Three months ago the Valencian town of Xàtiva (pop 35,000) decided to take a stand against the chronic dog fouling situation affecting it's pavements and open spaces.
Xàtiva town hall started a program of genetic census of dogs. This census obliged, by municipal order (similar to Public Space Protection Orders) the owner of every dog to submit their dog for DNA registration, at no cost.
Once identified genetically each dog is then added to a database. In the event that offending dog mess is left on a public highway and the deposits have the same DNA, the system flags up the owner.
If the sample brings no results, that would mean the owner has not obeyed the municipal order and so if he or she gets caught subsequently with an unregistered dog a fine of 400 € would be imposed.
Each DNA match process costs 15 €, which is paid, as well as the fine, by the owner.
The locals say they have noticed the difference and it now a pleasure to take a stroll. The program has reduced deposits left on public highways by 80% - pleasing citizens, town hall officials and local police alike.
Local news coverage (in Spanish)
A PARLIAMENTARY Bill which would make annual registration of dogs compulsory in the UK had a Second Reading in the House of Commons on January 9, 2015.
MP Julie Hilling’s Private Member’s Ten Minute Rule Bill would effectively reintroduce a licensing system – abolished here in 1987. She wants income from such a system to fund ‘enforcement of conditions and penalties imposed on those owning and controlling dogs and other connected purposes’.
Ms Hillingis Labour MP for Bolton West, the constituency in which in 2013 14-year-old Jade Lomas Anderson was killed by dogs living in a friend’s house in Atherton, Manchester. The four animals were shot dead by police.
Their owner, Beverley Concannon, received a four-month suspended jail term after she admitted causing suffering to the dogs; the charges concerned how they had been kept and Ms Concannon’s failure to provide exercise, care and supervision.
At the Bill’s First Reading, Ms Hilling said Jade’s parents, Michael and Shirley, had campaigned tirelessly since their daughter’s death, since then nine other people had been killed by dogs. Dog attacks were ‘at epidemic proportions’, she claimed.
Laws had changed in recent years, she went on, and the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) had been amended to allow people to be prosecuted if dog attacks take place on private property, but she was not convinced that enough had been done.
Acknowledging that micro-chipping would be made compulsory in England and Wales in April 2016, Ms Hilling suggested that a fee to register a dog on a national chipping database and an annual re-registration fee, with the money ring-fenced for dog welfare and control, would ‘not only produce money but promote responsible ownership and ensure that owners are held responsible for their dogs’.
Annual registration and compulsory could run in tandem, she suggests.
One of the first things Mr Anderson called for following the death of Jade was dog licences, she said, and the RSPCA was in favour.
"A licence suggests not simply registration but possibly vetting for suitability and other conditions,” she said.
The Bill is presented jointly with MPs Robert Flello, Jim Fitzpatrick, Mike Kane, Emma Lewell-Buck, John Pugh, Rosie Cooper, Oliver Colville, Anne McIntosh, chairman of the former Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee, Liz McInnes, Andrew Rosindell and Mary Glindon.
But while the RSPCA is in favour, the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust are opposed to the move. The KC called it a ‘knee-jerk legislative reaction to Jade’s death’.
"While we support the principle of a funding stream for enforcement we do not support annual registration as a means of achieving this,” said secretary Caroline Kisko. "The KC does not believe that a significant funding stream would be created this way, taking into account the low compliance of dog licensing elsewhere in the UK, such as in Northern Ireland, and the huge costs associated with administering such a scheme.”
Dog licensing is in force in Northern Ireland where between 30 and 50 per cent of owners comply.
Instead the KC would like an overhaul of current dog control legislation to update and consolidate existing laws to bring in more preventive measures to protect public and dog welfare.
"Sadly, this Bill appears to be a reaction to a fatal dog attack in Julie Hilling’s constituency,” Mrs Kisko said. "While dog attacks that cause fatalities are a tragedy they are also very rare, and we don’t believe that knee-jerk legislation should be the response – it was this approach that led to the highly flawed and much-criticised DDA in the first place.
"In the vast majority of fatal dog attacks, which in themselves are extremely rare, the dog’s owner is known to the victim, meaning that registration details would not be required to identify the owner anyway, so we do not believe that incidents of this type would be prevented in future this way.
"One of the other reasons cited for introducing this Bill is that dog registration is used in other European countries to reduce the number of stray dogs, which is why the KC has fully supported the introduction of compulsory microchipping which, if enforced properly, will mean that all dogs will be able to be traced back to their current owner.
"A far more effective method of dealing with dog control issues would be to focus on preventive measures which would tackle the situations that create dangerous dogs in the first place. This would rightly place focus on the owner, and on the need to properly train and socialise dogs from the very start of their lives, no matter what the breed or ‘type’ of dog, to ensure that they become functioning members of society.”
A spokesman for Dogs Trust said the charity agreed there was a need fokr a new funding system ring-fenced for dog control and welfare it was ‘strongly’ against it.
"We fail to see how it would help to encourage responsible ownership, effectively raise revenue for local authority dog services, or help to prevent dog attacks,” a spokesman said. In 1987 the licence fee cost 37p and fewer than 50 per cent of owners had one, she said.
"The licensing regime was essentially a tax on responsible dog owners, who paid the fee every year while others ignored it. It did not encourage a more responsible attitude towards dog ownership in the long term, nor did it protect in any way the welfare of dogs in the short term.
"The revenue raised from the dog licence was not ring-fenced for improving dog welfare or responsible dog ownership. We do not believe that the Treasury would ring-fence this money in the current economic climate and therefore there are no grounds to reintroduce a failed system of the past.”
And in the current economic climate it would be unlikely that local authorities could afford to enforce the law, the spokesman said, adding that in 1998 the cost of such a scheme was estimated to be in the region of £22m a year.
Blue Cross’ deputy chief executive Steve Goody said ‘the jury was still out’ on whether such a scheme would work.
"However, this Bill does highlight the fact that to ensure better dog control and welfare across the UK, funding needs to come from somewhere,” he said. "We need to scrutinise all alternatives for funding in order to identify the best option for dogs and dog owners.”
Claire Robinson, the RSPCA's government relations manager, said the charity supported the Bill ‘as a means to encourage more responsible dog ownership’.
"We very much understand the rationale behind this Bill following the tragic death of Jade Lomas Anderson,” she said. "With resources for local authority dog wardens and police dog legislation officers being reduced significantly there is an urgent need to identify a sustainable and effective mechanism for funding these important local resources.
"Having researched this issue in 2010 we believe an effective annual registration scheme for dog owners could be the right tool to achieve this. Such a scheme could be means-tested for those on low incomes or those who are more responsible owners, for example those whose dogs are neutered.
"Indeed, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare report on an England-wide dog strategy notes the urgent need to identify a funding stream and suggests that consideration of a dog licence or other form of funding stream should be considered and analysed to identify the best way forward.
"We welcome the development of mandatory microchipping of all dogs from 2016 and believe that it would not be a significant step to make this an annual registration scheme."
When I took my first step onto the property ladder last summer, I thought it would also help my ascent of Lansink’s Ladder: without numerous housemates’ dubious waste management practices to worry about, my residual bin seemed set to remain as sparsely populated as my unfurnished new home. However, I hadn’t counted on the arrival of fuzzy feelings of domesticity that led to the acquisition of an equally fuzzy companion. It wasn’t until my kitten was climbing around in my recycling bin that I started to realise just how much waste the little fellow was going to produce.
According to a report commissioned by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, 13 million UK households (45%) keep pets of some kind. Cats and dogs are each kept by 8.5 million households (these numbers are not additive, as some will of course keep both). Can those of us who want both the joys of animal companionship and waste minimisation, find ways to cut down, or better manage, the huge amount of pet waste generated in the UK every year?
I’ve not conducted a personal compositional analysis and won’t guess at percentages, but thanks to the good recycling collection in my area, my residual waste seems composed almost entirely of tightly tied bags of kitty litter. With so many cats and dogs in the UK, pet poop must represent a significant mass of organic matter within the residual waste stream.
Does this waste represented a floater in the residual waste stream by necessity—due to inherently unpleasant and possibly dangerous characteristics of the waste—or is it only there out of convention and squeamishness? I’ve written before about the relationship between waste management and squeamishness, and talking about faeces really brings the point home. There are some undoubtedly nasty pathogens present in pet faeces, notably the parasites Toxocariasis and Toxoplasmosis. But might these be safely killed off by the temperatures reached in anaerobic digestion (AD)? If so, provided any litter and bags were made of organic matter, might pet waste be collected along with food waste?
I began by contacting a local authority waste officer, but was told that no one had asked this question before, and that I might be better off talking to AD plant operators. This I did, but most seemed similarly baffled by my query. However, one mentioned that AD digestate goes through a pasteurisation process, where it is heated to a temperature of 70oC for one hour, in order to make it safe for land application. I also attempted to contact some technical specialists in the field, but to no avail.
There are some theoretical indications that this pasteurisation should be sufficient. Hanna Mizgajska-Wiktor and Shoji Uga’s essay Exposure and Environmental Contamination states, “Anaerobic waste treatment kills Toxocara spp. eggs at temperatures in excess of 45oC”, well below the 70oC mentioned by my operator. The susceptibility of Toxoplasma to heat is less clear, although numerous internet sources suggest this can be killed in meat by cooking at 66oC. So far, then, I haven’t confirmed or falsified my initial inkling, and so the collection of pet waste in the municipal organic stream remains a theoretical possibility. I’d certainly be interested to hear the thoughts of any experts in the Isonomia readership.
Motivated dog owners can already turn their pet’s waste into a resource within their own home. The website London Worms explains how you can turn your dog’s poo into rich and useful vermicompost, although it warns that the results will only be suitable for use on non-edible plants.
Household pet droppings may still be largely fated for disposal, but even when binned this waste is at least moving through proper waste management channels. Unfortunately, not all pet poo is binned, and we have real data measuring public perceptions of the disamenity resulting from dog fouling. For most, the presence of this unwelcome waste in our streets, parks and footpaths is of much higher concern than its diversion from landfill.
A 2011 Defra-funded study on local residents’ willingness-to-pay — via an increase in council tax — for improvements across a range of environmental factors found that dog fouling was the third most important issue out of the presented range (with litter and fly-tipping taking first and second place). Surveys were conducted in inner-city, suburban and rural/semi-rural areas around London, Manchester and Coventry.
In order to move from the current level of dog fouling to the best possible scenario, it was found that inner-city residents would on average be willing to pay £8.87 per month, suburban residents £7.79 per month, and rural residents £2.72. Combining these figures with population statistics to allows us to place a disamenity value on dog fouling. National statistics only allow for an urban / rural split, but based on a 2012 Defra rurality study which found that 18.9% of the population lives in rural areas, we can calculate that across England, the we would collectively be willing to pay is £462m per year to achieve best case scenario improvements in dog fouling.
This somewhat crude calculation gives an indication of the perceived disamenity of dog fouling. Presenting the matter in terms such as these may allow economically minded policy makers a means of engaging with this important street scene issue and evaluating the costs and benefits of interventions.
Food for thought
Let’s wash our hands of poo (with plenty of soap and warm water) and look to the other end of the pet waste problem. According to a report published by WRAP, the UK uses around 75,000 tonnes of primary packaging annually. This holds 1,263,000 tonnes of wet and dry cat and dog food, of which 9,000 uneaten tonnes are thrown away. Although this wasted food constitutes less than 1% of the total sold (if only we were as careful with food for human consumption) the estimated cost to the consumer is still £21m a year.
WRAP examined a number of designs intended to cut to down on the amounts of both pet food and packaging thrown away. A major problem with packaging design is the need to account for portion size, which vary from animal to animal and change depending on age and level of activity. Single serve packaging may actually lead to regular food wastage if the portion provided is too big for a particular pet; indeed, this is a problem I am experiencing with my own cat, whose appetite seems to fluctuate wildly (don’t panic, the vet has given him a clean bill of health). Re-sealable packaging that allows owners to dish out meals in accordance with the changing appetites of their pets is therefore preferable.
The material that packaging is made of is also significant: for example, relatively heavy tins are recyclable, whereas lightweight plasticised plastic foil packets are not. Pet food and its packaging can be pushed up the hierarchy by simply choosing a recyclable and resealable container which will allow them to adequately provide for the appetite of their pet. However, these issues are likely to be given less weight compared with health, convenience and cost in the minds of most householders. The onus has to be on manufacturers to develop packaging which is both low cost and easily recyclable.
Love pets, hate waste?
People love animals, but are rather less keen to engage with pets as an environmental issue. Leaving aside questions of whether it is sustainable for so many of us to have pets at all, there are clearly ways in which we can reduce their impact. The convenience of single serving pouches of pet food seems to win out over more recyclable and waste-avoiding alternatives, although they might be willing to change their choices if presented with a better option.
While worrying about recovery options for cat poo might seem somewhat academic, it may be easier to tackle than dog fouling. It might even help to tackle the common psycho-social root of both issues. Cultural distaste perhaps lies behind the lack of information available on dealing with household pet waste, and the persistence of dog fouling as a street scene issue. Things were very different in Victorian London when “pure finders” earned a living by seeking out doggie do to supply the tanning trade. But for us this kind of waste is a disagreeable fact of life which we deal with as simply and with as little thought as possible. But as a nation of animal lovers, it’s our responsibility to engage with the waste management issues our pets present.
Streetkleen to launch dog waste DNA program PooPrints in UK
2014 GB Eco Entrepreneur of the Year finalist Streetkleen Bio is pleased to announce a partnership with US Biotechnology company BioPet Vet Lab who specialise in canine genetics. This partnership will include the UK release of PooPrints - a program available worldwide that "matches the dog mess" left behind by DNA analysis. BioPet Vet Lab Director Eric Mayer states "In towns and cities across the UK with hundreds (if not thousands) of dogs the only foolproof tool in enforcement of local dog waste policy is through positive identification with DNA." The PooPrints program is used successfully across the US and Canada, having been introduced there in 2010. PooPrints has become recently available in Israel and Singapore and within the next twelve months will be introduced to Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands.
In the UK, dog fouling remains one of the most emotive and complained about issues, with 1 in 4 people considering it a problem that is on the rise in their area. Not only is it unsightly and unpleasant, but it has been linked to significant health risks especially to the youngest members of our communities. Councils across the UK have highlighted tackling dog fouling as a priority, but despite their best intentions continue to grapple with dog owners who profess to clean up, but obviously don't.
A recent study undertaken by Keep Britain Tidy estimated the cost of cleaning the streets of the UK at £1 billion. The cost of the DNA registration kit is £29.95 with a simple non invasive cheek swab being taken, then sent for analysis at BioPet Vet Labs animal genomics laboratory. Each individual dog is added to the DNA World Pet Registry and the dog owners receive a welcome pack with individual documents. In the event of offending waste being left behind the cost of the DNA analysis to "match the mess" is £69.95 which could be recovered through the revenue raised by issuing a fixed penalty notice, making it very cost-effective for councils to participate. Having the PooPrints program operational has led to a drop of 90% in recorded dog fouling incidents in many locations as dog owners realise they can be held accountable.
The introduction of PooPrints has coincided with the release of new legislation: The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. This replaces Dog Control Orders with Public Space Protection Orders. These new powers give communities the opportunity to set conditions to help prevent nuisances such as dog fouling and other anti-social behaviour that can be considered detrimental to the quality of life to those with a locality.
Streetkleen Bio, a North Wales based Enviro-Tech company's Managing Director Gary Downie commented "As a dog owner myself the challenge was how do we combine positive dog ownership with access to open spaces whilst ensuring we have accountability to local dog policy? PooPrints is a cost effective, permanent solution to dog fouling that helps ensure that our open spaces are clean, safe and welcoming for dog owners and non-dog owners alike."
The objective of Streetkleen Bio has always been to develop permanent solutions to help reduce the social, environmental and economic impact of domestic dog waste. In order to achieve this - knowledge is key!
Our research to date has shown that there are few inhibitors to using dog waste as a source of biomass to produce clean energy. In fact, for the purpose of proper disposal it can, and should be used for methane and biofertilizer production. This is in pursuance of the waste heirarchy, and meets our obligations to reduce biodegradable waste being sent to landfill, enabling a sustainable approach to better waste management practices. However, as with all fecal matter there are some nasty bacteria that can potentially impact human health, and we want to develop better solutions to help reduce problems associated with these pathogens.
So we have engaged in a research project with the Sustainable Environmental Research Centre(SERC) at South Wales University home of the Wales Centre of Excellence for Anaerobic Digestion. SERC is a groundbreaking research centre bringing together leaders from biology, engineering, chemistry, and physics united in a single academic team combining their resources and skills in order to meet the environmental challenges of the new millennium. Anaerobic Digestion research had been conducted at the University since the mid 1970`s. Over these years research has been directed at improving the fundamental understanding of this complex mixed culture microbial process, which delivers two main benefits to society: stabilizing waste and producing clean sustainable energy.
We are looking for between 6 to 8 friendly dogs to simply give us their poop, tell us their age, diet and when the sample "arrived" - and perhaps do a little bit of PR work with us during the 4 month project! Don't worry you wont have to send it to us through the post - we have safe and hygienic collection pots. We would prefer the dogs to live in the North Wales / North West England area so we can arrange easy collection of the donated waste samples.
We will be doing regular updates on the progress of the research project and you can keep up to date with the progress of the poop...and be able to find out just how much energy your dog creates.
If you would like to help us out with this project, please complete our contact form.
Streetkleen Bio: Helping to make Britain a better place to live
By Gary Downie, MD of Streetkleen Bio
Streetkleen Bio was the winner of the ‘How do we improve the environmental performance of British business?’ GeoVation challenge.
They say inspiration can strike in the most unusual places. For me my eureka moment came three years ago while trying to maneuver my son’s buggy around the piles of dog poo littering the streets near my home.
Everyone deserves to live in a nice environment and as studies have shown, dog fouling can really bring neighborhoods down, deterring both investment and visitors.
I was incensed that some irresponsible dog owners refused to clear up after their pets but I was also struck by the waste. In nature nothing is wasted, but we humans have an annoying habit of just burying things in the ground instead of doing something useful with them. What a waste of natural assets!
Dog poo, just like sewage and farm manure is an excellent feedstock for anaerobic digestion – a biological process that produces bio gas for heating and creating electricity. It’s a technology that’s been around for decades, but as energy prices soar and the impact on our climate of burning fossil fuels becomes apparent, government and industry alike are looking to anaerobic digestion as an important part of the renewable energy strategy.
A plentiful resource
As a nation of animal lovers, our nine million dogs produce a staggering 1 million tonnes of poo every year! Much of that is deposited in public places and local authorities in England and Wales spend a whopping £32million annually just collecting and disposing of it – usually in landfill sites where it emits damaging greenhouse gasses as it degrades. But its not just local authorities who have to bear the burden. Owners of accessible land, rescue centres and kennels have to pay around £130 per tonne to landfill dog waste – making disposal a costly business.
At Streetkleen Bio we not only want to see an end to discarded dog waste on our streets, in our parks and blighting our countryside, we also want to see this valuable resource put to good use. So we’ve developed localised, robust and scalable anaerobic digestion solutions capable of providing an alternative dog waste disposal method that not only reduces costs, but also recycles nutrients and creates valuable bio gas.
Over half (56 per cent) of UK local authorities have identified dog waste collection and disposal as an area for cost and efficiency improvements. Thanks to our GeoVation award we’re in the process of developing geo-location based services that can help them do just that.
Our award has also helped us to engage with the dog loving public. Our new mobile app has been developed using the latest academic research into the barriers to behavioural change in dog walkers. Designed to use geo-location data to help walkers find the nearest waste bin, the app also educates and engages the public, providing an essential step towards building a strong sense of community cohesion around the issue and encouraging people to take pride in their local area.
It’s been an incredible year for Streetkleen Bio since winning the GeoVation challenge. It’s really helped put us on the map and things are set to get even more exciting from here, but more about that next time!
We’re absolutely committed to helping people in Britain live in better places, and we wish all of this year’s challengers the very best of luck with their submissions.
Now when your dog leaves his calling card on the neighbor's lawn, his name may really be on it. An apartment complex in USA will start collecting dogs' DNA to find out which owners are leaving waste behind. This month, dogs that live in the apartment complex will have their DNA collected and put in a database. The initiative is also helping to keep harmful bacteria from littering the grass and pavements, and also saving the property money on cleanup.
"This is a way for everyone to go green," one dog owner remarked. "There's a bigger awareness about the environmental issues,". Oftentimes, waste that's left behind can end up getting into the water system, she added.
She said most residents like DNA registration being implemented in their apartment complexes since it keeps the area cleaner. "They don't want their dog or their children getting into that mess."
The DNA registration process is relatively straight forward an not as expensive as you would be led to believe. Dog owners simply swab the inside and the dogs mouth and the resultant DNA will be put into a database. The cost of the mandatory swab is around £35.
Residents have to comply with the policy because it's been added as an addendum to their lease.
"We just were having problems with people not picking up after their animals," she said. When apartment personnel come across waste that a dog owner has failed to clean up, they can scoop it up and put it into a solution. It is then sent off to be tested. It's an easy process that doesn't take much time.
The property manager said residents will receive a warning the first time their dog has been identified as leaving waste behind. The second time they will face a fine and if it happens a third time they will be asked to remove their pet from the residence. The property manager remarked the complex "wanted to kind of keep residents accountable" for cleaning up the space on the property.
Residents were generally supportive of the initiative, resident Jane Ross, 65, said she's happy about the policy. "I've been grossed out by the number of people who haven't been cleaning up after their dogs," she said. Ross said when she walks her 8-year-old wheaten terrier Isabelle, she always sees waste left behind in the grass from other dogs, so she thinks the $50 residents have to pay is worth it.
"And since we pick up, we know that'll be the only time we have to pay," Ross said.
Another resident, Joe Johnson, 28, said he also supports the new policy. He takes his dogs Sampson and Stella out before work while it's still dark and has to use his cellphone as a flashlight to avoid stepping in waste he can't see. "From somebody that's dodging other people's, I'm OK with it," he said.
So could the same DNA database solution be used here in the UK?
Some progressive local authorities have already considered the idea with Hyndburn Borough Council receiving media attention back in 2012:
However, given the burgeoning UK dog population that has increased by 12.5% since 2012 , the financial, social and environmental impact that managing the over one million tonnes of dog waste produced in the UK annually. There is likely to be additional calls for a more structured approach regarding administrating the dog population of the UK.
The likelihood is that a reintroduction of the dog license would be required across the UK in order for the DNA database to be a significant tool. However given that micro-chipping is becoming compulsory would it be too much to add the simple process of the DNA swab ? We doubt it.
The benefits of a UK dog DNA database are massive. Especially to local authorities, farm owners and owners of accessible land who often have to deal with the sharp end of the dog waste problem. Having a DNA database that could identify individual dogs, and by association their ownership, would once and for all eradicate the nuisance of dog waste problems by ensuring traceability, but most importantly ensure that our open spaces are clean and safe for future generational use, and the term "responsible dog ownership" is not just a tagline.
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.