A dispenser for biodegradable dog poop bags in Salmon Arm might be changed to compostables. (File photo)

Shuswap consuming dog poop bags by the thousands

The City of Salmon Arm to look into replacing current bags with compostables

While picking up doggy deposits might not be particularly popular, the little bags the City of Salmon Arm provides for the job certainly are.

The city is spending $17,000 to $20,000 per year on the white plastic poop bags found in dispensers in city parks and other public places, says Rob Niewenhuizen, director of public works and engineering.

At an average wholesale price of five cents each, in 2018 that amounted to 340,000 little bags per year – or, if they were divided between the 17,000-plus people who live in Salmon Arm, dog owners or not, that’s 20 bags each.

“They’re not always used by people with dogs,” says Niewenhuizen. “They’re used for water balloons, they’re played with – we find them around.”

Related link: Peeved about poop

Not to mention, some dog owners simply ignore their dog’s droppings.

“It’s a fairly large cost, and we still find a lot of dog feces in our parks.”

City council plans to ban plastic bags in Salmon Arm beginning July 1 to coincide with the start of organic curbside pick-up.

Resident Jacki Dodds wrote to council to express her appreciation for the plan, but she also asked that the biodegradable doggy doo bags currently in use be replaced with compostable ones.

The difference is that biodegradable bags must go in the landfill where they break down more slowly – in about three to six months according to some estimates – than compostable ones, but more quickly than other plastics which can take hundreds of years.

Related link: Salmon Arm plans to ban single use plastic bags

Several Internet sites state that the biodegradable plastics in question are made from petrochemicals but contain additives which enhance their breakdown in the landfill, while the compostables are made from renewable raw materials like cornstarch. They break down completely without leaving toxic residue.

Niewenhuizen says staff have contacted a couple of compostable bag manufacturers and the prices are similar to the bags already in use. The expense would be replacing the 30 or so dispensers at $150 each.

Also, the compostable bags are best disposed of in a commercial composting program.

“We’re still determining with our compostable program if we allow dog waste with our food waste…”

Niewenhiuzen said staff will likely compile a report to address the unknowns in switching to compostable bags. What won’t be known, however, is if the public will continue to consume them in the hundreds of thousands.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Revelstoke ladies make 2,200 cabbage rolls for charity

The money raised was donated to former NHL player Aaron Volpatti, who is raising funds for ALS

Revelstoke Golf Club open weeks early

The club didn’t open until May last year

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Clear skies and pushing 20 C

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny and warm Easter weekend

Revelstoke roads and weather: mix of sun and cloud

Heavy rains have destabilized the snowpack. Be careful in the backcountry

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Vernon photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates stops by Okanagan café

Coates was spotted in West Bank’s Kekuli Café on April 20

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read