Dog-waste composting sites in Boulder

Dry Creek trailhead

Bobolink trailhead

Sanitas Valley Trail, southern end

Valmont Dog Park

Boulder will begin composting dog waste at three select trailheads Tuesday in an effort to reduce the amount of excrement being sent to area landfills.

The 90-day trial program is being rolled out at the Dry Creek trailhead, Bobolink trailhead and the southern end of the Sanitas Valley Trail.

At those trailheads, Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks department is installing new compost-specific bins and will provide compostable bags for collecting poop.

Though final numbers aren't yet available, the city has budgeted $10,000 for the project, said Phil Yates, parks and open space spokesman.

Each compostable bag, made by Washington-based Custom Bioplastics, costs 5.5 cents, he said.

Yates said that thanks to about 2 million dog visits each year, crews remove 25 tons to 30 tons of dog waste from open space trash cans — enough to keep Longmont-based composting company EnviroWagg busy.

EnviroWagg, which also composts waste from Valmont Dog Park, is partnering with Denver-based Pet Scoop, which will collect the excrement.

EnviroWagg also composts waste from parks in Westminster, Thornton, Broomfield and Englewood, and a number of businesses, including dog-friendly bars, veterinary clinics and animal shelters.

But Boulder is the first community to also provide compostable bags for the dog waste, said EnviroWagg owner Rose Seemann.

All of it — including the bag — can be thrown into the company's large tumbler and turned into potting soil.

"If it went into a landfill, it would simply stay there forever and produce methane," Seemann said.

Seemann said between 400 pounds to 500 pounds of dog waste comes from Valmont Dog Park per week, depending on the season. Since the program started there in September 2012, the dog park has produced roughly three tons of compost, she added.

Though many people already remove their dog waste from trails and open space in Boulder, the composting program will allow them to go a step further and turn the waste into something useful, Yates said.

It is illegal to leave dog waste on Boulder trails.

"People need to remove their dog waste," Yates said. "It can be harmful to open space lands because it can pollute water sources and cause noxious weeds to grow."

Near the Bobolink trailhead on Monday afternoon, Laura Hartle and Max, an Italian greyhound, had just finished a walk.

Hartle recently moved to Boulder and said she would be happy to see her dog's waste composted — as long as bags are provided.

"I'm an environmentalist," she said. "I hate to see all these plastic bags."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 , kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com.sarahkuta.