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Closing the Poop Loop

Posted Thursday 22nd December 2011, 8:44am

Closing the Poop Loop

Hard at work writing the project proposal. Heres's the executive summary:

As the dog population in Australia continues to grow, so will the issue of dog 'waste' disposal in a waste management system of increasing urbanisation, a limited amount of suitable park spaces and shrinking landfill sites. Therefore the aim to build an anaerobic methane digester to process the dog waste (and potentially other appropriate wastes) to create a biogas that can serve as renewable energy source (end use yet to be determined). The project will be broken down into four stages:

  1. Research, Design and Prototype (with the assistance of RMIT)
  2. Public Installation (temporary) at a single park for testing (site yet to be selected)
  3. Permanent Infrastructure
  4. Roll-out (across multiple parks and councils)

Should the viability of the project fail at any of the milestones, a redesign of the project will be undertaken to explore further scope and opportunities for it to carry through.

The project will respect existing behaviours of dog owners and public space use to maintain social capital; and the solution for waste management for dogs in public spaces will focus on:

  • Dog parks (fully enclosed, specifically designed) - different levels of provision, design considerations, dog and owner behaviour;
  • Cross­organisational planning through co-design;
  • The benefits of effective, integrated planning processes and eco­efficiency methods for adaption by local Government;
  • The place and benefit of policy setting direction; and
  • Lessons learned from international examples, including innovations using wastes from other animals.

However any shift in the system will need to be sensitive to any tensions. For example, behavioral or other systemic responses must not off-set the beneficial effects of the new technology or other measure introduced. That is, create a 'rebound effect' which may result in an increase in waste elsewhere in the system. 

The design solution will also ensure how people will interact with each other and the tool through its interface for optimal participation.

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