A future for sustainable pet supplies and accessories
The better side of pet consumerism
We, humans, are turning our pets into consumers, but the question of sustainability is being addressed through the industry with growing enthusiasm.
The Pet Sustainability Coalition award a Green Paw ‘One Paw One Planet’ Program, designed to give traders the opportunity to promote their own sustainability initiatives. Partner members take a ‘Quick Impact’ assessment to gauge their sustainability performance across areas such as community, customer, environmental issues and business practice.
Which pets are best?
Smaller dogs, and smaller pets are best. It does not take much to work out that a smaller pet is going to consume less than a larger one, including the cost of healthcare. The benefits of companionship, improved health and reduced stress for human owners still apply, there is just a little less cost involved.
Supplies are often made from synthetic materials, or ones that come from natural resources. Sourcing them harms our environment and they are not easily regenerated. Alternatives include toys, pet food bowls, litter scoops and trays all made from waste plant fibres found in bamboo and rice husks.
These are biodegradable after use. Other dog toys are recyclable rather than needing to add to landfill, or high bouncing balls which are themselves made from materials such as recycled bicycle inner tubes. Fabrics created from recycled plastic bottles are popular for catnip containing toys.
Poop bags also have their role, and degradable ones are available as well as plant-based bags. Some are made from vegetable oils, corn, plant starches and other renewable resources or recycled materials. Ideally, a biodegradable poop bag only takes around three to six months to fully decompose, unlike the synthetic ones which can take several hundred years.
Organic treatments and foods
Encouraging consumers to use organic pet shampoos, coat care and insect repellents give pets the chance to enjoy pesticide-free and gentler products to maintain their skin and coat quality. It is essential to check that the packaging used for these products also meets your ethical standards, or you might quickly outweigh any genuine sustainability benefits.
The idea of maintaining sustainable conditions can be quickly outweighed by other factors. Whilst organic pet foods represent an important welfare consideration for the pet, we are also aware that large numbers of pets suffer with obesity from overfeeding.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that in 2016, around 53% of dogs (estimated 41.9 million dogs) and 58% of cats (estimated 50.5 million) were classed as clinically overweight. Overconsumption cannot help sustainable living standards, so education has to be a part of the overall plan for a healthier world.
Hemp is a highly sustainable and low-impact crop that can be converted into fabrics and other products. Hemp rope toys and knotted items are made for dogs, birds, rabbits and cats, in a wide range of designs and versatile sizes. Collars and harnesses as well as leashes, can be manufactured from organic cotton and hemp mixes, still meeting the bright colours and fashionable designs of the pet market. Hemp fabric frisbees and tuggers still provide the fun factor, as well as being exceptionally durable, describing hemp as ‘the strongest natural fiber’.
The future of pet products
Whilst the market does offer such sustainable and eco-friendly products, the question of over-consumption, manufacture, transport, disposal, still remains the biggest factor in our pet industry. Sustainable products are costly, far more than their cheaper but unsustainable and earth-harming counterparts. Can we reduce and control demand for anything that is otherwise perhaps an unnecessary gimmick for an unsuspecting pet?
The latest articles
More than 20% of Nestlé’s sales last year were pet products
The conglomerate’s pet category is the largest contributor to organic growth, while global sales decreased by 1.5%.
Better Choice to develop weight loss supplement for pets
The Florida-based pet health and wellness firm recently acquired all issued and outstanding shares in Canadian Aimia Pet Healthco for an undisclosed amount.
European pet food manufacturers establish new group
SANYpet, Natural Line and Codico have created a new production and distribution group to capture the international market.
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