Is Switching To Sustainable Toys Really Helpful for the Planet?
Is switching to sustainable toys really helpful for the planet?
Choosing sustainable and eco-friendly toys for your pup can seem like an easy first step in contributing to a greener world. But is switching to sustainable toys really helpful for the planet?
Our honest answer: Yes, but there are caveats. Let us explain.
Living an eco-conscious lifestyle isn’t for the faint of heart. Especially when it comes to unsustainable and environmentally UNfriendly products like pet toys. Plastic, toxic paints, and harmful materials are everywhere --and they’re being used like it’s going out of style.
So when it comes to our dog’s toys, we want to be extra careful with our choices. Not only do our consumer choices impact the planet, but they impact the health of our pups. Think about it. Our dogs play with toys using their mouths. The cheap, harmful materials and toxins that toys are made from are likely going straight into our dog’s blood system via their mouth. Not good!
How our decisions as pet owners help the environment
Do you need to go out and buy a new set of plastic-free, toxin-free toys for your dog?
Having less plastic and toxins in your home while also supporting a more sustainable environment is always a plus, But throwing out or swapping “bad” dog toys for “good” dog toys only serves to contribute to more waste.
We always stand by the mantra of using what you have until it’s gone - or in this case - chewed up. And THEN going out to buy a more sustainable and eco-friendly option.
When it comes time to purchase these new, better dog toy options, try to adopt the mindset of quality over quantity. Sustainable toys tend to be made from superior materials which bumps the price up. Keep in mind, higher costs equals higher quality materials - which means the toys last longer. And longer lasting toys is always a good thing!
Here are examples of high-quality materials that contribute towards a safer, cleaner, and socially responsible planet during the manufacturing process of toys.
We all know that avoiding plastic is a key part of living an eco-friendly lifestyle. This concept goes for your dog’s lifestyle, too. But let’s be honest, plastic is everywhere!
Still, we should try to avoid using plastic when and where possible. Plastic doesn’t break down at all AND it impacts the wildlife - both of which are incredibly damaging to the environment.
Try to buy products that use minimal plastic packaging or are packaged using environmentally friendly materials, like the ones below!
It’s actually not enough to just buy wooden toys. Wood still needs to be sustainably sourced from trees that are reasonably fast to grow. Trees like bamboo, birch, or maple are great options. Slow growing trees like oak - while beautiful - aren’t exactly sustainable to use in products like dog toys which are replaced semi-frequently due to hard play.
Try looking for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified toys. This certification indicates that the “business has responsibly managed forests in their supply chain.”
Natural Rubber Toys
Natural rubber is a great option for more sustainable toys - especially those toys that go in your dog’s mouth (AKA - every toy we buy our pup, right?). Natural rubber is biodegradable, non-toxic, and can be sustainably harvested.
Toys Made From Organic Fabrics
Sustainable dog toys made from organic cotton or organic wool are always the best choice for your pup. Non-organic fabrics usually contain pesticides and chemicals used during harvest and creation.
Most dog owners can agree that finding pieces of toy ropes and stuffed animals around the house is a common occurrence. Well, those little pieces of rope, fabric, and stuffing are probably being ingested by your pup or thrown away and taken straight to landfill. So let’s make sure we aren’t sending pesticide and chemically-laden toys to landfill where they contaminate the soil and waterways of our planet.
Make sure to check out the eco-friendly materials used in the dog toys in our shop!
Recycled Materials & Toys
Buying toys made from recycled materials or repurposing old toys is definitely an option and can prevent toys from landfills. But at the end of the day, are you just delaying the inevitable?
Sure, plastic can be recycled into another plastic toy, but plastic doesn’t just go away. At least not for the next few hundred years. That’s why plastic is so harmful to the planet!
Reusing or repurposing toys made of fabric is a better option. We just need to remember that once the toy is beyond repair, dispose of it as responsibly as you can.
Need ideas on what to do with your dog's old toys? Check out our post about it!
Shipping Costs On The Planet
The environmental cost of shipping eco-friendly products is one of the overlooked points when it comes to eco-friendly living! You can buy the most sustainable toy on the planet. But if they have to ship it from India to Chicago - the carbon footprint of transportation alone probably outweighs the sustainably sourced materials used on the toy.
If you have local pet suppliers who create eco-friendly toys, even if a few things aren’t quite “perfect” on the eco scale, they are still - technically speaking - the more sustainable option!
The Most Environmentally Friendly Toy Option
If you truly want to stop buying into the wasteful cycle that contributes excessive harm to our planet, consider consuming less. Especially when it comes to cheap, short-lived pet toys.
Keep in mind, there are toy companies that run campaigns against global warming or saving animals, yet still, use petrochemicals in their products. Just be aware and be smart with your purchasing power!
There are also plenty of sustainable toy companies that use zero plastic or use a closed-loop system. We sell their products here! And in all honesty, when did sticks become “uncool” for our dogs? Just last week, the dogs at our local dog park were literally fighting over who got to play with the stick.
At the end of the day, does switching to sustainable pet toys actually help the planet? YES! Every little bit helps. But there needs to be a drastic change in the supply chain process of pet toys (and any other consumer product out there). And that starts with changing consumer demand when it comes to the type of toys we purchase for our dogs.