Looking for a plastic-free way to discard dog poo? I have the answer

To leave your dog’s defecation on a pavement or in a park is beneath contempt, but to bag it up only to leave the poo-filled plastic hanging around for eternity: that’s just bizarre. You care enough to do the right thing, but then do something worse.

Not me. Before my first country walk with my dog, I packed a small, empty ice-cream tub with a secure lid. When the dog did its business, I planned to bag it and, if no bin presented itself, pop it in the tub and take it home. This didn’t work very well. It was a warm day, so I was concerned this tub of hell might detonate in my backpack. Also, the dreadful prospect of opening it at a later stage marred the whole walk. In the end, it remained unopened as I bunged the whole package into the bin. So, a little poo wrapped in a lot of plastic ended up in landfill.

Then I heard from a despairing farmer on my radio show. He had been displeased to find some walkers mistaking the mailbox at the farm gates for a bin, into which they were gratefully stuffing their haul of poo bags. He also made the point that poo is better thrown beneath a hedge to decompose, rather than left in plastic to sit there for ever. I resolved to heed this call, but, on my next country walk, when the moment came, I could find no means of picking it up. There wasn’t a large leaf in sight.

It was only this week that, setting out for a stroll, the bleeding obvious dawned on me. Bumping my forehead with the heel of my hand in exasperation at my dimness, I started scouting around for suitably large leaves to pick and carry with me in readiness. Some sturdy dock leaves looked just the job. When the business was done, I was ready with my organic scooping gear. The last time I wrapped anything so delicately was for an Ottolenghi stuffed vine leaves recipe. I thrust this little parcel of virtue beneath the deepest hedge I could find.

On a subsequent walk, I was thrilled to stumble across some heart-leaf bergenia, AKA elephant’s ears, the leaves of which are big enough to wrap the dog in, let alone his excrement. Rather less successfully, in a nod to perfumed poo bags, I also tried using fragrant leaves of wild garlic. This was a terrible mistake, the details of which I’ll spare you. What wild garlic leaves have in aroma they lack in width. I’ll not be using them again in a hurry.