Waste = Food: Systems Solution for Pet Waste
This was a project focused on finding a solution to the issue of pet waste by focusing on the principals of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) which requires the use of Systems Thinking. While there are existing dog waste collection services in some areas of the country, this system is different as it is not a residential (door to door collection) option, it utilizes public space collection. This community based- neighborhood by neighborhood- supported pet waste recycling system encourages direct community participation and convenience. Pet waste would be gathered at public “Clean Pet” Stations. The stations would supply corn based bio-bags for use to pick up waste. Residents would place collected waste in the nearest corner bin. Bins would be located strategically throughout neighborhoods and at public parks.
This concept “public” placement would solve several current issues with dog waste. The convenience would encourage people to use the system- drop it in the bin while on the daily walk. It would help eliminate the environmental hazards of dog walkers who do not pick up their dogs waste, either because they don’t have a bag handy or because it is inconvenient to carry the bag (such as when running or biking). Using stations instead of residence pick up will simplify the collection process. Each collection route would contain only 10-12 pick up locations that could easily be made with electric flatbed trucks which would be considerably more sustainable than the use of large, fuel based garbage trucks that would be required for residence collection. The collected waste would be taken to a collection facility shared with the cities lawn waste compost and would be put in a methane digester and used to create fuel for city recycling services. The remaining waste would be composted into lawn and garden compost and sold at local garden stores or through the city. Our city offers residents wood chips for a small fee. This compost could be offered in a similar way.
- “Clean Pet” stations would be positioned strategically throughout the neighborhood on street corners and at local parks.
- Stations would consist of a receptacle for the waste and a dispenser for bio-bags. All parts of the system would be manufactured from recycled plastic.
- Pet owners retrieve bags from station dispensers.
- Pet owners use bags to collect waste and deposit it into the station receptacle.
- Waste would be collected and bags refilled on a weekly basis.
- Electric powered flatbed trucks would be used for collection.
- Each collection “route” would be 10-12 stops. This would allow for small vehicle size and short distance routes compatible with the Electric Vehicles.
- Waste is taken to methane digester for two week processing.
- Methane obtained is used for energy to power city recycling activities.
- Remaining waste from methane digestion is composted with grass clippings and saw dust to create compost
- Compost is bagged and sold to residents and at local garden stores.
C2C – Cradle to Cradle
materials processing – Use solar income – Sun is used to heat the compost.
object creation – Create energy and nutrition for soil.
object transport – Small routes encourage the use of Electric vehicles
object use – Energy production for systems
object end of life – Nutrients for the earth