Zero Waste Challenge Day 10: Green Pets

The problem 

Massive amounts of dog poop litter I picked up in our neighborhood. Picking up after your pet is very important! Pet waste enters our water systems and pollutes it! 

Massive amounts of dog poop litter I picked up in our neighborhood. Picking up after your pet is very important! Pet waste enters our water systems and pollutes it! 

Just like people, pets also have trash problems! From poorly designed plastic based toys, overly packaged treats and food products, and plastic poop bags, our pets create trash too! More green products are coming out for our furry little friends, but we still have a long way to go until we get to a zero waste model of design and production. 

The solution

Luckily, the same zero waste mindset applies to pets as it does to people.

1. Simplify your pets needs

2. Think about moving from disposable items to reusable and durable items

3. Support local community pet stores and and let companies know you want to see more eco-based options. 

I've listed a few ideas and resources to create less waste for your pet! In our home, we just have a dog, so I've tried to include some cat centered items too! 

Treats and Toys:

Look in your community for bulk snacks and treats. Our local pet store has a selection of dog and cat treats in bulk. I bring my cloth produce bag that is specifically for Cosmo to be refilled with his favorite snacks. I sometimes even bake my own treats for him. There are plenty of easy recipes online to cater to all kinds of diets and allergies. 

Head to your local meat counter with a reusable container or jar and ask for bones that your dog can chew on. I've gotten them for free at times! 

Hemp rope toy. My dog LOVES these. 

Hemp rope toy. My dog LOVES these. 

Toys made of plastics and synthetic fibers turn into trash after they've been chewed and ripped up. Instead, think natural based materials materials like hemp, organic cotton, natural based chew toys, and mindful packaging like 100% recycled paper boards. If you have access to a compost, many of these natural based fibers can be composted. Steer clear of plastic-based and synthetic fibers. 

For the cat lovers:

The Green Cat Toy

Grow an Organic Kitty Garden!

Grow an Organic Kitty Garden!

 

Food:

We often make our dog food from natural meats and local veggies (happily spoiled), but we also have a grain-free kibble for road trips and in-between home cooking that we supplement with. We found one of the only compostable dog food bags from this company: Natural Planet Pet Foods

Poop:

Do your best with this one. The best option is to use compostable compostable pet poop bags. Even if you can't compost them, you're still eliminating toxic plastic and voting for better eco-products. 

Here's a great article on how to compost your cat litter: Cat Litter Composting

Doggie Compost: Get your community involved in dog poop composting! Here is a Denver/Boulder based company that has a few drop of stations where I live in Boulder for dog poop. They are doing great work to bring dog composting to the public: EnviroWagg

Ask for better product design! 

This is essential if we want to see change. Companies and businesses want our dollar, so letting them know you want better packaging or ingredients is important. Tweet, Facebook, email, or ask in person for packaging and products that are sustainable from design to disposal. 

The challenge

Next time you need a new toy for your pet, think natural and lasting materials. 

Invest in a compostable plastic-free cat tray liners or dog poop bags - check out BioBags or Earth Rated for options.

Ask for better! Companies need to hear from you! They have no incentive to make changes unless they know what we want.

Make your own pet treats.