This article as originally posted April 2018.
We are committed to reducing our effect on the planet, and are looking to start a conversation. Earth Day is April 22nd, so let’s talk about this year’s theme: plastic pollution.
When caring for your pet, keeping them comfortable and engaged means providing them with outlets like toys and beds. In this article, I’ll propose a few ways you can continue to do this, while keeping plastic pollution in mind.
Alternatives to plastic toys
Easy enough, just buy toys that aren’t made of plastic!
For example, California-based company Jax and Bones makes rope toys in various shapes, sizes, and colours. They’re durable, and dogs love them! They naturally fray and floss teeth, and can be soaked then frozen for teething dogs, or just a cool-down.
Bonus, they give 10% of the proceeds from these toys to rescue and animal welfare groups.
For the squeaky-toy inclined, Jax and Bones also make boiled wool stuffies with durable squeezer toys inside. Their seams are double reinforced, so you won’t have to keep buying more stuffies just to see them ripped to shreds. They even have different sizes for light vs. heavy chewers!
On top of that, all their toys are coloured using vegetable based dyes.
Another great brand is Aussie Naturals, they create breakfast-themed squeaky toys out of coconut, leather, and jute rope. These natural materials are heavy duty, and contain no plastic!
Buy post-consumer products
Annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to top half a trillion by 2021, and our recycling plants simply cannot keep up with the demand, even if everyone did throw their bottles in the blue bin.(1)
So what happens to all the bottles we can’t recycle? They go in the landfill, or pollute the oceans. Some companies are viewing this as an opportunity to source these materials and find other uses for them.
West Paw beds are stuffed with IntelliLoft, which is made completely with recycled plastics. To date, they’ve diverted over 12 million bottles from the landfill.
They’re also lightweight, easy to clean, and of course comfy. Bonus, all their toys and beds are made in the USA and the vast majority of their toys are made of recycled material and are 100% recyclable themselves!
Remember, when washing products with plastic fibres, there are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of microplastics that enter the water.
You might not want to be continually purchasing new toys for your dog, but we get that they chew through them so fast you often yourself going for the cheapest option, instead of looking for the best fit.
Many brands have some sort of “chew level”, which helps you figure out how durable and suitable a toy might be. Go in to toy shopping knowing your dog’s destructive capability and buy according to that. For example, WestPaw has a durability rating, and OrbeeTuff has a bone-scale of toughness. Check the labels, or ask a retail associate for the best option for your pup!
Remember, Not All Toys Are Meant To Be Chewed.
After playtime, put the toys away. This will make them more interesting when they come out again, and extend the life of the toy!
If you have a big chewer, try giving them a freeze-dried chew, or if you’ll be home, a raw bone.