One day, we may live in a poop-powered world!
By Justyne Yuen-Lee
Credit: Instagram / @uofwaterloo
When most of us hear Waterloo, Ontario, we instantly think BlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion (RIM), and the University of Waterloo. Located in the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, the City of Waterloo has routinely gained international attention for developing groundbreaking technological advancements and churning out some of the most sought-after tech graduates. Silicon Valley, the stomping ground of the world’s largest tech companies (i.e. Google, Apple, Intel, HP, etc), has employed many University of Waterloo alumni.
Now, the city’s newest innovation may make you want to instinctively hold your nose (ha!). Through a new pilot program, Waterloo has turned dog waste into a source of power and energy. We’ll wait here while you read that last sentence again.
“Poop Power” is in.
Credit: Instagram / @julierutherford
Every time you pick up your dog’s poop and throw it away, you are throwing away potential energy! Who knew? We’ll say it again because it bears repeating: dog poop can be used for energy! To turn the poop into power, Waterloo will use a process called anaerobic digestion that occurs when organic waste breaks down without oxygen. Dave Jaworsky, Waterloo’s mayor, fittingly calls this process “poop power.”
It’s an exciting time as this pilot program is one of the first of its kind!
Credit: City of North Vancouver / CBC
Instead of just picking up your dog’s waste and throwing it away as you normally would, you pick it up and throw it in a specially marked green receptacle.
The bags of poop are stored for 10 to 14 days in an underground container. Then, they’re vacuumed out and brought to a power plant to be combined with other organic waste. Through anaerobic digestion, the poop transforms into a biogas that turns into energy. As not to waste the waste, any leftover poop is used as fertilizer.
The poop-sibilities are endless!
Credit: Instagram / @xobakes
Who was the brain behind this golden poop idea? A local man who thought, “There must be a better way to do things.” He brought his poop = power idea to Sutera, an American waste company, and the rest is history. Sutera is running the pilot program set to launch in three dog parks in the next few weeks!
Keep your eyes peeled and your poop baggies ready for when this program comes to you and your dog park.