Rescue dog inspires eco innovation

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    It makes Todd O’Hara smile to think of the strange course his life has taken in the past 12 months all because of dog poop bags.

    After all this is a man who, although he’s not yet 30, has a helicopter pilot’s licence, worked with the NZ Defence Force as a media advisor (including a deployment to Timor) and helped grow a tech startup company that specialises in real-time GPS aircraft tracking into a multi-million dollar business while living in Los Angeles.

    But even a man with all those credentials couldn’t underestimate the life-changing power of a Waiheke Christmas parade. 

    Having moved to the island a couple of years ago to be with his partner Jasmine Sinden, who owns Pet Connect in Ostend, Todd was helping organise the company’s float for the parade through Oneroa when he had his “lightbulb moment”. He’d been asked by Jasmine to go and fetch some dog poop bags from her shop to help deal with the practicalities of a float full of pets and was struck by the fact that those on offer were either marketed as “biodegradable” or were markedly more expensive if they were labelled “compostable”.

    Why, he wondered, wasn’t there a simple way to make a bag that was genuinely eco-friendly and genuinely affordable?

    When a little more research over the next couple of weeks revealed the shocking truth that even those bags labelled biodegradable weren’t really all that “green”, Todd realised that, although he thought he’d been doing the right thing by choosing these bags to clean up after his own dog Sven, he was still adding to the problem of microplastics getting into the environment.• James Belfield

    Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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