We all want to be kinder to the planet. And a big part of that is cutting down on how much we buy. Less stuff = less waste!
The reality, though, is that we need stuff. And, let’s be honest, we want some stuff, too. That’s OK. As the zero-waste chef Anne-Marie Bonneau says, “We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
So, when it comes to that stuff you and your pet need and want, the best place to start is with buying sustainable, ethically-produced products. Here are the 10 best sustainable pet products to meet most of your dog’s needs and many of his wants:
Treats: Treats are part of everyday life for lucky dogs everywhere. So when choosing products like this that have to be repurchased on a regular basis, your decision is more important than ever. Look for sustainably manufactured treats that use humanely-raised protein from companies that are actively invested in reducing their impact on the earth. (And, yes, Honey I'm Home is one of those companies!)
Biodegradable pickup bags: There are tons of brand, many of which aren’t actually sustainable. In 2015, the FTC cited 20 companies that made false claims. Truly biodegradable poop bags must be made from a vegetable and starch base. We like Earth Rated’s white pickup bags. (Note: Their green bags are not compostable or biodegradable but contain an additive that helps them break down.) And we love bioDOGradable Bags which make compostable bags.
A pet waste digester: OK, we know this isn’t possible for most people. You need a yard big enough to bury the system, which many people simply don’t have. But, if you’re able to, a pet waste digester like the Doggie Dooley is the most environmentally-friendly way to manage pet waste.
Dog bed: Every dog needs a comfy place to eschew in favor of sharing your bed! Pick a recycled option like this Restcycle Bed from Ruffwear. They use waste from their manufacturing process to stuff the bed making this the perfect eco-conscious choice. Molly Mutt also offers a sustainable choice with their dog bed duvet that encourages up-cycling of household fabrics to use as stuffing. This solution also makes the bed 100% washable!
Stainless food and water dishes: Serve your pup his meals and dish up fresh water in stainless steel bowls. Stainless steel is never wasted; it can be recycled for life. Plus, it’s usually super inexpensive and easy to clean. Find stainless options at nearly every retailer that carries pet supplies.
Silicone mat: Keep those stainless bowls from sliding around by using a silicone mat. According to Recyclebank, “Silicone is arguably more environmentally friendly than plastic in kitchen applications, as plastic is not as hardy or long lasting as silicone is — and silicone is more inert than plastic, which means it has a lower chance of leaching chemicals into food when used for food storage.” Tip: For a cheaper version, shop in the kitchen section for a silicone mat rather than the pet store.
Shampoo: All dogs need to be bathed, at least occasionally. Pick a shampoo bar that comes wrapped in paper rather than a liquid in a squirt bottle. We love the Woof Wild Shampoo Bar.
Bamboo toothbrush: Are you one of the one percent of dog owners who brushes your dog’s teeth? If so, way to go! Pat yourself on the back! If not, get to it: It’s estimated that two thirds of dogs end up with dental disease before age three. Yikes. Start a healthy brushing routine with a bamboo toothbrush like the soft-bristled version from Woo Bamboo.
Jacket: Depending on your dog’s lifestyle, a jacket might not be a necessity--but with one this good looking and eco-friendly, why not splurge? The Duluth Double Fleece from Gold Paw Series is made from recycled fleece and comes in colors to match any pup’s personality.
Toys: Toys not only provide fun for your dog, they offer healthy physical and mental enrichment. Every dog deserves a fun-filled life. And if they have eco-friendly toys like the Zogoflex range from West Paw, the fun will be long-lasting with little impact on the earth. Plus, if your dog happens to be one of the few power chewers who can chomp through one of the toys, send it back for a replacement and the company will recycle the old one into their manufacturing process. Zero waste!
Leash and collar: A necessity for all dogs, no matter what, a leash- and collar-set is a must-have. Choose a long-lasting, durable version to cut down on waste, and select an option made from recycled materials. We like the Eco Collection for Dogs from Lupine because they’re made from recycled plastic bottles, removing that junk from the waste stream while making your dog look great.
No matter your lifestyle--from couch surfing (check out this blanket, btw) to rock climbing--there’s eco-friendly gear for your pup to join you on your adventures. Then, once you’re finished with an item or your dog outgrows something, consider passing it on through a freebie giveaway on Nextdoor or craigslist, or as a donation to your local shelter rather than tossing out the item. Extend the life of your supplies to have an even greater (or lesser) impact on the earth!