How To Be An Environmentally Friendly Dog Owner
World Environment Day 2018
What is World Environment Day?
World Environment Day takes place every year on 5 June. It is the United Nations’ flagship day for promoting worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years, it has grown to be celebrated my millions of people in well over 100 countries. It is a day for everyone to do something positive for the environment, to change a habit and to ask questions. With this collective power we can have a lasting and positive impact on the planet, our home.
Beat Plastic Pollution
This year, with India as the host, World Environment Day is asking people to around the world to help Beat Plastic Pollution.
Every year, 8 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans (!), threatening the marine, human life and destroying our natural ecosystems. To Beat Plastic Pollution, we need everyone to step up and think deeply about how they can not only reduce, reuse and recycle, but look to change the behaviours of governments, industries, businesses and ourselves, because the only way to tackle the mess we have made, in our environment , is by working together.
The aim of World Environment Day to reduce the amount of plastic dumped in our oceans, which is currently around a truckload every minute!
What Can We Do As Dog Owners?
It is estimated that there are approximately 32 million owned dogs around the world and, perhaps, as many as 20 million stray dogs worldwide. In the UK there are nearly 9 million dogs owned as pets. That’s an awful lot of dog owners!
Imagine the difference we could make if we all made just one or two small changes in our daily routines. It would go a long way to helping Beat Plastic Pollution and creating a better world for future generations and animals.
It Can’t Be That Difficult, Can It?
Owning a dog usually comes with a lot of STUFF and if you look closely, much has some part of it that is made of plastic. So what can we do?
How easy it would it be to ditch the plastic?
I don’t know about you, but Barney goes for a poop and, not long after you’ve thrown the bag in the bin, he goes for another one. I do my best to get more than one poop in a bag, let’s be honest, no dog does just one poo!
Hopefully, as a conscientious dog owner, you pick up your dog poop, but what do you use? A normal shop plastic bag? It does seem like a good way to use up all the plastic bags we’ve all got hiding away, in a cupboard, just in case we need one!
There are some other options we can swap to, in order stop the using plastic bags which aren’t biodegradable, and take anywhere between 10 and 1000 years to decompose on landfill sites.
Biodegradable Poop Bags
There are a few companies that sell biodegradable poop bags, they are treated with an additive which helps them break down, unlike normal plastic bags.
Compostable Poop Bags
These seem pretty new to the market, I can only find two companies that are making them (hopefully that will change in the future). These compostable bags are vegetable starch-based and unscented and can be put in your composting heap. They are more expensive than normal poop bags, but hopefully as more companies make them, they will become cheaper.
Compostable Dog Loo
A natural and safe way to get rid of dog poo in then garden. This seems like a great idea, even if you do have to build a great big hole in it and add a bio-activator capsule each week. We don’t have one, but this is something I am thinking about getting, when we eventually move to our forever home. There seems to be differing views on whether it works, some people love it and others have not had much luck with the poo breaking down. I wonder if it depends on what type of food you feed your dogs? This is definitely something I will look into for the future.
Dog Poo Wormery
This is another great idea but not one that I have tried out (definitely will look into this for the future too). The wormery takes dogs waste and converts it into fertiliser for the garden. Once installed in the garden, there’s nothing to add except worms and dog poo! Completely natural and a great way to help the environment by reducing the use of poop bags and making fertiliser.
I know it is very easy to buy cheap toys for dogs, especially as sometimes (well, always with out two) they are destroyed very quickly. However, why not look for toys which aren’t made of plastic? As an alternative, try looking for companies that make toys from non-toxic natural rubber, or tug toys made of hemp. There are also brands that make soft toys for dogs which are stuffed with material made from recycled plastic water bottles.
For me, these toys would be not only be better for the environment but also our dogs too. I wonder if they would be longer-lasting as well? hehehe
Does your dog food brand use recyclable/biodegradable packing? How much packaging do you throw away each week? If your bin collection is anything like ours, our non-recyclable rubbish is only collected every two weeks, so changes to recyclable packing would not only help the planet but also our local neighbourhood.
If the brand you use doesn’t have recyclable packing, why not contact them to ask what their plans are for changing the non recyclable packaging they use? They may already be looking into changing the packaging, but if they know how important it is to their customers, then hopefully they will start to implement change sooner.
I have emailed the brand we use for the dogs, because their website does say their packaging is completely recyclable, however the food does come in black plastic trays and, after watching a programming on recycling, I believe that black plastic isn’t recyclable because the machines can’t ‘see’ black. So I wait to hear from them and what they say about it.
Plastic Food, Water Bowls & Bottles
Swapping from plastic food and pater bowls for our pets, is very easy. There are few options to try instead such as ceramic, bamboo, and plant-based plastic bowls.
Why not ditch the use once water bottles and buy a non-plastic, refillable bottle to take out on dog walks or keep in the car, such as a stainless steel one.
When you are ready to change your dog’s bed, have a look for beds that are made from 100% natural fabric and fibres. I’ve seen a lot of brands who make beds that has stuffing is made from recycled water bottles!
Great Environmentally Friendly Dog Brands
What Action Will You Take?
Whilst I’m not suggesting we all go out and change everything we own, or do, for our dogs. How about starting small with one change to biodegradable poop bags, or emailing your dog food manufacturer to ask when they will be changing their packaging to recyclable packaging.
Shopping local with small businesses is another great change to make, not only supporting small businesses but helping the environment too (not being shipped half way round the world). Many small businesses are already creating products that are organic, 100% natural and packaged in recyclable/biodegradable packaging.
One small change, may not seem like a lot to you, but if 9 million dog owners did something, then the impact would be huge. If we all do nothing, then nothing changes!
The fate of our beautiful planet lies in our hands. So let us know what you are doing to make a change for World Environment Day. We’d love to hear about any changes you make, or ethical brands you have found.
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
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