For the Love of Pets: Reducing the carbon pawprint – East Bay Times

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Becoming more eco-conscious can take many forms: recycling, choosing to receive and pay your bills electronically, composting, selecting transportation that causes less pollution, and buying sustainable products, just to name a few.

Fortunately, your options as a pet parent can be more eco-conscious, too. There are many eco-friendly pet products to choose from that minimize the carbon “pawprint. ”

Wondering about the potential benefits of switching to eco-friendly pet products?

  • You can save money by purchasing more durable products that last longer.
  • Using more natural products reduces exposure to harsh chemicals for your family and your pet.
  • You’ll help protect the environment from products that take space in our landfills and oceans.
  • You can support a small or local business

Knowing where to start

When choosing new pet products, you can consider items made of any of the followingmaterials:

  • Organic cotton: a natural fiber that is biodegradable
  • Natural hemp: a strong natural fiber that requires little water to grow and is antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, plus biodegradable
  • Bamboo: a tropical plant that requires little water, purifies air quality, and is  biodegradable
  • Recycled/repurposed ingredients, such as BPA-free plastic bottles and climbing rope

There are lots of pet products that can be made from sustainable materials. Here are some common examples.

Pet beds —  When searching for the perfect bed for your four-legged friend, look for ones made of all-natural materials such as organic cotton, hemp, wool, or recycled materials. There also are beds you can fill with your own reused or natural cloth materials.

Poop bags — What’s the difference between compostable bags and biodegradable bags? Under certain conditions, some compostable bags can decay in as little as three months, while biodegradable bags may take three years or more to break down. There also are biodegradable dog waste sheets as an alternative to bags.

Cat litter — You can find cat litter made of biodegradable components that can be composted. This includes materials such as sawdust shavings, recycled paper, bamboo, wheat, corn, and walnut.

Pet toys — There are plenty of sustainable toys for cats and dogs made from materials such as 100% recyclable filling, rope, natural rubber, organic cotton, hemp, cork, raffia, linen and bamboo.

Cat scratchers — Eco-friendly scratchers are fairly easy to find. Search for ones made of recycled/recyclable cardboard, wood, or sisal fabric, which becomes softer as it is used, as opposed to sisal rope with fibers that can become sharp and uncomfortable.

Pet collars and leashes — It is easy to find eco-friendly collars and leashes that are durable and adorable. Sustainable collars and leashes can be made of hemp, organic natural cotton, recycled plastics, repurposed string, vegan cork leather, or bamboo. Some companies even make matching bracelets or even tags that you can wear to show the true bond you have with your furry friend.

Pet bowls — Stainless steel bowls can last a lifetime, are easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and non-porous so they won’t turn out to be contaminated with bacteria or mold like a plastic bowl. Bamboo bowls are also sturdy, resistant to mildew and mold, and more lightweight than steel.

Pet grooming — You can choose products with eco-friendly packaging such as a pet shampoo bar, an alternative to shampoo sold in a traditional plastic bottle. Or choose a shampoo with natural ingredients such as oatmeal, coconut oil, olive oil, aloe vera or hemp oil.

As you can see, sustainability isn’t too far out of reach. Natural pet products can protect both our pets and our environment. Consider shopping sustainably today.

Nicole Forsyth is president and CEO of RedRover , a non-profit organization that focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the human-animal bond through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance plus education. She writes For that Love of Pets for the Bay Area News Group. Send questions to [email protected] com .

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