Your Carbon Pawprint
Back in 2017 there was a study done in America on the impact of pets on global warming. The study claimed that just in the US, feeding dogs and cats per year created about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide. It was about the equivalent of 13.6 million cars. This doesn’t even cover the amount of single use plastics created by the pet industry every year. These days we look to brands to have sustainable practices in place to slow the growing issue of global warming, the trash in our oceans, and reducing food waste. Below I’ve outlined four of our suppliers and what their practices are. Hopefully in the future, we can deep dive into more suppliers and work on what we do for the environment ourselves.
The Saltiest Dog is a Melbourne local business that supplies raw diet options for dogs including their popular range of ready made raw meals which can be found in our freezers in Vermont. When it comes to sustainability practices, Kate and her team have a few things in place, some easy to find on their website, others you can pick up by reading through their information. The Saltiest Dog uses easy to recycle packaging for their meals. The base is made from cardboard, and the lid is a hard plastic that is RedCycle compatible. When they box orders, they use carboard boxes that have been previously used to ship their ingredients to them. Customers have been known to return these boxes to be reused again. The team also reuses the cooler bags and ice packs that are needed to keep their products frozen during delivery. By reducing the amount of new waste they produce this cuts down on landfill considerably. Lastly, The Saltiest Dog has a delivery van, and delivers to different parts of Melbourne on different days. This cuts down on the amount on driving that needs to be done and cuts down on the carbon dioxide their van puts out. When it comes to small business’ sustainability practices can be tough, but the team at The Saltiest Dog is definitely giving it their all.
Let’s talk about grooming. Shampoos and conditioners can have a big impact on the waterways, so we’re looking at Hemp Collective and their commitment to zero waste. The team at Hemp Collective cater for humans and pet alike. They even have shampoo bars for horses. From the ground up this business works to minimize their impact on the environment. Hemp is an annual, fast growing, and versatile plant. All parts of the plant can be used, creating zero waste, and when grown industrially can absorb 22 tonnes per hectare. That’s more than any other agricultural crop in the world. Beyond that amazing effect, hemp also improves soil quality with long roots that aerate soil and prevent erosion. Hemp has even been recommended to farmers to be used in rotation to improve failing soil quality in their fields. At Hemp Collective, all of their plant derived ingredients are sourced local to Byron Bay and organic, and they only collaborate with suppliers that work sustainably as well. Instead of using liquid soaps, their shampoo and conditioner bars last longer and contain to plastic packaging or microplastics inside. To minimize their carbon footprint, they order their supplies in bulk and any mishaps that happen when making their products don’t get thrown away but sold for a cheaper price. Lastly, down to the orders they send out, Hemp Collective uses recyclable packaging, with labels printed with soy inks. Orders are put in a compostable mailer and sealed with eco tape. Talk about the tiny details.
Laila & Me is a well known Australian brand that delivers dehyrdrated and freeze-dried treats that are chemical free. They’re one of our popular treat brands we keep on the shelves at Fetch, and they also try their best to have sustainable practices. The information on their practices can be found on their website when you scroll to the bottom, under the category “Our Guarantee.” On this page they list the steps they’ve taken to minimize plastic waste. These practices include using recyclable craft paper to fill gaps in boxed orders, reusing boxes or cartons they receive in packing orders, and using corn starch satchel bags (which are compostable) for loose treats. These are all fantastic at minimizing their impact and Laila & Me take it one step further by donating 1% of their profits to the charity One Percent for the Planet. The group at Laila & Me are brutally honest though and admit that the bagged treats they have aren’t eco-friendly. In order to maintain freshness, they are sealed in a foil lined bag, but the team hope that by partnering with the charity group, they can offset the impact these bags will have. The team at Laila & Me are trying their best and they’re upfront about what they can and can’t do. Anyone can appreciate the fact that these guys are trying to make the best choice and actively helping in the way they can. Trying to find eco-friendly packaging can be tough, especially when you’re working with food.
With a name like Organic Paws you automatically think this company has a handle on their sustainability and you would be right! Organic Paws is a raw food brand that is certified by the ACO (Australian Certified Organic.) Organic Paws uses ingredients from other certified organic suppliers and farms. This certification means there are no synthetic inputs such as chemical pesticides, or synthetic fertilisers in any of the ingredients used. This also means the products are free from preservatives, colours, GMO’s or toxic additives, which can also be detrimental to the environment. Using only certified organic ingredients avoids using harmful substances and practices that threaten the environment. When it comes to their packaging, Organic Paws has done a lot of research into the best options for their manufacturing that can be sustainable in the long term. Food waste is kept to a minimum where possible. They recycle all their plastic and cardboard waste, and most incredibly they use a plastic that is 85% biodegradable in the packaging of their raw products. When I reached out to them via email, I was also informed that they are looking into changing to hemp plastic in the near future. Hemp as we discussed is a versatile and easy to grow plant with hundreds of uses.
So while the pet industry still has a ways to go in working on their sustainability, we can at least look to the businesses at all levels and find changing and growing practices better for our environment and better for our pets. Not every purchase you need to make in the future will be sustainably friendly, but take the steps you can, do your research and make informed choices.