- A new program launched at the Starr King Open Space in San Francisco will offer compostable dog waste bags, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The company BioBag is partnering with the community's open space board to provide bags, bins and collection. City officials declined a similar offer at another park.
- San Francisco has about 120,000 dogs, which produce an estimated 32 million tons of waste per year. A large majority of this is currently being sent to landfills.
BioBag International is a Norwegian company with a subsidiary dedicated to the Americas which says this is the first project of its kind in California. Similar ideas have also been proposed in New York, where the waste would be used to generate electricity in parks via small digesters. The concept of compostable dog bags has been also been popular in other cities.
This could be especially useful for cities such as San Francisco that have bans or fees on plastic bags and are trying to reach high diversion goals. The city has been struggling to reach "zero waste" by 2020 due to a large percentage of recyclable or compostable material still ending up in refuse bins.
Creating new ways to capture this waste close to the point that it's generated — not as an unpleasant surprise for collection workers in a curbside bin — has a lot of potential. The U.S. is home to more than 70 million pet dogs and their waste could be a viable resource as organics processing technology expands.