Design, testing and implementation of a large-scale urban dog waste composting program

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Courtesy of BioCycle Magazine

In Montreal, Québec, many dogs are exercised in fenced-in runs in parks. Consequently, these dog parks are a high-density source of large amounts of dog waste, which is typically collected by the owner in a plastic bag and deposited in the municipal garbage. In 2004, an experimental large-scale dog waste composting programme was initiated at the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) dog run in Montreal, Québec. Dog waste was collected with plastic shovels, deposited into compost bins, and layered with sawdust. In two months, a total of 213kg (470 lbs) of dog waste was collected and composted, along with 33kg (72 lbs) of donated sawdust, in two research compost bins. After a year of incubation, the two bins produced 179kg (394 lbs) of compost. Temperatures in the research bins peaked between 40°C and 55°C but were not maintained long enough for conclusive elimination of pathogens. Participation by dog run users during the trial project was enthusiastic, and full-scale dog waste composting has now been implemented at the dog run, with nine bins being filled over a 12 month period. On an annual basis, this composting programme diverts almost a ton of dog waste (approximately 959kg (2,115 lbs), over 130kg (300 lbs) of sawdust, and at least 7000 plastic bags from Montreal's landfill site, and produces about 770kg (1,700 lbs) of compost annually.

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