Scary Thought of the Day: Our Landfills Are Mountains of Dog Poop

Jacob Paarlberg demonstrates how his flushable dog-waste bags dissolve in water. Photo credit: Southside Daily.

Here’s a clever business idea that, astonishingly, does not require downloading an app: Jacob Paarlberg spotted a pressing need in American society — how to clean up the poop of the nation’s 70 to 80 million dogs. Each day untold tons of doggie waste ends up in landfills — comprising an unbelievable 4% of total volume!

“We hear about the impact of diapers on the environment, and families often opt for reusable diapers to reduce their impact, but this is is something no one thinks about,” said Paarlberg in an entrepreneurial event hosted by One Million Cups as reported by the Southside Daily. “A child uses diapers for two to four years, but dog waste bags are used for a dog’s entire life.”

The solution? Flushable dog-poop bags made from the same water-soluble plastic used in dishwasher pods. Other entrepreneurs have devised similar solutions but they suffer from a common problem. Tying off the bag to seal in the smell creates an air pocket, and the air pocket can cause the bag to get stuck in pipes.

Paarlberg has patented a tear-away strip that allows the pet owner to release the air pocket so the bag flushes cleanly. Said he: “We’re the bag that won’t clog your pipes.”

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Yorktown, Paarlberg has chosen Hampton Roads as one of two initial markets. The other is Boston where his business partner runs a private-patent law firm. The start-up is looking for a manufacturer and hopes to have BagIt Flushables available at pet stores this summer.

Bacon’s bottom line: I love a great entrepreneurial story as much as the next guy. But this is the 21st century, not the 19th. Paarlberg’s business model is so old-fashioned. A successful businessman doesn’t just come up with a better idea these days, he gets a law enacted to put his competitors out of business. Paarlberg should have no trouble getting a local legislator willing to submit a bill that bans flushable dog-poop bags with air pockets. If he owns the market, he can scoop up millions in profits. That’s the new American way.

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5 responses to “Scary Thought of the Day: Our Landfills Are Mountains of Dog Poop

  1. Note to new readers: The opinion expressed in “Bacon’s bottom line” was totally sarcastic.

  2. this is actually a pretty interesting issue especially when it comes to the difference in settlement patterns.

    In less dense settlement patterns – it’s not unusual for dogs to poop unfettered just like the wild critters do … but in denser places with impervious surfaces it becomes an issue that results in bagged poop that then has to be disposed of and that poop will end up in three places 1. on the ground somewhere then into the storm water drains , 2- into the landfill and 3 – into the sewage treatment system which is also where the stormwater poop ends up via a separate pipe.

    In the suburbs – such poop can end up in the back yard or an empty lot but will likely just do what wild animal poop does… bio-degrade into the soil thence into the water table after being “filtered” – which seems to work fine for wild animal poop… undeveloped land with critter poop seldom is implicated as pollution… the creeks and rivers are just fine.

  3. Dogs are getting a bad name here. I would think kitty litter is the bigger problem. I don’t like landfills anyways, rather see the energy value recovered via incineration (done properly). Landfills make methane.

  4. this is not a real problem and I can prove it. Just turn this over to Dominion and let them recommend solutions… 😉

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