Yeah, you read that right. Energy from excrement. It sounds strange but also kind of like the coolest thing we’ve heard this week. The city of Waterloo has installed green dog waste disposals around three of their parks to collect the poop separately from trash. They’re going to be turning that waste into renewable energy. Pretty cool, huh? The excrement is being sent to an organics waste plant where it is converted into electricity. Yes, actual electricity. The city says they can power 80 homes with their ‘poop power’ at the current time.
The dog waste is converted to energy through a process called anaerobic digestion. That’s fancy science speak for breaking down without oxygen. The breakdown releases a biogas that can then be burned for heat and energy. Anything left over after the decomposition can be used as fertilizer. Looks like there’s nothing wasteful about that waste at all.
As it turns out, before the project, 40-80% of the 115,000 kg of the public trash Waterloo disposed of every year was just dog poop. According to the city’s mayor, Dave Jaworsky, the renewable energy idea was put forth by a local construction worker who owns a dog and figured there had to be a better way to use all that poop.
The city is trying out the program for a year with hopes it will spread to other cities across North America. Dog owners seem to be all for the idea, their only complaint being that the waste disposals are not as clearly marked as they should be. While the green disposals clearly call for dog waste, they do not indicate where that waste is going or why it needs to be separated from garbage. Well, that’s all part of working out the kinks during this year-long trial period.
We just think it’s fantastic any time people start using renewable energy. Looks like one dog’s waste is another man’s electricity.