Living more environmentally conscious is a lifestyle that encompasses the home, food, furniture, clothing and the whole family, which for millions of people, includes their pets. Scores of companies, small businesses, and individual artisans design and create earth friendly products. Pet products are in a smaller market but mean no less to consumers who buy with these factors in mind.
*Video: "How to make a cat scratching pad" is a short and sweet video on how to reuse cardboard boxes. Please excuse the advertisement at the beginning, Examiner puts those in.
Today words like "sustainability" and "recycle" are common household words but what do they actually mean? Sustainability means "harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. Recycle, by definition, is "processing (anything) in order to reuse or adapt to a new use." (both from Merriam-Webster dictionary)
Here are just a few of the materials being used and products made for the market now:
1. Collars made with cork. These pet collars are made in several styles such as cork with leather, bamboo, hemp, or nylon backing. They are naturally waterproof and odor resistant.
Cork, as in, the exact same material as a wine bottle stopper, comes from a cork oak which is an oak evergreen. These trees can live up 250 years and can be harvested every 12 years. Harvesting the bark is a lot like picking fruit from a tree, in that, it does not harm the tree and the cork bark grows back slowly.
2. Dog products from recycled rubber. Cycle Dog is one example of a company that recycles rubber bicycle tire parts and turns the material into a useful product. They make collars, portable bowls, waste pick-up bags, and a few toys.
Rubber and the environment
Rubber is one of those materials that is dumped in landfills in tons every year and even ends up in our rivers, oceans, and streams. According to the Mote Marine Laboratory, one of the leaders in marine research since 1955, reports that a rubber sole of a shoe takes 50 years or more to decompose; (see their list).
3. Pet beds with filling made from recycled materials. Many pet bed filling fibers are being made from recycled plastic, usually soda/water bottles. Another common filling is simply, recycled polyester; this product can require less energy if it is not reprocessed. See eco-friendly dog beds at Glamour Mutt.
According to United States Environmental Protection Agency, every year millions of tons of plastics are discarded as waste products. Beverage bottles take hundreds of years to decompose, so why not recycle them?
*These links to specific websites are for the purpose of showing examples; a simple internet search for environmentally friendly pet products turns up 1,000's of options for products.