Wonderful World Wednesday
White Dog and The Other White Ones love the human ability to take something that is useless or wasteful and creatively find a way to make it into something good. Recycling to provide extended or new life and to lessen the garbage load on Mother Earth is vital if we are to keep our world green and healthy and wonderful. The White Dog Army applauds every effort made to Reuse, Recycle, or Renew.
There is a waste product that we pups produce in impressive amounts and seems to have no positive afterlife; finally clever humans have found ways to use our contribution to make the world more beautiful. Making flowers bloom and trees grow? Yes, my friends, pup poop is a mountain of miracle grow! Imagine if EVERY park harnessed our “gift;” our neighborhoods would be filled with beautiful green islands in which to romp and play. Check this out:
Who Knew? Upcycling the Dog PooBy JOANNA M. FOSTER April 11, 2012 The New York Times
It’s been almost three years since a grand experiment began in Ithaca, N.Y., and the results are finally in. Yet there’s not much to show for it — and that’s what everyone was hoping for.
In September 2009, Allan H. Treman Marine State Park in Ithaca generated a lot of buzz by introducing a pioneering waste composting project in its dog park at the urging of a Cornell University professor and other dog owners.
Nationally, some 78 million dogs produce over 10.6 million tons of dung annually. It poses public health risks if left on the streets, is harmful to the environment when left on the side of trails and takes centuries to decompose in plastic garbage bags that end up in landfills.
In the park’s experiment, corn-based compostable bags were placed in dispensers in the dog park. People who visited with their pets were urged to use the bags to retrieve their dogs’ waste and to place them in receptacles, Cayuga Compost, a local company, picked up the waste weekly for processing and composting.
At its composting site in nearby Trumansburg, Cayuga dumped the waste into a pile mixed with a bit of yard and wood waste. In 18 months, the company composted about 12 tons of dog waste from the park that would otherwise have outlived all of the dogs and their owners.
The end result was just two truckloads of compost. “It’s about a 93 percent consolidation,” said Mark Whiting, program manager at Cayuga Compost.
What is more, lab tests have shown that the compost is pathogen-free — a big concern, given its origins — and has a high-nutrient profile that is perfect for flowers, shrubs and trees, Mr. Whiting said. He called it a great example of upcycling, or taking something that is otherwise considered garbage and turning it into a product with higher value.
The resulting will be returned to the park to help fertilize new trees planted on Earth Day, April 22.
The park poo project, which costs about $5,000 annually, was financed through donations. Of that, $1,000 goes to Cayuga Compost, and the rest covers the price of 50,000 compostable bags needed to stock the dispensers in the park each year.
Ithaca is not alone in its quest to divert dog waste from landfills. Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto all have similar programs. In the United States, a company in Aurora, Colo., called EnviroWagg, collects dog waste from parks, shelters and businesses and sells the finished product locally.
Dog waste has also made its way to the big screen, thanks to the Australian filmmaker James Boldiston, who traveled the world — even stopping in Ithaca — for his lighthearted 2011 documentary “Dog Poo: The Truth at Last.”