Five ways to reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint
Our furry friends give us plenty of love and affection but can cause lots of household waste, too! Here, Scott Hawthorne from SkipsAndBins.com shares his tips for reducing your pet’s carbon pawprint.
We’re all trying to do our bit to help tackle climate change. While you might have made a few swaps to help lower your carbon footprint, have you considered the effect your pet is having on the environment?
Everything from their food to their toys can have an impact on the planet. Luckily, there are a few simple swaps you can make to help lower your pet’s carbon pawprint, and I’ll be discussing them below.
Switch to eco-conscious food
What pet doesn’t love mealtimes? But did you know that the type of food you choose for your pet could be having an impact on the environment? Meat like beef can take a lot of energy and land to rear and produce large amounts of fossil fuels. It’s likely that your pet isn’t too fussy about what they eat, so it can be a good idea to make the switch to proteins with a lower carbon footprint, such as fish and poultry.
Most pet food brands also come in plastic packaging, which, if it isn’t recyclable, can spend hundreds of years in landfill. To reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint even more, look for products made from recyclable or compostable packaging, such as those made from paper or cardboard.
Alternatively, you could consider shopping at a local zero waste pet food refill station. These allow you to take along your containers and fill them up, so you don’t have to deal with unnecessary packaging.
Choose homemade or eco-friendly toys
After countless hours of playtime, your pet’s plastic toys will eventually become damaged and need to be thrown away. The plastics used for pet toys can’t be recycled, which means they’ll be sent to landfill, and some toys can contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.
For example, several plastics contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates that can enter the environment and be harmful to wildlife as they break down.
For more eco-friendly versions, look for pet toys that say BPA-free, phthalate-free, or non-toxic, as these will be better for the environment. If you can, try to look for toys made from eco-friendly and recyclable materials, such as those made from hemp, wool, or bamboo.
Of course, you could also consider making your toys for your pets. For example, you can make a tug toy from old towels or T-shirts.
Pick products made to last
You no doubt want your furry friends to have the very best, and buying high-quality products made to last isn’t just a great way to treat them because they’ll also be much better for the environment. These items will help to lower their carbon pawprint as they’re more likely to last longer than cheaply made, lower-quality accessories.
Metal and ceramic bowls are much more eco-friendly than plastic versions, as they’re bound to last a long time. Pet beds made from high-quality materials are also a good option, as are well-made kennels. Often, handmade items have been produced with more care and attention to detail, so look for accessories that have been crafted by hand.
Stay local for your walks
Going on a walk can be a great way for you and your furry friends to get some exercise. Rather than travelling in the car to visit somewhere out of town, why not stay local? This is a great way to cut down on your consumption of fossil fuels and gives you a great excuse to explore somewhere new that might be just on your doorstep!
Change to compostable waste products
While you’re out on your walk, you must always pick up your pet’s waste and dispose of it correctly, but many commercially available waste bags aren’t biodegradable. This means that, after they’re put in the bin, they end up in a landfill and can’t break down, so they’ll stay there for hundreds of years.
Instead of your usual plastic waste bags, look for compostable options that are made from corn starch, vegetable oils, or biodegradable plastics. These will naturally decompose once they reach the landfill, so they’ll cut down your pet’s carbon pawprint.
If you have a cat, then cat litter is undoubtedly an essential item on your shopping list. However, some cat litters contain clay or silica that have been sourced through strip and sand mining, which damages ecosystems and can pollute water sources. Plus, they’re often sent to landfill where they’ll take a long time to break down.
Biodegradable cat litter is a great alternative. These are usually made from plant-based materials such as wood fibre or recycled paper, so they’ll break down much quicker in landfill. Most big brands offer biodegradable options, and you can buy them in any pet supplies store.
Although they’re only small, your pets can have a significant impact on the environment. By making a few of these changes, you can help to cut down their carbon pawprint.