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Poop – more on the subject

Posted By Jody Purdom On January 11, 2012 @ 4:39 pm In Editorials | Comments Disabled

Hard to believe I’m writing about this, but here I am nonetheless. Slow news week? Perhaps. But the topic shows no sign of going away so I thought I’d add my two cents. To what am I referring you ask? Why, dog poop of course.

As you’ll notice, there is not one but two letters on the subject of dog poop in our letters section this week. One from a woman admonishing Sonomans to clean up after their pets. The second from Bob Edwards of SVDOG defending the Valley’s dog owners, most of whom do scoop their canine’s poop. If previous submissions to the letters section are any indication, this is an issue that certainly gets people heated up.

Here are my thoughts on the subject. I am a dog lover and owner. In fact, all of us here at the Sun have dogs and quite frequently bring them to the office. We also walk our dogs, not happy to relegate them to backyard recreation alone.

My newest pooch, Remy, is –how to put this delicately – a prolific pooper, averaging three to four “outputs” a day. Given that, I am never without my plastic bag. Every coat, jacket and vest holds at least one baggie. They are in my car, in my desk and I even recycle the kid’s clean-ish lunch baggies, hiding them away for future reuse.

My problem stems not from eliminating my dog’s poop from public places but rather, from condemning the now plastic-wrapped waste to the landfill for an untold number years. On that, I did some research.

According to Answers.com it takes plastic, in general, about 1,000 years to disintegrate. To illuminate this fact, it takes a banana about three to four weeks, a paper bag about a month, a wool sock one year, a leather boot 40 to 50 years, a tin soup can 80 to 100 years while an aluminum soda can takes 200 to 500 years to disintegrate. The plastic six-pack ring that holds the soda cans takes 450 years and a plastic jug takes – ready – an estimated one million years to disintegrate.

Oddly, the only other time I can think of that we doom poop to the landfill is in the case of disposable diapers. No real numbers exist for the landfill life of a used diaper but I think it’s safe to say that, as the numbers above indicate, any landfill-based plastic is going to be around for a long, long time.

So people tell me, where are the biodegradable dog poop baggies? The bright blue scented ones are all well and good but I’d be just as happy with a compostable, paper-based bag that I can dispose of in an hour or less. Don’t we all look for the nearest trash can when carrying our odiferous prize?

Honestly, this is an untapped market. Someone needs to get on this right away. Someone could be a millionaire. I’d invent it myself but I don’t have the time. But I would like credit. Call me. We’ll talk.

— Jody Purdom


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