Composting Project Puts 12 Tons of Dog Poop to Good Use

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A pioneering waste composting program in Ithaca, N.Y., is doing some good -- with 12 tons of dog poop.

The project, which began three years ago at Allan H. Treman Marine State Park, uses corn-based compostable bags to reduce the health risks of pet waste. The 78 million dogs in the United States produce more than 10.6 million tons of poop each year. All that poop can be harmful to the environment when it's left on trails or in landfills, according to The New York Times.

In Ithaca, owners walking their dogs were encouraged to use the compostable bags to clean up after their pooches and then place them in receptacles throughout the park. A local company picked up the waste for weekly composting, along with wood and yard waste. In a year and a half, the process reduced 12 tons of dog poop to just two truckloads of compost — a 93 percent consolidation, the program manager says.

The project, which was inspired by a Cornell University professor, costs $5,000 a year and is funded by donations. The group originally planned to sell the compost, but now says the material will probably be used to fertilize new trees planted in the park later this month, on Earth Day. Lab tests have shown that the compost is pathogen-free with a high nutrient profile, making it perfect for flowers, shrubs and trees, program manager Mark Whiting told the Times.

Check out the Times article to learn more about this and other composting programs across the country.

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