London

City asks Londoners to try out new dog poop composter

The City of London is asking Londoners to test out a new way to dispose their dog's excrement using a backyard pet waste digester.

About 20 people are involved in a three-month test project

Two weeks ago, Valerie Kerr and her husband Kyle installed a backyard pet waste digester, with the help of their dogs, Ember and Frost. The digester was provided by the City of London as part of their three-month pilot project. (Submitted by Valerie Kerr)

The City of London is asking Londoners to test out a new way to dispose their dog's poop.

Using a backyard pet waste digester, which is designed to handle organic waste that shouldn't be placed in a backyard composter, dog owners can turn their pet's waste into nutrients for their soil. 

"With respect to pet waste, people are quite surprised to find that dog feces represents about five per cent by weight of the garbage bag. That means in a given year there's a lot of material that's produced," said Jay Stanford, the director of environmental programs and solid waste with the City of London. 

"If you can keep something out of the landfill site, it's better off and if you can take care of it in your own backyard, that's much better for everyone," he added. 

The three-month pilot project began in July and runs until the end of September. 

Installation process fairly easy

Valerie Kerr is one of the 20 Londoners taking part in the pilot project.

"Since I have two large breed dogs, I figured it would be a good way to try and put some of that back in the earth and eliminate some of my waste."

A digester is designed to handle organic waste that should not be placed in a backyard composter, like pet waste. (Submitted by Valerie Kerr)

It's been two weeks since Kerr and her husband Kyle installed the digester. The couple own two dogs, Ember and Frost, and say the process is going well, but Kerr admits it's been strange not using bags to pick up after her dogs.

Plastic and biodegradable bags are not to be placed in the digester as they take longer to break down and can create a watertight layer that stops the digestion process. 

The installation process was fairly easy, Kerr said. The couple dug a hole, around two feet deep, and placed the digester in the ground, adding some rocks around it to drain any water. 

"The hardest part was we came across some roots from a nearby tree, so we had to sort of remove those, or move those around. But other than that, it was easy to install."

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