There are those who see rich and fertile beauty in a bag of compost. Rose Seemann is one of those people, only the compost her Aurora, Colorado company, EnviroWagg, produces and sells hails from dog waste. As the website tells visitors, the huge treasury of turds collected by EnviroWagg makes for “Doggone Good Compost”.
For doubters, this compost is a safe and nutrient-rich soil amendment that greens up gardens. Professional composting “upcycles dog waste” into a useful product while diverting this nuisance material from walkways and landscape, landfills and streams.
How to pick up and transport the stuff is a vital question on the matter of pet waste. Many people simply use non-biodegradable plastic bags. EnviroWagg, on the other hand, sells compostable bags for this purpose. But finding such a product was not easy. Seemann says she has done research on the subject, and writes:
We searched for a dog waste bag formulated to meet ASTM D6400 standards for compostability that would be suitable for the parks and facilities contributing dog waste for our park compost programs. We looked for a U.S. manufacturer who would produce bags made from American-grown plant based material. These bags would ideally be petrochemical/polyethylene-free, non-GMO, affordable, and leave no harmful residues when they degrade.
EnviroWagg found compostable bags that met most of these requirements. Unfortunately, the bags were pricey. None were affordable enough for high-quantity park usage. Manufacturers promise that when demand increases – most likely due to plastic bag bans – the cost will come down.
According to Seemann, most community organic recycling programs don’t accept pet waste. Nor do community dog parks have systems that are compatible with compostable bags. Tying waste up in a bag doesn’t get very far, either.
“If you are trashing dog waste, tying it in a compostable bag does not give it a degrading advantage over plastic bags. Organics entombed in landfills are preserved, not degraded.”
Seemann says dog bags with a starch substrate are helpful to EnviroWagg’s large-scale commercial composting because it helps us break apart the film so that the waste is exposed to biological activity. But not plastic bags. The company has to screen out the plastic fragments before the product is ready for use.
EnviroWagg twist-top compostable bags appear to be a good solution. They degrade in the soil and leave no harmful residues.
Seemann is active right now with Denver Sustainability Park and the Colorado Renewable Energy Society is attempting to demonstrate something like the Park Spark Project in Cambridge, MA, where energy in the form of methane gas was used to burn a night lantern. More will be reported on this promising area of waste-to-energy as funding advances are made to launch a demonstration.
In the meantime, EnviroWagg’s compost is great addition to any person’s garden soil.