Posted on September 2nd, 2014

Outside the Box – Composting Poo

“Everyone Poops” is the title of an internationally famous children’s book first published in Japan in the late 1970s. It wasn’t until 1993 that it appeared in English, long after I had realized the truth of that simple statement. What could have been had I had access to that work of art in my earliest formative years…

So, we all agree, everyone poops. But what do we do with that poop? Well, for us humans, we let the inner workings and hidden mechanisms of our toilets and bidets do the magic work, and from there it goes to a sewage treatment plant. Then we repeat. Every day, for the rest of our lives. And we don’t even get paid for it!

But just as the title implies, animals poop too, including our precious little critters that capture our hearts and sleep on our beds. But they don’t have the benefit of toilets and treatment plants; no, they have the benefit of their “owners” following them around with bags and scoops, picking up their droppings. Then we carry them to the nearest garbage can where the poo in question is then trucked off to a landfill with our losing lottery tickets, skinny jeans and empty Doritos bags. Depending on the type of landfill, the garbage gods either bury our junk or infuse it with water to start a process of decomposition that lasts years, if not centuries. And we keep offering more junk with no reward, poo included.

But as our world has become more environmentally conscious over the years, we’ve stopped wearing skinny jeans (hopefully) and been more respectful about separating our trash, recycling more and compositing our green waste. But that dreaded dog poo still goes in the trash. Until now, maybe!

ElkMeadow_QB_60cmcolor_8_12_2012_ENHANCEAll dogs go to heaven, as the movie title indicated, but before they do, they should stop here at Elk Meadow dog park in Evergreen, Colorado. At 107 acres, it is the biggest dark park in the state. All that space doesn’t mean it is okay to leave your poo behind though; pack it out! 60-cm color image was captured by QuickBird on August 12, 2012, and comes courtesy of DigitalGlobe. Photo enhanced by Apollo Mapping.

Apollo Mapping’s hometown of Boulder, Colorado is a dog’s paradise. Unlimited access to trails, high-end shops catering to our pooches needs that rivals anything the Kardashians may need in their daily lives and plenty of loving, wagging tails to go around. People are pretty conscious about their respect of others when it comes to de-pooing trails, but now the city is taking the next step: composting dog waste. The city has recently set aside $10,000 for the trial program which will feature compostable bags at three popular trailheads. A current estimate of dog waste removal in the city’s open space parks is at 25-30 tons a year! Holy shit! That’s a lot of poo!

Letting poo go to the landfill leads to the production of methane and could lead to negative ramifications including excess greenhouse gas and depletion of our already ailing ozone layer. By composting the unwanted and unsightly poo, the “output” can return to the earth as a valuable resource for growing vegetation. However, you don’t want to use it on edible plants unless you can confirm the waste comes from a vegetarian dog; omnivorous dogs’ waste can contain bacteria that are harmful to humans if ingested. So, while the final resting spot of our beloved pets’ waste is still in development, there is hope that a better use can come of it. So happy pooing, pups!

Justin Harmon
Staff Writer

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