Guest Blog: Eco Dog Poo Fairy

smiling woman on fallen tree with two dogs

Find out about using poop for power in an interview with Lucy, AKA the dog dog poo fairy!

Who is The Eco Dog Poo Fairy and How Did She Materialise?

My name is Lucy, and I was formally a dog walker from Hertfordshire, England, I’m also a holistic canine behaviourist with a strong passion in nutrition. My background in working with dogs spans 18 years now, so when I arrived in Scotland two years ago after having a well-earned break for a few months in the South of France, I naturally wanted to continue working with dogs.  Returning to dog walking was not an option, though, as I felt that the market was over-saturated, and you really needed local knowledge to make a success of it and be able to create a sustainable business, so that wasn’t an option.

I started thinking of other ways to create an income whilst looking for behavioural clients, and it struck me that if I skipped the dog altogether and went straight to what comes out the rear end, the poo would tell me what diet a dog is getting. I could maybe influence dog owners to think about changing their dog’s diet to help with not only behaviour, but with general health too, which can drastically cut down on vet visits.

How Did You Find Out About the Issue?

Once I started looking into other dog waste clearance companies and dog waste in general it also struck me that every single ounce of dog waste was ending up in landfill! This was something I wanted to change, so I started looking into eco-friendly ways of disposal, and anaerobic digestion kept coming up top of the list, to not only stopping it going to landfill but for being the most eco-friendly method of disposal PLUS giving the poo a purpose, by turning it into power and a fertiliser!

Have You Heard of Any Other Eco-Friendly Methods?

Whilst on this journey of discovery, I also found out about a genius man called Brian Harper, whom I’m now working with. He invented a dog poo-powered lamp post! It’s called the K9 Lantern and he has one in his front garden, with street access to it. It has proved a roaring success and, after almost three years of constant use, has now cleared a 10 mile radius of previously poo-littered streets.  The idea is to encourage even the ‘less inclined’ to pick up after their dogs. Not just the locals; all the tourists use it too (Brian lives in the Malvern Hills on a very popular tourist route).  I am in charge of getting these rolled out across the whole of Scotland and, since I’ll be moving there this year, I aim to get them rolled out across the whole of Derbyshire too.  Woohoo!

What Made You Want to Do Something?

I started looking for a biomass farm to take the dog waste…. only to discover that NOWHERE in Scotland takes it! Devastated at my discovery, I thought to myself, well, something HAS to be done about this! Apart from anything else, how do I start an eco-friendly company without the resources to help me? It made absolutely no sense to me as to why it wasn’t already available.  I discovered there was a dog waste company in St Albans (my home town funnily enough) which takes their dog waste to a biomass farm, so I knew I wasn’t asking the impossible. So why was Scotland not already on board, especially seeing as they are one of the world leaders in innovative environmental matters?  I still have no answer for this as yet.  

What Are the Benefits to Us and the Environment?

Firstly, it stops it all going to landfill and thus stops all that methane being sent up into the ozone, so it’s good for the environment. Secondly, the methane actually gets put to good use – POWER. And thirdly, it also kicks out a mean fertiliser to use on our plants.  The benefit to us is education and cleaner streets. I want to change people’s perception of dog poo. If we start looking at every dog poo lying in the park or street as a pound coin or a free cup of tea, then we might be a bit more proactive about clearing up after our dogs. There wouldn’t be any on our streets, or left on the grass in parks but, at the moment, it’s viewed as waste – just a smelly, gross nuisance that gets stuck on your shoe.

What Have Been the Main Issues in Your Journey?

I’m not the best researcher in the world so I don’t think I have got as far as someone with better research skills, to be perfectly honest! I am neurodivergent, so my brain flits a lot and I get easily distracted, so it takes a lot of effort to complete tasks and keep on track. I forget to do so much! Having said that, my efforts so far have led to me being on Radio Scotland, in all the Perthshire papers, I’ve done a podcast for Sustainable Scotland At Work, I’ve written to SMPs, and had endless zoom meetings, hundreds of email correspondences and tonnes of phone calls with the likes of Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Zero Waste Scotland, Councils, Scottish Enterprise, Circular Tayside, Developments Trusts, Laboratories and of course, Brian Harper, to name but a few!

My ‘behind the scenes’ work just to get this far has taken me eleven months and I’m still nowhere near finding a biomass farm to take the dog waste in Scotland, so it’s disheartening and frustrating. Oh, and then throw Covid in to the mix JUST as I was getting somewhere with Perth and Kinross Council. The main issues have been getting companies and the council to listen to me and take me seriously, getting straight answers from environmental companies and making the right connections. It’s very time-consuming, but hopefully should stand me in good stead as I now need to do it all over again in Derbyshire, whilst also keeping up the pressure on Scotland. Fear not Scotland, after such a hard slog I’m not about to abandon you just because I’m moving away! On the contrary – I’m looking for a Scottish business partner.

Is there anything else that The ECO DPF does?
a dog lying on a grass field

Apart from coming to your home or business, clearing dog waste and sanitising afterwards on a regular schedule or as a one off, I also advise on how to best dispose of your dog waste at home. I come to your home and assess your outside space, meet your lovely dogs and glean an insight of your lifestyle to then determine which method would suit your needs the best. I then install the system we agree on at our next meeting.  

I will be adding a lawn cutting service as well because the lawns need to be kept under a certain length in order for me to be able to do my poo-picking job to the high standard I like to maintain. I think we all know what it’s like when the grass is long to try and grab the offending blob – it can leave behind a yukky, streaky mess on the grass, which is pretty gross (another good reason to feed a raw diet; no more smelly, slimy poos).

What Can We Do to Help?

I need exposure, LOTS OF EXPOSURE! So many people don’t realise a dog poo-picking service exists so don’t think to look for one. It’s such a new concept in the UK so please, please, please, keep sharing my facebook page so I can help people who struggle with this aspect of dog ownership. With the nights drawing in, a lot of people won’t see their gardens in the daylight until the weekends, by which time the dog will have been in and out of the garden umpteen times and probably trodden in a previous mess then walked it in the house. Or YOU have!  

This service is for ANYONE who can’t do it themselves for whatever reason; work, heavily pregnant, mental/physical health, it really doesn’t matter, there is absolutely no judgement, I’m just happy to lighten the load for you. Let’s face it, it’s not a job anyone really relishes doing, so let The Eco Dog Poo Fairy sprinkle her fairy dust and get it dung & dusted for you!

Also, if you know anyone in Derbyshire with eco contacts – biomass plants, councils, small business support/guidance, etcetera – I’d love to hear from you.

UPDATE: as of the time of updating this post, Lucy’s website and Facebook page have been taken down. We assume this means she is no longer in business, and so we have removed her contact details from the post.

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