San Francisco and other Bay Area cities are looking at ways to reuse and recycle animal waste in an effort to stop sending trash to landfills by 2020. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the city is the first to try and convert pet feces into methane to be used as fuel. San Francisco has an estimated 240,000 dogs and cats.
According to Will Brinton, a scientist in Mount Vernon, Maine, and one of the world’s leading authorities on waste reduction and composting,
“American dogs and cats produce 10 million tons of waste a year, and no one knows where it’s going. That’s really beginning to be looked at as a nightmare.”
According to the city, animal feces accounts for nearly 4% of the city’s residential waste. Because many people toss pet feces into plastic bags, animal waste becomes somewhat preserved, a permanent fixture in landfills.
It has been proven possible to produce natural gas, electricity, and fuel from pet waste. San Francisco is planning to place biodegradable bags and dog-waste containers in dog parks around the city. The waste collected will then be placed into a methane digester (a low-tech machine that uses bacteria to convert animal waste to methane is 2 weeks). The methane gas can be used to run anything that runs on natural gas.
Some European countries, as well as U.S. dairy farmers, are already using this method.