Weird green building technology: recycling scraps into dog food

What do you do with food scraps? OK, some of them probably go into the trash can or garbage disposal, but you may also compost vegetable and fruit peelings and leftovers. If you’re really die-hard, you may even use a bokashi system, which allows you to compost meat and dairy scraps.

A new housing development in Maidenhead, UK (outside of London) is offering yet another alternative for those unwanted leftovers: turn them into dog food.  According to The Move Channel,

The system works by piping food waste for the 50 new build houses being constructed just outside Maidenhead, and storing it in a chamber for a week where it is blended and boiled, before being cooled and injected with enzymes that kill any bacteria that remains. This turns it into an opaque, jelly-like substance that can then be mixed with fresh meat and served as a canine treat.

I think the developers have their heart in the right place: their motivation involves reducing wastes sent to landfills, and they claim this invention could reduce those wastes by 80%. But this also strikes me as story about potentially hazardous pet food just waiting to happen. There are many foods that dogs just shouldn’t eat, and bacteria generally aren’t the reason why. Will there be a way to keep these “ingredients” out of this waste stream? If so, where will the end up? In the trash?

I do agree in principle with Howard Martin, director of sustainability for the Plank Housing Association (one of the project’s developers) that we need to think broadly and creatively about waste reduction… I’m just not sure this is an idea that needs to go beyond the drawing board. Small and/or large-scale composting systems could deal with these wastes in a “cradle-to-cradle” manner.

Perhaps I’m being too critical of a “revolutionary” idea… let me know if that’s the case.


Image credit: / CC BY 2.0