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

Salmon Arm consuming dog poop bags by the thousands

City 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

Salmon Arm seniors enjoy the outdoors thanks to Rotary

Salmon Arm club fixes up and furnishes outdoor living spaces at Bastion Place

Salmon Arm Downtown Activity Centre owner wants to keep building alive

Support from community in form of tenants wanted for heritage building

Shuswap’s Rust Valley Restorers team rolling onto Netflix

Mike and Connor Hall, Avery Shoaf see television show picked up by streaming service

Canada geese in the Shuswap: Beautiful milfoil eaters or poopy pests?

Numbers of geese increasing in the Shuswap to the joy of some people and dismay of others

Grass fire breaks out on highway south of Vernon

Highway 97 traffic slowed as firefighters snuff grass fire

Wildfire sparks beside Highway 3 west of Keremeos

A wildfire on the side of Highway 3 just west of Keremeos… Continue reading

Salmon Arm’s Hideaway Beer Badgers take semifinal win over Vernon’s OKG

Final goes Saturday in Vernon versus number-one seed N.E.T.

Summerland relaunches net metering program

Event open house will be held Aug. 27 from 3 to 6 p.m in Arena Banquet Room

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Jaws of Life used to rescue driver in North Okanagan crash

Single-vehicle MVI causes traffic delays on Highway 6

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

Salmon Arm teen competes in national lacrosse tourney

Toronto tournament to be held over three days

Most Read