Welcome to BioBag’s Community Heroes series! Each month, we will highlight community heroes that are making a difference in their communities and working to make their local environments cleaner and healthier.
This month, we are taking a look at Pet Poo Skiddoo Pet Waste Removal!
Owned and operated in Asheville, North Carolina, Pet Poo Skiddoo is a pet waste removal company that began in Spring 2015. They are a proud member of APAWS, The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists and provide both residential and commercial pet waste clean-up services. You can check out a short introductory video to Pet Poo Skiddoo here.
We spoke to owner and founder Stephanie Chow to learn a little more about her organization.
What led you to start your composting operation?
Chow: I was actually a web designer prior to Pet Poo Skiddoo, in a great paying career, but I honestly could not stand working in a cubicle and staring at a computer screen all day. One day, I turned on my webcam to film myself while I worked…and I looked miserable! It was then I knew I needed to quit and start something new. Of course, the issue was my only skills were in computers, and I wanted to get as far away from computers as I could.
I’ve always loved animals and had pets throughout my life, so I started advertising pet sitting and dog walking services. That led to offering yard scooping services. Eventually, the yard scooping got so popular that I stopped pet sitting and dog walking altogether and just focused on that, but only a few months into my new yard scooping venture, I started seeing how much waste I was bringing to the landfill. Bags and bags of it every week, and it weighed a lot. I couldn’t imagine growing my business just to throw out more and more waste. I started doing some research and discovered that composting could be the answer to my problems, but figuring out how to do it was another story.
Unlike food waste composting that’s been practiced for decades – and there are plenty of resources on the subject – dog waste composting had no resources whatsoever, and, in fact, most websites discouraged even attempting it. With the small amount of waste that I was collecting, I had a finite amount of attempts that I could perform throughout a year, and it would actually take me two years to finally nail down a process that would give me consistent results – and later, through testing, would prove to be rich in nutrients and safe to use as a fertilizer.
Fast forward to now, and I have 6 acres of land I purchased for my composting site, I have two full-time employees, and I am composting 4,000 pounds of both dog and cat waste per month.
Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?
Chow: We service Asheville, NC and surrounding towns (Arden, Black Mountain, Candler, Fairview, Fletcher, Hendersonville, Swannanoa, Weaverville). Sign up at our website.
How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?
Chow: We take in about 1,000 pounds of pet waste per week.
Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.
Chow: Probably the best part of the job is spending time with all the dogs when we’re out scooping yards. We’re a familiar face to them, and often they will bring us balls and sticks to throw as we’re walking up and down the lawn.
Feel free to add any additional information about your operation as you see fit.
Curtis: Although I started the business with yard scooping, it really grew once I was able to start composting the waste. We now offer bin pickups for those with cats or those who are willing to scoop their own yards and want their pet’s waste composted. We also expanded to commercial properties such as apartments and HOAs where we provide all the pet waste stations with compostable dog waste bags – then we collect, sort, and compost everything that is collected.
We’re still relatively small and everything is still done by hand, mixed with pitchfork with no help from machines. We actually don’t even have electricity at our composting site, so all the light switches in our sheds are powered by solar panels. There are small fans we’ve placed inside the composters that are solar powered, and even the hose we use to spray our collected rain water is hooked up to a water pump powered by solar (my husband, who is a IT engineer, was able to wire that all up).
We also try to be eco in all forms of our business. All our computers are made from used IBC totes (with kits purchased from Green Mountain Technologies), all our bins that we give to our clients for bin pickup service are actually used Tidy Cat Litter containers (we remove the old labeling and place on our own Pet Poo Skiddoo labels), and all the buckets that we package our Critter Dirt (our fertilizer) in are taken from various restaurants around town who used them for storing pickles.
If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.