Dog poop composting at park in Brooklyn

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Dog runs are made for playing and taking care of business. But what we humans do with the "output" is changing at the new run in East River State Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

"This is the only one in the state, and the city and possibly North America which has dog waste composting on site completely handled by the people here at the park," said Leslie Wright, the New York City regional director for the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Dog owners are picking up on the new system.

"It's very simple," said Aline Nealis, at the park with her Maltese Lucy.

"It's very simple, just scoop it up and put it in," said terrier-owner Carl Rinaldi.

The park provides poop scoops and paper bags for people to pick up the waste and deposit into designated compost bins. Park staff takes it from there, mixing the waste with sawdust and transferring it to larger composting bins.

"The recipe for composting is have a carbon source, a nitrogen source and mix them together," Wright said.

The waste is then cooked and cured to kill microbes and pathogens. Eventually it will be used as fertilizer for nearby gardens on Kent Avenue. But more importantly, it will keep waste and those ubiquitous plastic bags out of landfills.

"The little doggy poop bags accumulate everywhere, you see them in the streets, in trash heaps," said dog owner Matt Zaller. "Our oceans are filling with plastic so I guess anything we can use that's not plastic is good."

A lot of dog owners say they're all for the composting, but wondered about the smell, particularly during the hot and humid dog days of summer.

Wright says it's no worse than other dog parks where people throw poop bags.

"From walking into other dog runs, wherever you have receptacles with picked up poop, you have an aroma," she said. "It's kind of the same."

It cost the State Parks Office about $2,000 for the bins, scoops and signage. If the pilot program seems to flow well here, we could see more dog waste compost stations in the future.