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Going Green is Going Brown: Using Dog Feces as an Alternative Energy Source

By: Renae Hamrick, RVT

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While "going green" is becoming increasingly popular, San Francisco is taking saving our environment a step farther by going.....brown. This city is creatively using their love of pets to help their favorite planet. San Francisco is working toward using dog feces to produce an alternative power source!

The U.S. produces 10 million tons of pet waste annually, with about 6,500 tons of pet waste coming from the very pet-friendly city of San Francisco! Much of the feces is currently scooped into non-biodegradable plastic bags and dumped into the landfill to sit for years and years. Feces which is not scooped can enter and contaminate water supplies. Now instead of harming the earth, doggie doo can actually help Mother Nature with this new technology.

A waste pickup company, Norcal Waste, will soon be picking up park dog waste in biodegradable bags. This waste will then be processed in a methane digester, where feces-eating bacteria produce methane. From there, the methane can be used by anything which runs on natural gas or it can be used to generate electricity. This technology has been used and proven on European farms for about 20 years.

Dog poop is the ideal waste in this energy-producing process because of the protein-rich food which we feed our pets. The droppings should produce as much energy as food scraps, another useful alternative energy source. Together, 80 tons of dog feces and food scraps could produce enough energy to power thousands of homes!

San Francisco has already proven to be a planet-saving giant. They currently recycle 60% of their waste, and they collect 300 tons of food scraps each day, which is made into fertilizer. Including their canine counterparts in their green lifestyles will be a walk in the park.


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