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Poop Power Being Sniffed Out In San Francisco

The poo-poopy-do is going to light up the city of San Francisco.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco CA (AFP) Feb 22, 2006
The US city renowned for its 1960s anti-war "flower power" is exploring a more malodorous future - that of poop power. San Francisco city officials have directed their contracted trash-handling company to devise a system of turning pet droppings into methane gas that could be used as fuel for home heating, electricity generation or other needs.

"Conversion is certainly possible," Robert Reed of Norcal Waste Systems Inc. told AFP on Tuesday. "We are working on things, but nothing is far enough along to show you."

The directive was issued after a study revealed that 3.8 percent of the residential garbage collected in San Francisco consisted of "dog poop, cat poop or other animal waste," according to Reed.

Elected city leaders have a self-imposed deadline of diverting all waste from landfills by the year 2020. That goal has been neared or reached in Sweden, Switzerland and Germany, Reed said.

The technology is available to compost, recycle or otherwise use 85 percent of people's trash, and it is feasible to implement legislation to compel manufacturers to take back the remaining 15 percent, according to Reed.

The last trash study conducted in San Francisco resulted in creation of a program in 1996 to collect food scraps from restaurants and compost them for use in vineyards and farms.

Norcal now collects 300 tons of food scraps daily in the city and the compost is used in Northern California's chic wine country and other growing regions.

The program has expanded to other California cities and is being eyed by other countries, Reed said.

It was too early to tell whether a pet poop power program had the same potential for success.

"It's a fun story, a real scoop, but beneath the humor we are a company that tries to expand the box," Reed said. "It may take several months just to plan it. When we do it, we want to do it right."

Source: Agence France-Presse

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