Vancouver is looking for a new solution to dog poop.
The city has posted a bid, which closes Sept. 17, requesting expressions of interest from businesses that may have solutions for processing dog waste.
The request follows a motion by Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung in May asking city staff to look into the issue.
Dog waste collection carts have popped up in six city parks since summer 2016. The pilot project has diverted roughly 25 tonnes of waste from landfills to date, but Kirby-Yung told Black Press Media the city has a duty to divert more doody.
“Waste management … is a core responsibility,” she said. “Dog waste is really something that has been overlooked.”
The former chair of the park board said the city has more than 200 parks, where between 35,000 and 50,000 dogs generate, on average, 124 kilograms of waste every year.
“You think about those numbers,” she said. “That’s a lot of untreated waste going into the landfill and creating methane gas.”
Further, she said the poop that does end up in the red bins is often in bags that aren’t compostable or biodegradable — despite what their packaging might say.
Each bag has to be cut open by hand, by contractor Scooby’s Dog Waste Removal, so the contents can be liquefied and sent to the city’s sewage treatment plant.
“They actually de-bag the waste, so in other words, they’re actually opening each bag,” she said. “That’s not scaleable obviously when we get into larger waste collection.”
Kirby-Yung hopes to receive a staff report on the issue before councillors start considering the 2020 budget later this year. However, she has received “a lot of emails as a councillor” since the process started.
She said innovative solutions for dealing with dog waste range from composting to using the poop to generate electrical power.
“I think the technology is really moving forward here,” she said, adding the request for expressions of interest is a great opportunity for a local entrepreneur.