Facility Profile - July 2012
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Dog Parks

Waste Not, Want Not
Various Locations in Aurora, Colo

By Dawn Klingensmith

"I can't say enough good things about the service and products they offer us," said Stowell, adding that it frees up staff for other tasks. "We're seeing remarkable changes in our staff's ability to handle other problems."

Airy attributes the program's success to two key elements: convenience and consistency. The program's crews put up dispensers at all park entrances, so dog walkers can grab one on their way into the park. Crews then make certain those dispensers are always stocked so park users "can count on the bags being there," Airy said.

The company even developed "service accountability" protocols to make sure proper maintenance is performed. Every week, crews take pictures of the stations and upload them to a Web site, along with data such as the number of bags used and dollars saved. In addition, a GPS-based app generates an e-mail when all the stations under contract have been serviced.

"It's such a cool system. It shows park managers we're doing our job," Airy said. "They don't even have to leave their desk to know we're keeping up our end of the bargain."

According to program data, more than 1.2 million biodegradable bags have been used at participating parks, which equates to over 160,000 pounds or 80 tons of pet waste that have been collected by dog owners using earth-friendly supplies made in the United States.

As word spreads, business is picking up. But Airy was surprised in the beginning that his concept—free poo abatement—wasn't an easy sell: "When I first came up with this concept, I thought, for the park systems, this was going to be a no-brainer. But it's been the opposite. The park systems are the hardest to convince" compared with sponsors.

Sweetening the pot, "It's our job to go out and get a sponsor. They don't need to worry about it," Airy said.

Poo-Free Parks: www.poofreeparks.com