First assignment of group n° 089
Resources used by the team
1. What Problem do you want to solve ?
The pets' hygiene is an issue in most societies. Despite the different threats in legislations such as getting fined and the distribution of adapted plastic bags, we are still facing important cleanliness problems in our streets; this issue does not only concern France but all big cities in Europe. This situation bothers and it seems to be no solution is efficient enough. For instance, the plastic bags given for free in the streets are not used enough by dog owners. This results in dirty environment which bothers local people and destroys a city’s image to tourism, which in France for instance is a really source of economic growth. So the main issue is to collect the excrements into recycling process. Therefore one of the main problem in cities can become our raw material.
2. Why does this problem exist?
French population is currently the biggest pets’ owners per households in Europe (with 61.6 million pets for 66 million of habitants). Despite of the financial crisis, French population have found comfort by owning pets. Therefore this growth also means more dogs so more “natural needs” in the street. - In Fact, about 20 tons/day of dog excrement (dog droppings) that are dumped on the streets of Paris. There are almost 500,000 dogs in Paris and half of Paris keep dogs. The number of dog is even more than the number of children under 14. Despite the distribution of adapted plastic bag, pets owner continue to be uncivil. Another proof of this concern by public authorities is the last increase up to 68€ in the fine regarding such uncivil behavior. This problem is often pointed out by tourists that found France dirty. We concluded that the main issue may come from the incentives missing to push people to do this effort
3. What breakthrough are you commited to creating?
The purpose of main breakthrough is creating an incentive scheme or an innovation way to push collection of dogs' poop as fertilizer or new energy battery and so on. In this way, the environment will be better than before and leading a new recycle industry. Dogs’ poop seems useless but in fact it can turn into valuable resources. Nowadays it is easy and possible to transform this excrements into fertilizer. In this case this process will attract a good investment, the raw material is nearly endless in huge quantity (55 tons per day in Berlin and 20 tons just in Paris), and furthermore, the transformational operation is very basic process.
This collection would enable us to sell this “final product” to farmers and gardening shops. Create a positive momentum that would push dog’s owners or even walkers to collect excrement.
To achieve this project, several solutions can be highlighted:
1.Find a way to collect and store this “raw material” in order to recycle it and to make it useful for society such as fertilizer.
2.Offering pecuniary reward to encourage to collect and be more respectful.
3.Offering dog’s shops discount coupon with several partners.
If this project works, streets will be cleaner, we found a new way to use this undesirable outcome; and we contribute to answer organic fertilizer’s demand.
Potential experts already identified
We interviewed a city hall deputy from a small town in Brittany who is willing to stay anonymous.
We also interviewed a Farmer that has used this system for its exploitation, Mr Brosset and that works directly with the France Ecologie Energie, and with the Ministry of Agriculture.''
How valuable are our trashes?
The project may seem unrealisable and too ambitious for a lot of stakeholders.
The scepticism born from this project is understandable however, this issue is real.
The researches tend to show that there is a real solution regarding streets’ hygiene. The idea arising is to enhance the awareness of the existing recycling processes.
This recycling process already exists. It is known as methanation, this process is used in very few cases by private individuals. The “France Ecology Energy” label highlighted and showcased a farmer who creates its own methanation process to grow and harvest its fruits and vegetables (see video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynSNibF79Z0).
The main challenge was to understand if this was a process applicable to dog’s droppings. In our interview, Mr Brosset, the pioneer confirmed that this process was applicable to this purpose.
The methanation also called anaerobic digestion is the degradation process of the organic matter (dog droppings), which is contained in agricultural substrate as fertilizer or manure. The digestion is done thanks to microorganism and bacterium, which are naturally present in organic trashes. The degradation in the digester is done through three stages:
- Hydrolysis: Animal droppings are transformed in simple molecules.
- Acidogenesis: Molecules are transformed into hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Methanogenesis: transformation into biogas.
These 3 steps are easily realisable; our problematic is about the business model to make the project viable. The other problematic we are going to be facing concerns the collection of dogs’ droppings.
However, the farmer confirmed the feasibility of the project giving positive additional information: he told that in cities, most of the trash could be used in recycling process. Dog droppings for instance combined with fruits’ peels or vegetables leftovers can offer an important renewable energy.
These feedbacks offered us a new point of view on this issue: it turned out that most of our organic leftovers (fruits, vegetables and dog droppings) are an under-estimated source of “green” energy.
No less than 4 different energies can be created out of trashes. They can have a second use as:
- Heat energy
- Car energy
In our fight against this plague, our interview with the city hall confirmed that politicians are concerned about the negative impacts of waste. Most of them are not aware of the existing solutions, and do not know that it can be valued.
The waste issues are nowadays an important matter in our society, but the communication done around it tend to show the negative aspect it has, rather than motivating people to act in order to take advantage of the different recycling processes.
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