Going for Green in Lyons
By Kathleen Thurmes, Eco-Cycle
Holy crap! Dogs in the United States produce enough waste to fill 109 football fields 10 feet deep every year!
And I imagine that we’re producing our fair share and then some in Boulder County, which has tens of thousands of dog owners.
So where does all that waste end up? That’s the question Rose Seemann, founder of EnviroWagg dog waste composting,
asked herself one day as she was watching dogs romp in in a park on her lunch break.
I started researching the subject. How many dogs are there? How much waste do they produce?” Seeman learned that for the most part, dog poop goes in the landfill, releasings methane as it breaks down. Methane, a powerful heat-trapping greenhouse gas, is really not good for the climate or the environment.
Seemann then got to work creating a local solution. She found a composter near Longmont who worked with her to see if they could safely compost dog waste here. The solution they came up with was an in-vessel compost tumbler that allows them to monitor the temperature of the contents inside. It creates rich dark soil full of nutrients and devoid of the pathogens that can cause worry at other commercial compost facilities.
The Denver Zoo has the manure from its herbivores composted, and farmers compost the livestock waste all the time.
But the waste from dogs, which are meat-eaters, must be specially treated because of the types of pathogens it contains. That is why dog waste should never be put in curbside compost carts in Boulder County, regardless of whether the poop is in a compostable bag or not.
EnviroWagg’s customized composting technique and dedication to creating a usable end product pays off in high-quality compost.
“The EPA has tested the product that we create through our process, and it has passed all the tests for safety,” said Seemann. The end result of the composting process, Doggone Good Potting Soil, is safe to use on indoor plants, even those that are edible!
“Neither the U.S. nor Canada have uniform, national regulations for the dog poop waste stream. Instead, regulation is left up to individual municipalities. In some places, dog poop is treated like nuclear waste, while in others, local governments are hosting workshops teaching residents how to compost it at home.”
The City of Boulder has EnviroWagg dog waste collection sites at all of its trailheads, where people can leave their furry friends’ leavings inside a compostable bag in a collection bin. Seemann advises that dog-walkers watch out for bags that claim to be “biodegradable.” “That’s not the same thing as ‘compostable!’” she says.
For those droppings that aren’t produced on a City of Boulder trail, EnviroWagg has community partners, including PetScoop, that will pick up dog waste at your house and bring it to EnviroWagg’s facility north of Longmont.
For more information about EnviroWagg, visit their website at envirowagg.com. You’ll find tips on how to safely compost dog waste in your own backyard and a link to purchase Rose Seemann’s book, “The Pet Poo Pocket Guide.”