SPOKANE, Wash --- A Washington state startup is set to launch the country’s first companion-pet composting facility.
Paul Tschetter and Greg Schoenbachler will present their startup pet composting business to veterinarians at the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association conference this weekend.
“We just saw a huge need here. You know we are pet parents ourselves,” said Tschetter.
The two run Rooted Pet, a 1,100-acre farm and composting facility in Tenino, Washington. It is located about 25 minutes south of Olympia.
Schoenbachler, a Washington State University graduate, and Tschetter began working on this idea about 3 years ago. But they have been testing the composting technology for the last year and a half.
They have eight pods in a warehouse where the animals’ bodies are composted. When animal remains are brought to the facility they are put in the pods. Workers add organic material and monitor the temperature and moisture in the pods. And 6 to 8 weeks later the remains have broken down to soil.
Tschetter said they have connected with a handful of veterinarians. He said they plan on working through veterinarians to find people who would prefer to have their pet’s remains composted as opposed to cremated.
"A very large percentage of people especially in the areas we are targeting, the urban areas, trust their vet when their pet passes,” said Tschetter. "We pick up the pet and we bring it back to our facility just like a crematory would bring a pet back to the crematory."
Rooted Pet offers owners different options when it comes to what they want to do with the soil. Tschetter said a pet owner can take the soil to plant something on their own or Rooted Pet can keep the soil and use it to plant something at the facility. Tschetter said they are also looking at reforestation organizations who might be interested in the soil.
Tschetter said they hope the loss of a life will help make new life.
"It's really just kind of the meaning that we are putting into this really traumatic part of someone's life,” said Tschetter.