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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Art sessions coming to Keremeos park

Four art programs will be offered in Pine Park From late June through July

Crews building structure at former Summerland train station site

West Summerland Station will pay tribute to railway history, serve as trail marker

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Tap Truck Okanagan launches as first location in Canada

The business is built on a restored 1957 Chevy panel van and ready to serve craft beer on tap, wine or cider

First day back; attending elementary school amid COVID-19

“… Social connections are certainly important for kids,” said Carmi principal Dave Ritchie.

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read