Green Tips: Sustainable Pet Care
Green Tips | April 2, 2020
National Pet Day is April 11th, and we’re recognizing the day by rounding up a few ways for you to make your pet care more sustainable. According to the American Pet Products Association, 67% of U.S. households own a pet. Just like humans, animals have needs that can impact the environment.
Most products for pets come in plastic packaging, which accounts for nearly half of all plastic-related pollution worldwide. When looking for ways to reduce the ecological impact of our pet care routines, start by choosing products with minimalist, reusable, or recyclable packaging, like those supplied by The Honest Kitchen. Also, to minimize packaging, consider buying food in bulk.
Pets often require accessories like leashes, collars, beds, and toys. Some of these products are made from materials that contain harmful chemicals, like BPA or phthalates, which are often used in plastic products. When greening your pet care routine, look for products made from “BPA-free” or “nontoxic” materials. There are plenty of pet brands to choose from that are committed to sustainability. If you want to go even further to reduce your pets ecological footprint, you can always make your own pet toys by upcycling household items! Remember to always check for choking hazards before giving your pet a new toy.
Just as we try to choose healthy and nutritious food for our bodies, we should be mindful of what we feed our pets, too. While it can be more expensive, organic pet food isn’t produced using pesticides, which can pollute our soil and waterways. Chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have also been connected with adverse health outcomes to those exposed. Organic and non-GMO pet food can help keep your pets and our environment healthy.
It’s also important to avoid corn-heavy foods, which can lead to obesity. More than half the dogs and cats in the U.S. suffer from obesity, which can lead to other health issues such as cancer and diabetes. Choosing all-natural and grain-free options for our pets can help them get the nutrition they need without fillers. The healthier that your pet is today, the less vet visits and bills you’ll have down the line!
Compostable Bags & Waste
If you use bags to clean up after you pet, consider compostable ones instead. You may also be able to flush your pet’s waste in water-soluble bags, but first make sure that your sewage system can handle these products. If you have the means, composting pet waste can help reduce the burden and divert waste from septic and wastewater treatment systems. You can do this in your backyard and use the compost to promote healthy soils.
Pet hygiene products are no different from ours in that they are often packed with harmful parabens that can affect both humans and animals. When washed down drains, these toxins enter waterways. If you use cat litter for your pet, look for alternatives to clay-based litter. The natural clays found in cat litter are great for absorbing liquid, but the way that they are sourced (through mining) wreak havoc on the environment. Mining causes deforestation, displaces wildlife, and can contaminate groundwater. Fortunately, there are alternatives to clay-based litter. Companies like Yesterday’s News sell litter made from non-toxic recycled newspapers. Other options are listed here.
We encourage pet owners to take stock of the pet products and practices that may be harmful to our environment. Making simple switches can benefit both your pet and the planet!< Back to Citizen’s Toolkit
Website by Trillion.
© 2017 New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. All rights reserved.