Friday, February 24, 2006

San Fran gets themselves out of the poo

A recent Reuters wire tells how San Francisco is planning to recycle dog poo for energy. It apparently makes up 4% of landfill, and of course can make its way into the water table. I often see dog poo when walking my Labrador, and get angy at people who don't have plastic bags with them (gee, it's fun in summer with the flies). But mine (that is, my dog's) goes into the garbage. When growing up, I used to bury our Labrador's "business", always fun digging up old stuff. It ain't much use to the soil - too much of something or other. You can buy kits to render it useful, always wanted to buy one.

But the idea of getting energy from it? Dogs have been a part of human society since we started to band together in villages, eating our poo and foodscraps, and providing a warning bark (they still do all three, just ask my three year old!!!!) We could do away with the problem of pet poo by doing away from pets, yet for many of us they are a connection with something other than human society (especially for the very urban and not very mobile), and barring a huge change in circumstances, they are here to stay. And hence this novel idea - to quote the piece:

"Dog faeces could be scooped into a methane digester, a device that uses bugs and micro-organisms to consume the material and emit methane, which would be trapped and burned to power a turbine to make electricity or to heat homes. Environmental scientist Will Brinton, owner-director of Woods End Laboratories, says dogs and cats in the United States produce about 10 million tonnes of waste a year."

San Fran diverts 2/3 of its waste away from landfills in the form of recycling. This is excellent to see that despite a backward federal government, they are taking big and novel steps not to poo on the planet.

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