SIXTEEN-year-old Balnarring resident Matty Meysztowicz has always had a healthy fascination with dog poo, recycling and innovation, not unusual interests given the teenager’s background.
It has become something of a Meysztowicz family tradition to think ahead and plan for the future.
The young Meysztowicz, whose father Ed runs a recycling plant in the south eastern suburbs, has an innovative idea to solve the problem of discarded dog poo and the plastic bags used by owners to pick up and dispose of the mess.
The avid dog lover says he came up with the idea after seeing too many plastic-based dog poo bags ending up in waste bins, or worse, on the ground or thrown in the bushes.
“Dog poo is a problem for neighbourhoods, it’s no secret, dog poo bags aren’t the most environmentally responsible product,” Matty Meysztowicz said.
“So, having some knowledge of the recycling industry and seeing the need to make dog poo and dog poo bags more environmentally friendly, I thought of recycling them and rewarding dog owners who do the right thing.
“Everybody hates stepping on dog poo, everybody hates seeing dog poo while walking, but most people love dogs and enjoy being dog owners.”
Meysztowicz has invented Bird Bags, a social enterprise with a goal to build a company that he says “thinks differently, to service and improve the dog market while considering sustainability and the greater good of the planet”.
Globally, more than 500 million plastic dog poo bags are used annually, that’s 942 million kilograms of plastic waste going to landfills.
“Here at the Bird, we aim to fix that and reduce that landfill number to zero. We are here to change regularly seeing and stepping on poop around the neighbourhood.”
His idea is to use 100 per cent recycled plastic bags and make picking up dog poo “a motivating task in four easy steps”.
The venture, which still needs financial backing, will encourage dog owners to collect free bags from one of Bird’s dispensers at dog hot spots around the Mornington Peninsula.
Owners will then be expected to pick up the poo and drop it in a designated bin next to the dispenser. They can then scan a QR code on the bin to receive 10 per cent off “selected” dog products from a company “sponsor of the month”. For every 10 bags scanned, a meal is provided at a dog shelter.
“Not only is the dog owner rewarded, but can feel proud to contribute to giving a homeless dog a meal,” he said.
“At the end of each month, signs will be displayed to share with the community how many meals were donated in the previous month and to introduce the new sponsor of the month.”
Behind the scenes, bins are emptied and taken to his father’s recycling factory where they are shredded, placed in a boiler with water to separate the plastics from the poo.
The plastic will be washed and sanitised, then melted at 200 degrees to produce the next batch of bags, “making Bird a waste-free company”.
“We boil the dog poo to kill any bacteria and parasites present – result is a syrup-like fertiliser, high in nitrogen and phosphorous,” he said.
“Nitrogen is critical for plant growth and is considered the most important ingredient in fertiliser, making cleansed dog poo the perfect plant food for farmers, council and public.”
Meysztowicz said he came up with the idea during a school project and believes it could change “the perspective of the boring act of picking up a dog poo”.
Potential sponsors wanting more information can phone Matty Meysztowicz on 0492 857 522.