I'm a hound. And as such, I dont usually spend much time thinking about things, except for where the next sausage or Wonky Chomp is coming from.
But today Mom was doing poop duty in the garden, and as I opened one eye to listen to her usual sarcastic comments about corks, and where they could be strategically placed, I got to wondering. Every other day, she picks up my poop from the garden and puts it in her big bin. It stays there until the bin men come to take it away.
Now I like to poop in my own garden, but sometimes I poop when we go out for a walk. Again Mom picks it up and puts it in a bin. I've never quite understood this, but it's what happens. I have to admit, I quite like to sniff other dogs poop, its interesting, it tells me who's around. There are lots of other dogs that walk in my park and of course they all leave their calling cards. Although most humans are like mine, there are some that don't pick it up. I know this because Mom stood in some once and said some very unprintable words. But mostly it all goes into scruffy metal bins scattered about the park.
But what happens to all my poop?
I am just one hound and I easily fill a bucket a week. A town full of dogs must produce a huge heap of it. I know that some rubbish goes into a special bin, and this goes away to be used to make other things, like toilet paper or newspapers. But Mom told me that that most things just go into big holes in the ground. It seems wrong to me. Its what cats do, isn't it? Hide their poop. I'm a dog, not a cat! I do not like the idea of my poop being buried in the ground. So when I heard that dog poop can be turned into something useful, I thought, what a pawsome idea! After all, it takes a lot of sausages and kibble to produce it in the first place! How amazing if it could really be used to make the electricity to cook more sausages, and therefore make more poop! Sounds perfect doesn't it?
But how would it work?
Does the poop have to be fresh to be useful? Would someone empty all the bins every day and take it away? What about all the poop like mine, which is collected in gardens? Could that somehow be collected? What about the bags it's collected in? Would they get in the way? Mom uses supermarket carrier bags when we go to the park. They are supposed to rot down one day, but do they? And how would we make sure that every human used the special bins? Would we need little power plants all over the country making Doggylektric? Or would it all have to be transported to one place? Could normal power plants be adapted to use dog poop? Wouldn't it all be rather smelly? I have so many questions but I love the idea of us dogs being useful.
My houndy mind is overwhelmed with the possibilities!
If dog poop was a valuable asset and not just a stinky mess, and if all humans used the special Doggylektric bins, would dogs then be allowed on beaches and other places where we can't go now? I have never seen the sea and quite like that idea. I say let's go for it, we just need to train our owners to be more responsible, and we all win!
So next time Mom mentions corks up bottoms I can put up my paw and say "Stop!" My poop is a useful renewable energy source, treat it with respect! I would, if I had the energy!
You can read more from Bella by clicking here
2014 was a groundbreaking year for the pet dog population of the UK. According to PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers' Association) the pet dog population now stands at 9 million canine companions http://www.pfma.org.uk/pet-population-2014 , an increase of 12.5% from 2012 levels. It also brought us through quite a significant barrier: Research indicates that an average dog produces 340g of fecal matter per day x 9,000,000 dog population = 3,060 tonnes of poo per day x 365 days per year =
1,111,900 tonnes of dog poo annually
Over one million tonnes of dog poo is produced in the UK annually - an astounding figure...!
So what is the impact of this volume of waste ?
Consider the fact that 90% of this waste is deposited in public spaces and we have a significant social problem for local authority planners and dog owners alike. From a local authority perspective, many councils across the UK continue to grapple over the problem of public dog poo and dog owners who stoutly profess they clean up, but don't. Nevertheless, this issue continues to be emotive for many in local government, and still remains a problematic issue crying out for some common sense thinking, and clear, concise strategies and policies.
Environmentally it is a potentially damaging issue that is underestimated.
Dog owners are supposed to pick up after their dog has done it's business - "bag it and bin it" is a well used motto by many....but what happens to the millions upon millions of small plastic bags containing one individual bowel movement of each beagle, dalmation and chihuahua? Estimations are that 80% of the collected dog waste in the UK ends up in landfill. Most environmentally minded dog owners probably use biodegradable bags, which given the right conditions will perform as promised. However here is the catch - conditions in landfill are far from ideal and prevent organic waste from decomposing, and chances are those biodegradable bags will still be there in 20-50 years time, maybe even longer. Whilst in the meantime the contents of the bags are contaminating water and producing harmful methane gas that is roughly 30 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
So then we get to the financial cost of finally disposing of this million tonnes of dog waste....
As of 1st April 2014 Landfill Tax is £80 per tonne, so lets say for arguments sake that only 40% of the UK dog waste was ending up in landfill - that still equates to over £35 million in tax alone - to put dog waste in a hole in the ground in small plastic bags! Add on to this the cost of dealing with the sharp end of the problem: collection, disposal, cleaning, education and community engagement and the actual true financial cost of dealing with dog waste is far likely to be closer to £100 million per year.
This number crunching on dog poo tells a woeful tale. An ever increasing dog population, combined with cuts to local authorities' budgets and pressure to reduce biodegradable municipal waste being sent to landfill and we have a recipe for worse to come in the future.
Our GeoVation project was specifically designed with these statistics and facts in mind. Combining an alternative disposal method that generates renewable energy from dog waste, and a technology based system that engages and educates dog owners and non dog owners alike through a destination enhancing mobile application. A win-win-win scenario for all concerned, and definitely a step in the right direction to finally overcome this emotive and potentially damaging environmental issue.
The future of dog waste bins - and how to segregate problematic waste to ensure diversion from landfill
Over the last few months our most popular social media posting has been concerning these newly designed dog waste bins - and it's easy to see why...! The benefits to be had are huge - both environmentally and socially.
The design is a fun and easy way to dispose of the dreaded bag of poo. In a nutshell, users bag their pet's poop, give the bag a twist, and thread the bag's neck through the inwardly spiraling trackway on top of the bin. Once the end of the spiral is reached, simply let go of the bag! Also incorporated is a biologically degradeable dog waste bag dispenser: take one empty; bring it back full.
One major problem with current dog waste disposal bins are that they fill up way to early with other forms of domestic rubbish. Often leading to pet owners being unable to deposit their pet's waste, and resulting in litter problems stemming from bagged dog waste.
In addition, there is increasing pressure to divert biodegradable municipal waste from landfill sites. In the UK the dog population creates over ONE MILLION tonnes of poo annually - this clever device would ensure that we divert this problematic waste away from landfill, and improve our collective environmental performance....a win-win scenario all round.
A SWANSEA family say they had to cut short a picnic on the city's foreshore at the weekend due to the amount of dog mess littering the beach.
Sarah Helin and her partner had taken their daughter Jasmine, aged 7, and one-year-old son Jacob, to Swansea beach to enjoy the sunshine on Sunday. But they were so appalled with the amount of dog mess around the bay that they decided to go home.
Ms Helin said the final straw came when Jacob picked up a bag of faeces that had been thrown by the water's edge.
The 29-year-old of Cheriton Crescent, Portmead, said: "It was disgusting. Everywhere we looked there was dog mess.
We had come to the beach for a day out but we had to keep watching the youngest. Every time I put the picnic blanket down there was mess in the grass so we had to keep moving.
"It was over the beach and the stones and pebbles.
"It wasn't safe for the children to play there.
"There is no excuse for dog owners not to clean up after their pets and if they do they should put it in the bins that are around."
Swansea Council said it had recently launched a dog fouling campaign across the city.
A spokesman said: "There's no excuse for selfish dog owners who allow their pets to foul in public places.
"Dog fouling bins are in place along the foreshore for the public to use when walking their dogs."
People caught failing to clean up after their pet face a £75 fine.