While action against climate change is beginning to rapidly pick up among individuals and organizations alike, the pet industry, admittedly, is a little slow on jumping on this band wagon. Unfortunately, our furry friends are producing an unimaginable amount of waste each year. In the United States alone, 64 million tons of carbon dioxide are produced each year by pets, according to a study conducted by UCLA. That equates to 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in America. If we don’t change the way we raise our pets, it won’t be long before both we and our pets suffer the effects of climate change. Here are some tips on how to reduce your pet’s carbon footprint.
Pet food is responsible for the majority of carbon waste produced by pets. In particular, the meat-based dry and wet food that cats and dogs eat have a huge impact on the earth’s carbon production. Low-quality, processed food require more energy, land and water to produce, contributing to significant environmental damage in terms of erosion, damage and waste, the study notes. As such, look for high quality food that state protein as the first ingredient and do not contain fillers or animal by-products. Some recommended brands are Nutrience, Taste of the Wild, Graze and Primal.
For a long time, plastic poop bags have been used to dispose of dog waste. Can you imagine the amount of single-use plastic that adds up to? In an era where the world is beginning to recognize the harmful effects of single-use plastic, pet owners should also consider this in the products used when it comes to their pets. Instead of buying plastic bags, look around your house for bags that you can recycle. If you have a small breed, you could even use tissue paper to pick up your dog’s waste before throwing it in the bin. Instead of throwing away your opened envelops, why not use them as a waste bag? This not only saves cost, but also helps to reduce the waste we produce every day. If you must buy bags, consider using biodegradable bags such as the Kong HandiPOD pick-up bag and Zee Dog’s plant-based poop bags. For cat owners, consider using eco-friendly, biodegradable litter that clumps up, so you can easily pick out the soiled spots instead of throwing out the whole lot. Examples of such litter are Kit Cat’s soya clump cat litter and Nurture Pro’s tofu cat litter.
From bowls to bedding, our pampered pets are blessed with a wide variety of accessories and products to increase their quality of life. Consider avoiding plastic-based products such as plastic bowls and toys. Try to look for products made of recycled material such as bamboo and rubber. For bowls, choose one made from stainless steel or ceramic. Avoid polyester material when it comes to leashes and bedding and go for cotton-based ones instead. Also try to purchase natural, environmentally-friendly shampoo such as Earthbath’s products.