15 October 2016

INNOVATE - Dog Poop Composting Programs Reduce Landfill Waste

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they could also be a garden’s best friend too.

With more than 72 million dogs in the United States that each produce about 275 pounds of waste per year, that’s an untapped resource—until now.

(Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle)
Communities are starting to look at ways of composting dog waste to keep it out of landfills.

In San Francisco, the Starr King Open Space implemented a collection program that will keep 32 million pounds of dog waste out of the landfills. BioBag Americas provides compostable bags for park patrons to use to pick up waste and deposit them in special bins. EarthBaby, a compostable diaper service, then picks up the bags and takes them to a facility to convert to compost.

“We tried to start this dog waste collection initiative at Duboce Park, and BioBag even offered to pay the cost for the first year, but the city department in charge of the park would not allow it,” Mark Williams, VP of Market Development for BioBag, told PetProduct News. “So we’re happy the folks at the Starr King Open Space took us up on our offer to demonstrate that this is an effective way to reduce landfill for zero waste objectives.”

Colorado has rolled out similar programs as well in which dog parks make biodegradable bags and compost toters available to pet owners. The toters are emptied, transported to a compost site and processed to make potting soil.

This is a great way to cut waste and recycle, and it’s a trend that is catching on both at the dog parks and at home.

Dog owners can make their own composter by cutting the bottom out of a plastic garbage can, burying it to the lid and adding rocks for drainage. Then a natural septic starter and water, along with some soil with each deposit, creates quality compost.

There are also a variety of composters available for sale, ranging from $89.99 to upwards of $400 for backyard use.

Whether making their own, buying composters, or taking advantage of the park’s programs, dog owners in the US are inching toward zero waste, one scoop at a time.

By Rennay McLean
Rennay is a freelance writer and editor, animal lover, and Gryffindor. She has written nonfiction books, corporate communications, blog posts, magazine articles and newspaper pieces on topics ranging from caring for your pets and rescue agencies to the economic outlook of Alberta and spa getaways.

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