Ithaca, N.Y., has always held a special place in my heart. I went to college there and I have always credited the town as being the place where I learned to embrace my inner hippie. Twenty years ago (yes, I know I'm dating myself) before green was the latest buzz word, the residents of Ithaca had mandatory recycling, an environmental enter and the famous Moosewood vegetarian restaurant.
The residents of Ithaca have never failed to step up to the plate as innovators in the green playing field. And their latest achievement as dog waste pioneers is true-to-form for Ithacans. This year, Ithaca began a pioneer experiment turning one of its local state parks into a dog waste composting park. Now, when residents walk their dogs at Allan H. Treman Marine State Park, they can pick up a special corn-based Biobag to hold their doggie's business. Dog owners can then deposit their "doggie bags" into large bins near the park’s entrances. Bins are emptied once a week by a company called Cayuga Compost.
At its facility, Cayuga Compost will dump the waste into a pile and mix it with a bit of yard and wood waste (making sure that it is kept separate from the company’s regular food-waste compost.) But it has yet to be determined where the dog doo will go from there. Late next year, the folks at Cayuga Compost plan to run tests on the dog waste compost pile to determine the composition of the dog waste and what it may be good for. Nutrient-rich compost might be applied to potted plants or landscaping, while compost of poorer quality might just be blended with topsoil.
Either way, it's a program that is keeping dog waste out of the landfill and turning it in to something more useful. And the residents (and former residents) of Ithaca, NY couldn't be more proud.