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By Cheryl Lock
In a world where there are endless dog supplies to pick from, it can be easy to overlook the eco-friendly pet products category. However, taking time to research the best ecologically friendly products for your dog can truly help make a difference to the environment.
“The most important thing to look for [when it comes to eco-friendly products] is the authenticity of the product,” says Bob Schildgen, a long-time columnist for the Sierra Club’s “Sierra” magazine. In other words, “Ask if it really benefits the environment, or is merely another attempt at greenwashing,” Schildgen suggests.
You can make the biggest impact by purchasing environmentally friendly products the next time you shop for things like collars, leashes, toys, beds or stain removers.
Here are a few types of eco-friendly pet products that are made with planet-approved materials that help decrease your pet’s carbon paw print.
Plant-Based Pet Products
When it comes to pet supplies, one of the most common plant-based materials you’ll find is hemp. “Hemp is a fantastic plant-based agricultural product,” says Spencer Williams, president and CEO of West Paw.
“Earlier in 2018, West Paw launched a collection of collars and leashes that are made from a hemp/cotton blend. The hemp plant does not need pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, and it thrives on less water than most crops,” says Williams.
Because of its resiliency, hemp has also been touted as a natural way to clean up soil pollution, Williams adds. Besides being good for the environment, though, hemp is also strong and durable, which makes it a great product for leashes and collars.
Another company that’s determined to get pet parents to go green is Planet Dog. The Planet Dog hemp dog collar and the Planet Dog hemp dog leash, as well the Planet Dog hemp harness, are all made with naturally dyed pure hemp that will stand up to the elements.
There are also plant-based cleaning products, like ECOS for Pets! Stain and odor remover. It uses the power of enzymes and non-toxic, plant-derived ingredients to tackle organic pet messes, and it’s not tested on animals. As far as eco-friendly points, this stain and odor remover is carbon neutral, water neutral, platinum zero waste certified and powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Products That Are Recyclable and Made From Postproduction Materials
Recycled plastics are one of the most commonly used eco-friendly materials for both humans and our four-legged friends. West Paw’s Zogoflex line is made with a proprietary thermoplastic material that is tough, buoyant, pliable and designed to be recycled.
“Non-toxic, BPA-free and FDA compliant, Zogoflex dog toys (like the West Paw Zogoflex Hurley and West Paw Zogoflex Jive) are made in the USA, so West Paw has complete control over the quality of our products,” Williams says.
Planet Dog also makes the Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff recycle ball, which is 100 percent recyclable and is made from post-production material that would otherwise be discarded.
Fiberfill Products Made From Plastic Bottles
Natalie Hennessy, senior PR and marketing manager with P.L.A.Y., added that there are many different types of plastic—some recyclable and some not. “In terms of what we do, we are fortunate that one of our key materials—the filler we use for our bedding and toys, called PlanetFill—can be made from recycled PET bottles. It’s important to consider that we are also recycling from 100 percent post-consumer plastic bottles, too, because those are plastics that would otherwise end up in a landfill, and because they are non-biodegradable, they would bring permanent harm to our planet.”
Their eco-friendly dog beds, such as the P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You Houndstooth lounge bed, are made breathable, allergy-free covers and the eco-friendly PlantetFill filler.
West Paw also uses a fiberfill and stuffing called IntelliLoft. “Made from recycled plastic bottles, West Paw uses this material to stuff all of their beds, flat mats and plush toys,” says Williams.
“To date, we have kept over 15 million plastic bottles out of the landfill.” Try the West Paw Salsa Lime dog toy the next time you’re looking for a fluffy and fun, eco-friendly option for your pup.
Using Eco-Friendly Packaging and Avoiding Waste
Keep in mind that buying eco-friendly products is great, but it’s also important to consider waste and packaging. According to Hennessy, P.L.A.Y. packages all of their products with FSC-Certified recycled paper.
Williams also cautions consumers to know where and how their products are being recycled, if they aren’t able to recycle the product themselves. “If a pet product comes from overseas, and there is no way to recycle them in their community, the product’s recyclability should be questioned,” he says.
Williams reminds pet parents that, “All of this doesn’t matter if, when the products are made, they create a lot of waste. Customers would be wise to do a little investigation on the company’s website into their manufacturing practices,” he says. “Companies who do produce products in a sustainable manner are happy to talk about it.”
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