WasteGuard  

Distance yourself from the waste.

 

  

 

Our Idea

Who are we?

Hi, my name is Flora. I am an engineering student, and like most engineers, I love to “build things right”: when I work on an idea, I will improve the technical aspects until I am certain that the product serves its purpose as perfectly as it can.

I love animals and I often dog-sit for people, and I walk my best friend’s dog, a big Labrador retriever, on most weekends. I am also an avid runner who observes dog-walkers on a daily basis. At the park where I go, I see uncollected dog waste, I see little plastic bags of feces left on the side of the path & often forgotten, and I see the garbage bin overflowing with the ones that have been picked up. I am passionate about the environment and really involved with this issue.

What are we offering?

I am offering WasteGuard, a little box for picking up dog waste while out on walks.

The cardboard component allows to do so with a much less direct contact than the ‘traditional’ way. Anyone who has ever had to pick up fresh dog waste by wrapping those commonly used thin plastic films around your own hand will know: you feel everything… texture and temperature… Yuck!

WasteGuard lets you put some more distance between your skin and the waste!

Additionally, it is made from recycled cardboard and compostable through the city of Calgary’s Green Cart program.

Here are some features that make WasteGuard clean and handy:

(Please check out my concept pitch for a full demo)

  • it is collapsible, to better fit in your pocket before use
  • you wield it like a claw, or a hand-puppet, so it’s very easy to manipulate
  • your hand never comes close to the excrement, the cardboard component prevents any “sensation” contact
  • once filled, you wrap around the handle-flaps for easy carry
  • once filled, the waste compartment remains far away from your carrying hand
  • it is available in different sizes
  • it can be reused several times over a single walk
  • once the walk is over, the entire item can simply be dropped into a green bin!

Who are we offering it to?

I am offering this product to any person who walks their dog and dislikes the way they are currently picking up the feces – whether this dislike comes from squeamishness or from a sensitivity to the associated environmental damage. In particular, I am thinking of Calgarians, who can use the city’s new Green Cart program to compost my product after use.

After I patent my design, I would like to start building my customer base among my own friends and acquaintances, then expanding to people in my neighborhood, and in particular, in the park I frequent.

Once I receive enough feedback, and possibly improve my design, I would like to expand my customer base by selling my product online.

Dog owners are, in general, a pretty tight-knit community, and I believe I can count on word of mouth and social media to do a lot of the work when it comes to extending my reach.

Why does that person care?

This person cares because she finds her current method of picking up her dog’s feces unpleasant, unsafe, repulsive, or just plain “icky”.

She also is environmentally-conscious and feels guilty about those poo-filled plastic bags that have to go in the landfill and emit methane, especially since she could compost the waste where she lives.

Our distinctive competencies

What makes me the best person to make this product is that I really am making it for myself and people who feel like I do. I have a relationship with many actual dog owners whom I see on a daily basis, and several have expressed to me first-hand the needs that I am trying to fulfill. This relatability, along with my engineering mindset, will allow me to build the right product, and I am certain that it will be recognized as superior to other offerings by my customers. Indeed, at this point in time, the small plastic bags are the only widespread method of pickup in Calgary’s public spaces, so my product would be first-of-its-kind in this environment. I intend to patent my design as soon as it is perfected, to prevent imitations.

The substitutes & alternatives

There are two common methods of picking up dog waste:

  • The plastic bags: this is the only method I have ever observed people use in public spaces, it is assuredly the most common. Users wrap a plastic bag around their hand, then grab the fecal matter with their hand and tie the plastic around it. Despite a lot of greenwashing around those ‘doggy poo bag’ products, the truth is that very few plastics are actually compostable, and that the qualities of such compostable plastics make them rather inadequate for handling feces.
  • The scoopers: these devices allow users to grab the waste with a long pole (or two) and deposit it elsewhere. These are almost exclusively used in yards as they are too cumbersome to carry on walks and would also require a plastic bag to be carried along, leading to the same issue of preventing the composting. They also require regular cleaning, especially if they are used to pick up fresh feces.

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Our Pitch

Our concept pitch

Our personal pitch

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The Value

Our first key person

My first key person is the squeamish person who walks her dog and, by law, has to pick up her dog’s waste. Like all the people she had ever observed on streets and at the park, she uses those little rolls of plastic bags made specifically for that purpose. But she hates feeling the feces through the thin plastic, and she hates having to carry those bags around for the rest of the walk. Once she finally reaches a bus stop or the entrance of the park, she has to open that disgusting garbage bin, already stinking and overflowing with a week’s worth of those little bags.

Our second key person

My second key person is the person who walks his dog and cares a lot about the environment. He currently uses those plastic bags to pick up waste, but is not squeamish at all about it. However, he is informed about the environmental cost of those plastic bags and does not have many options to use Calgary’s composting program, short of carrying a spade and a paper bag while out at the park. He needs a more practical option than that!

Our third key person

My third key person is not a customer but a likely supporter of my venture. The city of Calgary has set the goal of diverting 70% of waste from landfills by 2025 (http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/WRS/Pages/About-WRS/About-WRS.aspX). As of 2016, there were over 135,000 dogs in Calgary (http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/calgarys-dog-population-soars-as-cat-ownership-plummets). That accounts for a literal ton of dog feces which, instead of being composted, has to be transported to landfills where it will emit CO2 and, even worse, methane. (Additionally, thousands of plastic bags are also used daily – with all the environmental damage that entails – for this single purpose). Any person linked to Calgary’s waste management project would likely support a product that offers a solution to this issue.

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Your feedback and ideas

Feedback on our idea and your assessment of it are incredibly important. Please provide yours below.

Giving feedback and making an assessment are pretty straightforward, but make sure you know how it's done »

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3 Comments

  1. Customer (C)

    8

    Value proposition (VP)

    7.5

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    10

    People (P) on the team

    9

    Offering (O)

    8.5

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8

    This product is great for all dog owners! This product has the potential to eliminate the problem many dog owners face. The designer really put a lot of thought into developing a product that will not only solve the problem but also made it eco-friendly. I really like this product because I also care for the environment as well. I would definitely recommend this product to all my friends who have dogs!

  2. Customer (C)

    10

    Value proposition (VP)

    9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    8

    People (P) on the team

    9

    Offering (O)

    9.5

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8.5

    I personally do not have a pet dog, however, I can definitely see the value of this product for dog owners. This is a great alternative to what the current practices are, and I am sure there will be a huge market for this product!

  3. Customer (C)

    10

    Value proposition (VP)

    10

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    8

    People (P) on the team

    10

    Offering (O)

    7

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8.5

    Definitely product that Calgarian dog owners/walkers would benefit from. The current lack of availability for any ACTUALLY certified compostable “poo bags” is certainly a problem that needs be addressed.