Councillor now says it's OK to put dog poop in city trash cans

City Coun. Phil Squire admits he went too far this week when he he told dog owners they shouldn’t be using municipal garbage cans to dispose of their pet’s waste.

Phil Squire says there may be a way to recycle dog waste

Coun. Phil Squire had suggested dog walkers should not put dog waste in city trash cans, before backing down. (City of London)

London Coun. Phil Squire admits he caused quite a stink this week when he suggested that dog owners shouldn't be using municipal garbage cans to dispose of their pet's waste.

The Ward 6 councillor was concerned because people who live near some of the trash cans told him they could hardly stand the stench.

He thought it would it helpful if dog owners took the droppings home and disposed of them there.

But Squire told CBC's London Morning Wednesday it didn't take long for him to realize he had been barking up the wrong tree.

"I quickly realized … it was a non-starter. People just weren't going to do that. And I have to agree with them. It's their right as a citizens to use (municipal) garbage cans."

Squire now says it's up to the city to figure out a better way to deal with the problem. His concern is that the city's landfill will be full in eight years and London is only diverting 43 per cent of its garbage, compared to the provincial goal of 60 per cent.

And he thinks he may have found a solution. Squire says an official with a Waterloo company contacted him and said he has a better way. Bill Higgins of the firm Sutera has created process in Waterloo that recycles dog poop.

Squire said dog owners in Waterloo put pet waste is put into a container, which is collected by the city and taken to a facility for processing.

"They can turn it into fuel, they can turn it into compost, all of that stuff, so it's no longer going in the landfill."

Squire said he has put Higgins in touch with staff at London City Hall and hopes they can develop a similar operation here.

"It's a matter of what it costs and (what) the benefits are. I think you can pilot it …put it in a couple of dog parks. Try it out, see if it works, and see if it's economical."

Squire said he's hoping the costs of recycling dog excrement can be recovered. "But we've got to try everything we can because our landfill is running out of time."

Constituents are always right

Although perhaps a bit red-faced for provoking the wrath of his constituents by suggesting they stop putting dog poop in municipal garbage cans, Squire said did not hesitate to back down.

"When you find out people just aren't interested in (your ideas) or they think they're unfair, then that's what I go with. I always go with what my constituents say."

You can listen to this morning's interview with Coun. Phil Squire here: