, and not if it goes to the landfill. And it will never break down regardless in the landfill because there’s no oxygen. The benefit right now of using cornstarch-based compostable bags is NOT to compost it; it’s to support plastic-free alternatives so we can eventually wean off of using plastic bags entirely, and it can keep wayward plastic bags out of our waters and environment. Unfortunately those bags have “compostable” stamped on them, which conflicts with goal #1 — ending wayward dog poo. Starting Poogooder last year opened my eyes to the massive amount of solid waste and plastic being consumed every day just in our community (we love dogs!), and also that any dog poo left on the ground washes directly into the environment and Puget Sound untreated via stormwater drains. This has galvanized Poogooder to be an even greater force to foster change for good, with the eventual goal of reframing dog poo from wasted waste to beneficial matter and redirecting it from the landfill. But first — we just need to get everyone engaged as individuals, neighbors, and stewards of the environment pick it up, bag it, and put it in the proper bins every time, every day. Let’s do some good today! Visit for more resources and educational materials. Thanks! Lori 

      • salmon December 1, 2021 (11:17 am)

        Thanks for answering my questions and sharing this educational info, Lori!

        You seem to have your compass pointed in the right direction, and off to a great start. Keep up the poogood work, and thank you.

        It sounds like these bins might be filling up quickly, and will likely only increase? I wonder if poogooder will evaluate making larger bins, and what considerations will be involved. Maybe in higher traffic areas, larger bins could help?

        Also, want to add, it’s always refreshing when business leaders react to questions and conversation with enthusiasm to answer rather than defensively or with ego, as too often happens.

        Way to be!


        • Lori Kothe December 2, 2021 (9:01 am)

          Hi Salmon, Dog poo is very heavy, which is why the bins are not larger. To accommodate higher traffic areas, we’ve started using double bins on a post. Ideally we eventually have enough small bins throughout neighborhoods so each steward only has to empty their bin once per week when they take out their regular garbage.

          • salmon December 4, 2021 (8:57 pm)

            Nice, thanks for sharing. Awesome community and environment oriented service and movement you’ve started, and best wishes with it’s evolution.

  • Cd November 30, 2021 (8:38 pm)

    Love this. I find dog poo bags in my trash often. Sometimes the bags break under the weight of regular trash bags or aren’t tied off and the smells is horrible. Not to mention having to clean smeared waste that gets all over the inside of the bin. I have looked out the window coincidentally and seen dog owners put poop bags in my clean green bins too. 🤦‍♂️

    • anonyme December 1, 2021 (6:26 am)

      I’ve had the same experience.  I usually put out my bins at about 3 pm, and there are sometimes 3 bags of poo by 5 pm.  I’ve also found poo in my yard waste.  Apparently, the same people who think that their dog poo is someone else’s responsibility also think that using a bio bag makes it OK to place in yard waste.  Neither is OK.

    • Lori Kothe December 1, 2021 (10:31 am)

      We’re actually in the testing stage of a “consent” sticker program for residents to put on their garbage cans to help mitigate the problem and give people a standardized way to communicate if they are ok or not with people putting a tied bag of dog poo in their private garbage can. Sticker says either “dog poo OK” or “dog poo NO” — both are totally valid positions. I conducted a West Seattle Nextdoor poll last year asking how a person felt about someone putting a tied bag of dog poo in their garbage can. 500 people voted. Half are OK. A full third are not OK and it makes them very upset. Small actions can make a big impact for everyone.

      • anonyme December 2, 2021 (6:32 am)

        Amazon already sells “No Poo” stickers for garbage bins.  However, I wonder if dog owners who already think that it is OK to dump their poo bags wherever it is convenient would bother to respect a sticker?

  • mark47n December 1, 2021 (4:59 am)

    As a volunteer steward of a bin location all I ask is that when the bin is full that you move along rather that place it on the ground or just jam more in the bin. Carry it to the next bin, there are more. 

  • tom December 1, 2021 (2:42 pm)

    thank you Lori!  ……………………. i sure hope bad owners realize how horrible their actions make all dog owners look to be.  this initiative will be a clear litmus test, will volunteers find dirty overflowing bins with poop outside? or will owners magically become respectful of others’ property?  ……………………… mark47n may have given us the answer already.

    • Lori Kothe December 2, 2021 (8:49 am)

      Thanks Tom! The overflowing bin (and any public can, really) is quite a common problem. People universally don’t seem to understand “full”. But the underlying goal here is to strengthen our ties as neighbors and foster a community culture that looks out for each other — and actually gets to know and care about our neighbors — for the greater good. That bond can help change perspective from anonymous receptacle to more like “my kind neighbor Bob’s bin”. And truthfully dog poo is just a proxy for everything else. Why do stewards continue to volunteer? That community connection and positive nod knowing they made someone’s day — and another steward is doing the same for them. And each helped others protect the environment to boot. It can also be exceptionally frustrating to steward a bin — we’ve had hand sanitizer, bag dispensers, and lights stolen off the bins, and the stewards have to deal with overflowing bins and bags (or loose poo) left on the ground near the bin. But so far we have nearly a 100% retention rate because the positive momentum is palpable. It’s up to us all to keep it going and make it better and better so the positive continues to lead, one small action at a time. Let’s aspire to go from wagging fingers at each other to wagging tails and waving. Thanks everyone. 

  • Mr. Mike December 1, 2021 (5:46 pm)

    Hey, here’s another solution.  Why don’t dog owners just take their dog’s poo home and put it in their own garbage can?

Sorry, comment time is over.