Distance yourself from the waste.
Distance yourself from the waste.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
There are two common methods of picking up dog waste:
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.
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!
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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