News Local

Vancouver begins dog poop diversion program at parks

By Eric MacKenzie

Pilot project will begin at three locations, but could expand.
File photo

Pilot project will begin at three locations, but could expand. File photo

The City of Vancouver will be paying a local company to help keep dog poop out of landfills through a new initiative coming to three city parks.

 

On Wednesday, the city announced it intends to contract Scooby’s Dog Waste and Removal Service to pick up dog droppings from designated bins, separate the waste from the bags and dispose it at a wastewater treatment plant. The parks receiving the dog poop-only bins are yet to be determined.

If dog waste ends up in a landfill, it generates methane emissions that are harmful to the environment, which is one reason why the city is exploring the diversion program.

The one-year pilot project, beginning in June, will cost the city $75,000.

“We’re trying to gauge whether or not having this service in parks will actually have dog owners put their pets’ waste there,” said city spokeswoman Kai-Lani Rutland.

“At some point following the completion of the pilot, the city will assess whether or not it could be expanded city-wide.”

Although the amount of dog waste that can be diverted from just three parks may seem small, the results of a similar program Metro Vancouver has been running in four of its regional parks since 2011 suggest otherwise.

On average, 1,500 kilograms of poop per month is diverted from landfills through dog waste-only bins at Pacific Spirit Park alone. Between the four parks where the bins are used, Metro Vancouver projects that 30 tonnes were taken out of the garbage stream in 2015, at a budgeted cost less than $50,000.

Metro Vancouver is planning to expand the program to more parks in the future as well.

The city encourages dog owners to compost or flush their pooch’s poop down the toilet, but only if first removed from the bag used to collect it.