Reduce - Reuse - Recycle (with your dog)
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with your Dog
If you’ve already started your own environmentally sustainable green journey, then you probably already know that reducing, reusing, and recycling is a big part of decreasing your waste and impact on the planet. But did you know that the 3R’s process can be applied to your dog’s green journey, too?
Yep. What applies to humans can apply to your pets when it comes to sustainability. Implementing Reduce, Reuse, Recycle into your dog’s environmental journey is a natural and easy way to reduce their carbon pawprint - if you (their owner) know how to do it properly!
From reusing shopping bags at pet stores to donating unwanted dog items, there is a responsible way to handle all aspects of dog ownership. That’s why we want to break for each R process and give you some easy tips to help you get your dog on the sustainability bandwagon!
We promise you won’t regret it.
If you want to reduce your wastage and begin your dog’s green journey right away, try keeping things simple. And by simple, we mean reducing what you buy! With American consumerism at an all-time high, we understand that this step might not be an easy one.
But in all honesty, your dog probably doesn’t actually want those cute doggy booties that match their collar, nor do they want a dog treadmill when a regular walk with you will do. While unselfishly directed toward your furever friend, this type of consumerism is a significant contributor to your pet’s environmental pawprint.
So, before you get your dog anything in terms of toys, beds, outfits, etc., always ask yourself this question:
Does your dog really need it?
Reducing your (dog’s) consumption of store-bought items is the first step in starting your sustainable and green pet care journey. If you know your dog doesn’t play with rope toys or squeaky toys, don’t buy them! They probably won’t “eventually” play with them.
Embrace who they are and what they like - especially if it saves you money and reduces production energy and material costs of making toys that won’t be played with.
We know you love your pup and want to give them everything under the sun, but if you genuinely want your dog to have a green journey, you need to start considering the impact you can make on the environment with your (dog’s) buying power. So, reducing what you buy is the first step in the 3R process.
And let’s be totally honest, if you want a happy dog, you only need to give them plenty of attention, treats, and belly rubs - and probably in that order.
Now that you’ve asked yourself, “Does my dog really need it?” you can answer your own question. If you answered “No,” then no more needs to be said. Your dog doesn’t need it.
If you answered, “Yes,” then follow up by asking yourself these two questions:
Can I get it secondhand?
Can I reuse another item to use as a substitute?
First of all, don’t be afraid of buying secondhand supplies for your dog. Your dog won’t care if a toy, food bowl, or bed is new or used. Try to avoid labeling things as “trash” before they should actually be placed in that category. Remember, “Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Plus, buying secondhand means you’re paying a fraction of the price for items that are in “like-new condition” or, at the very least, have minor wears and tears.
If you have some old items around the house and don’t want to throw them away (but you also know nobody will want them) - consider repurposing them!
Old socks can be filled with cotton or extra material to make a new stuffed toy. Old towels can be ripped and braided into new rope toys, and extra fabric and stuffing can be used to create a new bed or mat for the patio. There are plenty of ways you reuse or repurpose items into great (and cheap) things for your pup.
If you’ve made the decision that your dog “needs” an item, and you’ve bought it secondhand, or you are about to purchase new, ask yourself this question:
Can it be recycled?
Some things are easily recyclable, like dog food cans, paper food bags, cardboard packaging, and plastic treat containers. While most items are recyclable, that isn’t the story for every puppy product.
Recycling dog toys, for example, can be a little complicated. Dog toys can be made of multiple materials, some of which may or may not be recyclable. If your dog hasn’t destroyed it enough before it’s time for the toy to go into the recycle bin, then you need to dismantle it and make sure every material type is going where it’s supposed to.
If you want your dog to be truly sustainable, you, as the owner, need to be prepared for the job. That means always double-checking the recycling code on the package! Every local recycling program has different protocols on what they accept or do not accept.
Just don’t let these materials end up in landfills! Earth911.com is an excellent resource for learning how and what you can recycle. If your recycling game isn’t strong, consider purchasing biodegradable toys or bedding made from hemp or other similar materials.
Prevent the 3R’s Before They Start
A simple way to reduce your dog’s impact on the environment is to choose dog product companies that are shifting to less packaging, choosing biodegradable materials, and minimizing (or eliminating) their plastic usage.
Your support for these companies can reduce the 3-R’s process before it even arrives at your doorstep. For example, Pure Earth Pets uses fully biodegradable boxes printed with soy ink to reduce waste, usually associated with subscription boxes.
Hopefully, this breakdown of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle will help you navigate your dog’s green journey and make a positive impact on our environment. Every step counts for you and your dog. Just remember to think before you buy for your dog and before you toss any doggy items.