While there are many categories that it is easy to be eco-friendly, there are also a lot of categories in which it is difficult to be mindful towards the environment. As I’ve discussed in previous blog posts, we simply don’t live in a world that is tailored for environmental consciousness. Due to this, we have to be environmentally conscious purely on our own accord and make choices in our daily lives to work towards a green future. Making these choices will slowly but surely make the dream of a green future a reality and hopefully, someday we won’t have to make these choices for ourselves, but rather they’ll be a given.
The category to discuss today is pet companionship. Most people who have pets don’t think twice about the environment when they’re just trying to take care of their animals the best that they possibly can, as that is the thing that matters most when people choose to take on the responsibility of having pets. This is also a category that doesn’t have a ton of eco-friendly options to begin with, and the options that do exist can be more expensive or difficult to find.
Reducing the amount of waste is the most important step like I discussed in “Recycling Isn’t the Answer: Here’s What to do Instead”. When it comes to pets reducing can be done a number of ways. The fact remains that most pets need things, such as food or bedding for small animals, that come in packaging and that aren’t able to be used multiple times. Food specifically shouldn’t be homemade for most animals because if the food is a good brand, the food is fortified by experts to meet the animals’ nutritional needs (and this shouldn’t be attempted by people who are not nutritional experts for the animals in question). This makes it difficult to be eco-friendly in any way with it. The best thing to do for items that need to be bought is to buy them in the largest packaging possible. It may not always be an option but buying the largest bag or box of food/bedding/etc instead of buying smaller ones more frequently is more environmentally friendly as it reduces the amount of energy and packaging that goes into making the product, even if the difference is slight. Relating to this, bagged dry food for dogs is more environmentally friendly than cans. Small choices like this are what make a difference in the long run.
Pet products can also, in many cases, be bought second hand. Many all-purpose thrift stores have pet sections that have everything from leashes to fish tanks to kennels; especially since thrift store items are all gently used, your pet won’t mind having a gently used food dish or bed. Second-hand websites such as craigslist are also an option for buying used items. A different great reason to buy items which are already used is to save money as pet care items can also be really expensive; buying items second-hand helps the environment because the production of items as well as the packaging associated with them when they’re brand-new takes a toll on the environment. Especially when the switch is easy, buying items second hand can make a huge difference in the long run.
Along with second-hand items, many items for pets can be made at home from upcycled materials. Dog beds can be made from sweaters or old blankets, bird/other small animal toys can be made from used cardboard or cards, cat and dog toys can be made from used fabric, check out this list to see more ideas. There are a ton of different items that can be made for pets instead of bought.
Another way to reduce the amount of environmental impact from the packaging of animal care products is to buy items with as minimal as packaging as possible. For example; imagine two different dog toys, one with a single tag and one encased with cardboard. The one with the single tag has less environmental impact. As previously mentioned, small switches like this make a difference and add up.
Probably the most important thing to do is to switch to products that are made to be environmentally friendly. This is also the hardest step since these products are not always easily available at pet stores, but it is so worth it in the long run. The good thing is that most eco-friendly products for animals can be bought online. Chewy is an example of a website for discount pet products that has a large selection of environmentally friendly pet products, like these eco doggy poo bags, which can be bought & delivered. Supporting companies that are with us in the fight for a green future is of immense importance; it allows the company to keep making a difference and shows everyone else that there is a demand for eco pet products. Ultimately I believe this is the best thing to do (when possible) because it’s putting our money where our mouths are and supporting what we believe in and companies that believe in the same thing.
Making the switch to green living in every aspect of your life can be difficult, but it is important for everyone to do. The smaller bonuses for green pet items includes that it is frequently healthier for animals to use eco items and can save you money in some aspects – but the more important thing is the big & more important impact living a sustainable life has on the planet.
Categories: Green Living