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Keeping America Beautiful – Doggy Style PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tammy Souch   
Thursday, 12 April 2012 04:06

Even though we should do our best every day to make this world we live in a beautiful place for generations to come, April is “Keep America Beautiful Month,” and we’re going to take some time to spotlight some past and present innovations in the pet world that have the potential of making a huge impact in the environmental arena. From “green” doggy parks to a street lamp powered by none other than dog poop, this article is all about cutting-edge ideas with the potential to offer real solutions in keeping America beautiful.

Back in 2008, Jackass Acres K-9 Korral built what it believed to be the first entirely “green” doggy park. While one may wonder how a doggy park isn’t eco-friendly – closer inspection reveals what sets Jackass Acres apart from your standard dog park. From the very beginning, the park’s creators were devoted to making as little negative impact on the environment as possible. The entire park runs on solar energy, and all of the seating areas were made from wood that had fallen on its own. Quite literally, no trees were harmed in the making of this park. With no construction crew needed to create it, no fabricated materials being used to make the benches, and no electricity being used, this park is definitely “greener” than the rest.

 

Two years earlier, the city of San Francisco began thinking about turning dog poop into power. As of 2006, almost 4% of the waste produced by the city’s citizens was animal waste – falling just shy of the amount of disposable diapers sent to landfills each year. Looking for ways to combat this problem, they began discussions with Sunset Scavenger about creating special “digesters” that would not only take care of at least a portion of the poop issue, but would turn it into something usable – methane. Unfortunately, San Francisco scrapped the entire idea in the face of the cost and all of the other kinks that still have yet to be worked out in the technology.

Fast forward four years and someone who doesn’t even have a dog takes matters into his own hands. In the summer of 2010, Cambridge, Mass. became home to the very first “Park Spark” dog waste converter created by Boston artist, Matthew Mozzotta. The methane produced by the digester in Cambridge is currently being used to light a park lamp. Sure, it’s not a large scale operation – certainly not enough to power even a small portion of a large city – but it has promise. Visit the Park Spark website to see how it works and keep up to date on their other projects.

There haven’t been many alternatives to dealing with the pet waste in our yards beyond throwing it in the garbage, or having someone else clean it up for us and throw it in their garbage. Sure, we’ve all heard of composting the material – but that can pose a serious health risk if not done properly, and let’s face it, a lot of people just aren’t interested in handling poop more than necessary. Green Pet Compost Company has given residents in their service area another option. What sets Green Pet Compost Company apart from other services like it? They turn that pile into pure gardening gold – compost. While the thought of having dog poop in your garden may not be overwhelmingly appealing, hit their site for information on the process and the safety of the product.

While we’re a long way off yet from getting ahead of the pet waste overload, it’s encouraging to hear that there are a lot of solid ideas out there, and we hope that this is a sign of things to come. It takes time to perfect a product or process, especially when it involves an entire city or county, such as what happened in San Francisco, but the more we go after new ideas and concepts, the faster progress will be made.

If you’ve taken measures to “Keep America Beautiful” as far as your pets are concerned, tell us about it below.

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Last Updated on Monday, 16 April 2012 04:11
 
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