One of the more frequent requests I get on the doorstep is “can we have a dog poo bin at X or Y?”
One of the stumbling blocks about increasing Exeter City Council’s complement of around 170 dog bins across the parks and open spaces throughout the city wasn’t the cost of the bins, or even emptying them – but the cost of disposing of the dog mess left in them.
That was because ECC had to transport the contents of these bins to Newton Abbot for disposal.
This meant a round trip of roughly 1.5 hours, depending on traffic, including tipping and weighing in/out. The journey had to be made 3 times per week. The cost of running this service (labour, fuel, wear & tear) were somewhere in the region of £5,460 per year per van and at one stage ECC had two vans running this journey. Gate fees were picked up by Devon County Council as the waste disposal authority.
The situation has changed since the Energy Reclamation Facility opened in Marsh Barton last year. As a result of this, dog mess can be used in any litter bin around the city’s streets.
Dog waste is now mixed with other street litter waste and taken to the Energy from Waste [EfW] plant for incineration – with the resultant decrease in disposal costs – DCC still pick up the gate fees.
ECC are encouraging people to put their dog waste into standard litter bins if a special dog bin isn’t available, as this minimises the need for more street furniture on the pavements and outside homes. We advertise this by way of a sticker on litter bins where we are seeing dog mess not picked up. It helps to reinforce the message that they can use a litter bin if they wish.
I hope these new arrangements don’t cause more stink than the waste!
And don’t forget, leaving dog mess lying around is not only anti-social and irresponsible – it also leaves the dog owner liable for a fixed penalty notice.
And it’s not only council enforcement officers that can issue fixed penalty notices – the team of PCSOs have be suitably trained and are now empowered to hand out these notices.