Waterloo Expands Dog Waste Program
by Anam Latif for the Waterloo Region Record
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Waterloo has installed dog waste receptacles made by Sutera in four more city parks. - Metroland file photo
WATERLOO — The poop power craze is here to stay as Waterloo expands its dog waste recycling program to four more parks.
After more than a year, the pilot project in three city parks has diverted nearly eight tonnes of dog waste from the landfill and transformed it into energy and fertilizer.
"We wanted to see if it would work in all four seasons," said Rhonda Fetterly, parks technologist at the city. "I am beyond excited that it works so well."
The waste is collected in containers designed by Sutera, a subsidiary of Melloul-Blamey Construction in Waterloo.
Not only is the smell minimal, Fetterly said, but the containers are easy to use. Dog waste can be placed in any type of plastic bag before it is dropped inside. The containers are also emptied less frequently — every six to eight weeks — than regular garbage bins.
The waste is collected by a vacuum truck and taken to a processing facility, where the plastic is separated from the waste. It is then turned into fertilizer and electricity that is put back on the grid.
"People have called in to tell us they love them," Fetterly said. "It has made a much more pleasant experience in the parks."
Waterloo's success has brought 12 other Ontario communities on board as well, according to Bill Higgins, director of business development at Melloul-Blamey.
Sutera has 50 dog waste recycling receptacles installed or in the process of being installed across the province, with another 100 in the procurement process.
Dog waste is a messy and smelly problem for communities, Higgins said, adding that private property owners have also been snapping up the in-ground recycling containers. "The response has been phenomenal," he said. "I know a lot more about dog waste than I need to."
Sutera is also attracting interest from cities south of the border, Higgins said.
The pilot project between Sutera and the City of Waterloo started in May 2017; the first three receptacles were installed in St. Moritz Park, Lakeshore Optimist Park and the leash-free dog area at Bechtel Park.
Four more receptacles were installed last week in Waterloo's McCrae Park, Rolling Hills Park, Chesapeake Park and Old Post Park.
Fetterly said the city tracks the type and amount of garbage disposed of in city parks to determine which ones see the most dog-walkers and could benefit from a dog waste recycling container.
Cambridge was the second city to test out two dog waste recycling receptacles last summer in Maple Grove Dog Park. The city is reviewing possible future locations of more receptacles.