When we think about our carbon footprint, we think of vehicles, machinery, food, and many others. However, only a small percentage of people realize that their own pets also have a carbon footprint. Considering they cannot make too many decisions regarding their food and litter, this is largely down to the owner. For this reason, we have compiled some tips that will allow you to go green with your pet.
Buy in Bulk - Do you currently buy your pet food or litter in small bags every few days? If so, just think about the impact that this is having on you and the environment. Firstly, you have to travel to and from the store every few days. Secondly, think of all the packaging involved in doing it this way. Wherever possible, you should be buying in bulk to save on gas and packaging. Seeing as though cat litter will last a long time, why not buy a large bag and store it away?
Compost Waste - When dogs poop, it can pollute surface water and the ground if not picked up; of course, there is also the danger of parasites and diseases. Rather than putting it in the trash though, we have another solution and it involves composting. As long as you do it correctly, pathogens will be destroyed and the soil in your garden will be improved. It should go without saying that you shouldn't be using this compost on vegetables and anything else you plan to eat. This being said, the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service has created a handy guide for this process*.
Pet Food Packaging - On the whole, packaging used for pet food is quite wide and varied. If possible, you should therefore go for the options that allow you to recycle as much as possible. Just like our food, pet food is something that is absolutely necessary but that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done at all. For example, some pet food manufacturers use recycled materials so show them some love.
Cat Litter - For the most part, we tend to use clay-based litters which come from destructive strip mines as bentonite clay. Instead, look for those that are made mainly from wood shavings, renewable wheat crops, recycled newspaper, and corn. With this one, your cat will normally tell you which one they prefer so try them all.
Prevent Litters - Within the US, overpopulation within the pet world is a major issue. In the US alone, just over two and a half million cats and dogs are euthanized* each year (the same amount that get adopted). Therefore, spaying or neutering your pet is a much better solution than dropping off litters to a shelter because they cannot handle the current demand. Nowadays, there are different options and you will be able to discuss them with your vet.
Pet Statistics." Shelter Intake and Surrender. ASPCA, n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.