Being one of the 61% Australians owning a pet can be an incredibly pleasing experience. Our furry friends truly bring companionship and unconditional love on the daily life. On top of that, having pets around the home has shown to benefit human emotional and physical health.
But, have you ever wondered about the health of the planet when it comes to our four-legged companion? Taking care of a pet requires resource in a numerous ways and obviously can leave a carbon pawprint on the environment. This is especially true when it comes to plastics.
For pet parents, it is undeniably easy to encounter plastics in most pet products, from food packaging to food bowl, toys and even waste cleanup bags. Caring for a pet can certainly being an obstacle to live a plastic-free lifestyle, but don't fret! By being more conscious, there are still ways to reduce the amount of plastic in the process. Here's beginner steps to get you started:
Like us, pets produce wastes that need to be cleaned up. When picking up after your dog while out on a walk, plastic bags are often used to dispose of pet waste. Say, a plastic bag a day to dispose (although our own dog needs 4 bags a day!) - 365 plastic bags are ending up in landfills every single year, not cool!
Luckily, being a pet parent doesn’t mean you have to toss out plastic every single day of your pet’s life - there are more eco-friendly alternatives. If you’re cleaning up dog messes outside the backyard, you may want to consider getting a pooper-scooper from the local pet store.
When you’re out and about and carrying around the scooper is inconvenient, you may want to consider investing in compostable bags to keep plastic out of the equation. Unlike conventional plastic that are made from fossil fuel, these bioplastics are made from natural renewable material, such as cornstarch. To add to peace of mind, they will not turn into microplastics that are harmful to the environment. They will fully biodegrade to CO2 and water within 180 days once you compost them properly.
Another option that will depend entirely on your local water and sewer provider is flushing dog waste down the toilet without bringing plastic disposal methods into the equation.
Pets love a good activity time and toys are a great way to keep your furry friends mentally and physically fit. Unfortunately, many pet toys contain plastic which, in addition to being nasty to the planet, can be unhealthy for them given the toxins and BPA they contain.
When looking for a good time for your dog or cat, consider various plastic alternatives including recycled or organic cotton, natural rubber, hemp, and canvas. Our macrame chew stick and donut rope toy are durable and made from certified recycled cotton, so rest assured they are gentle to the earth, safe to your pups and will be with your furfriend for a long time.
Treats, without Tricks
Pets, like their humans, typically love to eat! Like human food, pet food has the potential to introduce a sizeable amount of plastic to our waste-stream. One research review calculated that the average American eats, drinks, and breathes in more than 74,000 microplastic particles every year. Of course, there are ways to find some alternatives for this issue with a little thought and creativity.
Firstly, you can consider ditching plastic in your pet’s food and water dishes. Alternative options in stainless steel and ceramic are widely available and affordable in the market, so this should be a pretty easy switch to make.
Next, you can consider purchasing pet foods that either don’t come in plastic packaging at all or are sold in bulk, so you can minimise plastic packaging used. You may also be able to purchase treats from a treat bar at your local pet store and tote them off in a cloth bag or glass container, avoiding plastic packaging altogether.
Another alternative is to cook and bake for your pet to minimise plastic waste. Grains can be purchased from bulk store, carrots is a great base for homemade dog foods and can be bought without plastic bags. Meats, poultry and fish may be purchased at your request without plastic and placed into your own containers brought from home. Once finished, you can store them in a reusable air-tight glass or stainless steel container.
If you are not an avid baker or hardly have the time, try to be more conscious and opt into organic ingredients that comes in a recyclable or compostable packaging.
Give it a Go
Having a four-legged family member in a world where plastic seems to dominate is no reason to let this destructive waste win. It may require some thought and experience, but being a more plastic-free pet parent is totally achievable. It’s a great way to show your love not just to the environment, but also to your beloved fur kid as well.