Managing poop

* A new project to compost dog poo has been successful for over a year.

A visionary project to manage dog faeces has been operating on Noordhoek Beach and common for over two months.

The Scarborough Environmental Group (SEG) has been using worms to compost dog poo for over a year, and have successfully processed well over a ton of faeces.

Karoline Hanks, who recently took over the management of the NPO Project Noordhoeked (started by environmental activist and resident Sonette Son two years ago), visited the SEG project, and was so inspired that she decided to apply the same model in Noordhoek.

With funding from NEAG and the Noordhoek Common Committee, four bins and boxes have been built by SEG. The bins were installed about a month ago, and so far, around 220kg of dog poo has been processed.

“The main objective of the project is to keep plastic out of the system, divert poo away from landfill and to process perfectly good, compostable, organic matter and turn it into soil,” said Karoline.

Two options are offered to the dog walking community – compostable bags and poop scoops. The latter are provided in a box, and the idea is that users use them on their walk and return them when done. This method of “scooping poop” is preferable, as it does not require a bag at all.

The cornstarch bags used have been shown to disappear in three to four weeks. “About R1000 worth of bags have been donated by Noordhoek Vet, and another 1 000 paid for by NEAG. The project is paying for the bags going forward, but we are always on the lookout for generous local businesses willing to sponsor bags for a few months,” she said.

“This project offers a more circular economy approach to the dog poo pollution challenge, and ultimately serves to protect ecosystem integrity and our coastal biodiversity. Now, instead of sending plastic-wrapped faeces to landfill – the poo is being turned into valuable, nutrient-rich soil,” Karoline said.

For more information on the composting initiative and for details on how you can get involved in supporting Project Noordhoeked, contact Karoline on 083 745 3060.