I’m glad you’re connecting with us and raising awareness about plastic pollution. I think we can do much better to avoid the use of plastic bags. Many of us are old enough to remember the days before the invention of plastic bags. We did just fine without them, using paper, fabric, and those tied string bags. We had no plastic trash bags. We used paper grocery bags and lined the bottom with folded newspaper. My mum went a step further with this and always emptied the bathroom bin (usually containing tissues) in the bottom as well, as a liner. I always do and always have.
We can all reuse the plastic bags we have to buy. Those of us lucky enough to have pets usually have to buy dog, cat, horse and wild bird food in large plastic-lined bags. Use them for the trash bucket instead of buying the big black trash bags. I can honestly say that I have never bought a plastic bag in my life, although I have reused bags given to me by others.
Chock Full o’ Nuts sells coffee in recyclable steel cans. It’s a bit more expensive but it’s worth it. Of course, buying in bulk is always a great option, including dish and laundry detergent. You can also make your own dishwasher detergent, it works better than store bought one. Look for it online.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some ideas. I’m still crazy at home!
— Unleash Nancy of Shrewsbury
I so appreciate you telling us about your efforts to reduce plastic waste. I hear a lot of people trying to reduce their plastic footprint. They too admit to declaiming whenever it seems appropriate and sometimes even when it is not! Many pet owners, like you, are also frustrated with the lack of plastic-free pet food packaging. I encourage you to check out Sundays For Dogs. This dog food seems to come in cardboard boxes. You can also buy canned food for dogs and cats. Many dog treats also come in cardboard boxes. Choose them over plastic wraps every time!
Pet food packaging is, of course, just one of the issues with sustainable pet ownership. A big concern is the amount of protein that cats and dogs consume. According to The Zero Waste Pet (thezerowastepet.com):
“In 2009, a book on sustainable living came out that claimed the carbon footprints of pets were twice as large as those of gas-guzzling SUVs. In large part, the authors attributed this impact to diet…Producing enough protein to feed the world is on the brink of impossibility, and our animals consume large amounts of this protein. Surprisingly, “the average European cat uses as many resources over its lifetime as the average (human) African,” said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in a presentation to the Pet Sustainability Council. “With the dramatic and exponential growth of the human population, this is simply not sustainable – or even possible. Or reasonable… Cats and dogs consume tons of meat. As we all know, the vast majority of the meat production is not done in a sustainable or humane way, which further compounds the problem.”
Pet owners have a responsibility to do their part to reduce the impact of their pets on the environment and on the health of other humans. Feed your pet less protein by adding vegetables to stretch their food, or consider insect protein (Jiminy’s dog food). I encourage all pet owners to visit The Zero Waste Pet or The Pet Sustainability Coalition website for many helpful suggestions on how to reduce your pet’s impact on the health of planet Earth. Start by using plant-based bags to clean up your pets’ messes, and forget the plastic toys, a bone will do the trick.
Please be the best pet owner you can be by committing to zero waste and sustainability in your pet ownership practices! Simply being more aware of the impact of each of your decisions on our planet and all other living creatures will help you. Be careful, please!