In 2017, Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) installed their green poop power dog waste disposal units around parks and trails. It is the first ever eco-friendly dog waste program that turns dog waste into green energy and fertilizer. Currently, they have 22 of these units and have diverted 41,000 kgs of dog waste from their local landfills which is enough energy to power 25 houses for at least a year. (Niekerk, 2022)
Waterloo has partnered with Sutera to implement this project (Weidner, 2017). The system works by allowing dog walkers to drop their pet’s dog waste into collection containers provided by Sutera. These containers are 95% underground to ensure exposure to odor is minimal waste is stored out of direct sunlight, they are resistant to hydrostatic pressure to prevent floating out of the ground, and the design guarantees that no dog waste is exposed to the surrounding soils. (Sutera In Ground Waste Containment, 2023). Any type of poop bags is suitable for these containers.
When it is time to collect the waste, it is lifted by vacuum trucks which empty the containers and transport the waste to a local plant where the waste and plastic is separated. (Weidner, 2017) A vertical lift servicing method is used to empty the containers and the large capacity of the containers decreases the frequency of pick-ups, making it cost effective (Thompson, 2017). The energy produced is sold back to the grid while the remaining collected waste is then taken and converted into liquid nitrogen to be used as fertilizers. (Weidner, 2017) These dog waste containment units are specially designed to be user friendly, safe, secure and fire resistant. (Sutera In Ground Waste Containment, 2023)
How do they work? (Niekerk)
Dog walkers can simply toss their pet waste into the containers provided and located in Waterloo’s dog park. The slim rectangular “chute” provides for easy access with little to no odor and exposure to the environment
When it is time for pick up, vacuum trucks will lift the waste into the local plant
Dog waste collected will then be separated from the plastic
The energy produced during this time is sold to the grid for green energy, while the remaining products are collected and converted into liquid nitrogen to be used as fertilizers for plants.
Where to find them?
- Waterloo Park, East - Waterloo Park, West - Westvale Park - Bechtel Dog Park - Blue Beech Square - Beechdrops Park - Chesapeake Park - Clair Lake Park - Dunvegan Park - Forest Hills Park - Hillside Park - Lakeshore Optimist Park
- Laurelwood Stormwater Management Area - Mary Allen Park - Anndale Park
- Mount Hope Cemetery
- Moses Springer Park
- New Hampshire Park
- Old Post Park
- Pinery Trail Park
- Red River Park
- Regency Park
- Rolling Hills Park
- St. Moritz Park
- Vista Hills Park
- University Downs Park
News feature provided by Matthew Lawrence Djuhadi, Cassidy Dodson, Abby Hoffmann and Jade Woods, students at Deakin University, Victoria, Australia
The Sutera website gives live updates on the amount of dog waste that has been saved from entering the landfill.
For more information contact:
Niekerk, Cari Van. “News and notices.” News and notices - City of Waterloo, 22 April 2022. Accessed 4 May 2023.
Sutera In Ground Waste Containment. “Dog Waste Unit | Sutera.” Sutera In-ground. Accessed 4 May 2023.
Thompson, Nicole. “Waterloo stoops to turn dog poop into energy, fertilizer.” The Toronto Star, 23 April 2017. Accessed 4 May 2023.
Weidner, Johanna. “'Poop power' project in Waterloo has smell of success.” The Record, 23 July 2017. Accessed 4 May 2023.