The Lafayette Parks, Recreation & Open Space Department, in collaboration with the Lafayette Waste Reduction Committee, is pleased to announce the launch of a pilot dog waste composting program at the Great Bark Dog Park. Dog waste can be challenging for communities to deal with, and most of it ends up in landfills where it contributes to emissions from methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Nationwide, pet dogs produce over 10 million tons of poop each year, and Lafayette wants to do what we can to minimize our contribution. More to bark about.
For nearly a decade, the City of Edmonton has been turning dog poop into compost. With an estimated 150,000 dogs in the city, there’s a heap of the stuff to process.
“We process the cat poop a little bit differently, because it has different pathogens that are difficult to address,” said Jawad Farhad, general supervisor for organic processing and management. “But generally dog poop is much easier for us to deal with.”
“We are not the only ones who do this. A lot of municipalities do allow for the composting of dog poop.”
In Edmonton, once poop is placed in the trash, there is a “whole system of checks and balances” to make sure it stays out of the landfill, Farhad said.
“We want to divert as much waste as possible, whether it’s organic or non-organic,” he said. “Once it’s made safely into a compost, the nutrients can go back in the land and be put to good use.”
The Zoning Commission last month approved plans for a dog training facility and kennel in a Naugatuck, Connecticut industrial park.
The facility will hold up to a maximum of 300 dogs, and the dogs’ waste will be composted on site.
The commission approved the application with the condition that Black Rock Canines submits a map detailing the location of the proposed compost site and a detailed compost plan.
“If you live in an apartment and don’t have a garden or access to green waste, you can still compost dog poo and use the product. There are small compost bins commercially available for this purpose. Composted material from these can be used on your outdoor or indoor plants.
“And if you don’t have any indoor plants, then you should think about getting some, as they can cut down on ozone in the air and even reduce indoor pollution.”
And I imagine that we’re producing our fair share and then some in Boulder County, which has tens of thousands of dog owners.”
Read Kathleen Thumes’ article in The Lyons Recorder about EnviroWagg’s work composting dog waste in Colorado’s Boulder County, the need for standardized guidelines for recycling pet waste and the difference between “biodegradable” and “compostable” pick-up bags.
“Since the 1960s, the League of Women Voters, nationwide, has been at the forefront of efforts to protect air, land and water resources. How does this relate to dog ownership? Dogs reduce stress, provide lessons in care and responsibility for children, provide opportunities for daily exercise and are generally a loved member of any family they belong to. They do have their downside. They poop.
“A good option is composting your dog’s waste. The USDA has a free publication online entitled ‘Composting for Dog Waste.’ Use the compost for plants or lawns, but not for fruits or vegetables for human consumption. Keep tools and compost bins separate, as dog waste can transfer diseases to human beings.”
Red garbage dog waste recycling bins have become more common in municipalities across the British Columbia Lower Mainland in recent years, diverting tons of waste from landfills. But North Vancouver’s is arguably the catchiest approach, with its own dog-waste diversion social media hashtag — #GotPoop — as well as signage and a web page for what the municipality calls “the Poo Fairy.”
The city recently tweeted about a new online tool to find one of the roughly 30 bright red bins they’ve dropped in locations across the North Shore municipality. In a tweet that included the city’s own social media hashtag dedicated to the topic, it said the map could be used on residents’ phones to find where to stash their bagged doo.
Waste management companies have been playing hot potato with pet waste for decades. Agencies can’t agree on what to do with it. these organics are in the Twilight Zone of disposal management. Some conscientious government entities, companies and individuals, many mentioned at this site, are experimenting with their own solutions. Why is everyone worried about cigarette butts and plastic straws when we’re staring at a mountain of pet poo?
With 83 million dogs and 96 million cats in the U.S. alone, pet waste is a serious problem, polluting land and waterways and contributing upwards of 10 million tons of material to landfills every year. For years we’ve been told not to recycle dog and cat waste. But the fact is that, with due diligence, there are many ways to take your pet to near zero waste by diverting his or her waste from landfills.
Now you can significantly reduce household waste by recycling your pet’s waste via The Pet Poo Guide: How to Compost and Recycle Pet Waste, a must-read for pet owners concerned about the environmental impact of their best friend. This book offers step-by-step instructions for eight ways to recycle and practical advice on choosing which one is the best solution for you.
Are you ready to nudge your pets much, much closer to net zero waste? Order your copy of the Guide today!
If they can do it, why not US? City of Cockburn Waste Education officer Nicki Ledger said new compostable bags that will be installed at city parks will be less damaging to the environment as they were likely to break down quickly if they ended up in local waterways, not crumble into tiny pieces of plastic like the ‘degradable’ or ‘biodegradable’ bags.
Miss Ledger said the bags were certified compostable meaning they break down completely in the industrial composters at the Regional Resource Recovery Centre in Canning Vale. “They’re also compostable to AS5810 for home composting systems so they will break down in backyard composters,” she said.
Ramsey Bond dearly loves her dog, Summit, but she is all too familiar with the “back end” of dog ownership. In preparing to earn her bachelor’s degree in sustainability studies at Colorado Mountain College, Bond took that “back end” challenge head-on through animal waste composting.
As part of her capstone project, Bond teamed up with the Colorado Animal Rescue shelter (CARE) in Spring Valley, which is adjacent to the college’s veterinary technology farm, to build an outdoor animal waste composting system. The three-bin composter is converting a mixture of the shelter’s animal waste and a local woodworker’s sawdust into composted soil that’s safe for lawns, shrubbery and flower gardens.
“They really wanted to be a part of it,” she said. “It went along with their mission of helping animals go back into the community. Now we can use the waste to keep their landscaping healthy.”
Over the years, CARE has worked to increase its sustainability by recycling, using wood pellets for cat litter and installing solar panels for electricity, said the shelter’s executive director, Wes Boyd. “This is our next addition for sustainability, and we really appreciate it,” he said.
With the new composting system, shelter staffers collect waste through the day in a heavy-duty plastic bucket with a screw-top lid, and empty it into the outdoor compost bin at the end of the day. Bond built the three side-by-side composting bins in an enclosed area on the warm south side of the shelter building. Fellow student Aaron Anderson, president of the CMC Sustainability Club, helped with clearing a space within the enclosed area and with building the bins.
They used scavenged shipping pallets for the framework and attached scrounged one-inch wire mesh on the sides to keep the composting material in and critters out. The bin lids are topped with corrugated sheet metal, which was donated and cut to fit by Umbrella Roofing Co. Near the bins, Bond placed two large plastic trash barrels with lids, each full of sweet-smelling sawdust. It’s provided by Daniel Oldenburg at Summit Construction, and is another waste byproduct that previously went to the landfill. A few scoops of sawdust go in on top of each day’s waste.
The new CARE composter is based on a three-stage system developed and tested in other communities: building, working and curing. The first bin already has a growing pile of animal waste and sawdust. Even on a recent warm spring day, there was no odor. Once the pile is about three feet high, the label on this “building” bin will switch to become a “working” bin, and the CARE staff will start piling new waste and sawdust in a new “building” bin.
The staff adds water, aiming for the pile to be damp from top to bottom. Using a long-stemmed thermometer, they monitor the pile’s core temperature. Natural composting heats the pile to about 150 to 160 degrees, which helps to kill off pathogens and parasites that might be present in animal waste, Bond said. As it cools down, students use a pitchfork to turn the pile.
The heating, cooling and turning process happens three or four times over several weeks, until the pile no longer heats up. At that point, the “working” bin shifts to the “curing” stage. The composted waste sits, exposed to the weather, for several more months. After about a year, Bond said, it will be ready for use in landscaping. Bond has graduated but continues to volunteer with CARE, monitoring how the system is progressing.
Keep up to date with the project via Instagram purplepoopail.
Photo caption: Ramsey Bond explains the new animal waste composter to Wes Boyd. Bond was able to incorporate the composter into her own studies and to those of her sustainability classmates. Photo ©Hannah Johnson (CMC professional photography student)
Article provided by Debbie Crawford, Colorado Mountain College public information officer, Central Services