A wonderful story about ‘Zoo poo.’

Apropos a recent Babel-on-the-Bay story about our backward burghers of Babel who run our small city, there was a delightful story in the Toronto Star the other day about a different kind of poop. And if you think poop is poop, you have never wandered too far at the Toronto Zoo. It is all fecal matter but the animals at that great Zoo produce some 3000 tonnes of it per year. Now that might be small change to what the citizens of Babel can produce in a year but at least the Toronto Zoo knows what to do with poop when they have to shovel it anyway.

The story in the Star was about the new biogas plant the non-profit ZooShare Biogas Co-operative is building. The good news is that it is not costing the taxpayers a nickel. Smart Toronto Zoo members have already bought $755,000 in seven-per cent, seven-year bonds and the rest of the $2 million worth of bonds needed are going on sale to the general public. It is hoped the plant will be in operation by the end of 2014.

The point of this story is that the Zoo entrepreneurs know their chemistry. They know that poop by itself is not the answer. It is the same point that Babel-on-the-Bay tried to make with the burghers of Babel. The Zoo people have made a deal with a large grocery chain to take 15,000 tonnes of food waste off their hands each year. Combined with the animal poop, they have an effective biogas production that will provide revenues from electrical generation, hot water for heating, tipping fees from the grocery stores and the sale of high quality fertilizer. The Zoo is even going to get ten per cent of the revenues for supplying the land.

The difference when you use human poop is that we have these convenient sewage systems that direct the poop to just where it is needed without any shovelling. And, the point that Babel’s burghers cannot understand, you can add kitchen waste by the simple step of promoting garburators. People will be pleased to send you their kitchen waste without putting any strain on the delivery system. (It has been proved that garburators are only a problem in communities with combined storm and sanitary sewers.)

And even without garburators, why would we truck our green bin wastes more than 100 kilometres from town when the sewage works could better handle it. And why turn down an opportunity to increase your community’s ability to profit from increased production of heat and power and fertilizer?

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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