Our carbon footprint and the environmental impact from the pet products we buy has never been so important.
Owning a pet can have a big impact on the environment. Almost half of all households in Germany (47 percent) are pet owners. In total, Germans live with 34.9 million dogs, cats, small mammals, and pet birds.
According to a market research conducted by institute Skopos, commissioned by IVH and ZZF at the start of the second lockdown in the autumn of 2020, Germany has a total of 15.7 million felines living in 26% of German households. Cats make up 52 percent of the pet population, with dogs in second place at 10.7 million in 21 percent of households.
Pet owners today realise that it does not make sense to take care of animals on their own without taking care of the environment as a whole. Overall if we think about it, taking care of the planet also involves taking care of the animals that live in it. As animal lovers, it is our responsibility to take care of our environment.
It is with this premise that the pet market started to invest in sustainability, ensuring that it is possible to have a company and, at the same time, think about the impact this consumption can bring to the planet.
Positive Points of Eco-friendly Products for Pets
Decrease Waste and your Carbon Footprint. Eco-friendly products are made with the environment in mind, whether it is the product itself or the container / package it comes in. More products nowadays are going package-free, using materials that can be reused or choosing more natural materials for its production. Often, natural products break down and decompose more easily into the environment. By choosing them you are decreasing waste and your carbon footprint.
More Resistant and Durable. Eco-friendly products for pets tend to have more exclusive and resistant design and material. Pets end up having toys that last longer or can pass along to another pet.
More Personalised. Products that are ecological tend to be more personalised.
Natural Products are Safer. Because natural products don't contain harsh or toxic chemicals, they may be less harmful if your pet chews them.
A Healthier Nutrition for your Pet: Natural pet foods are more likely to provide your cat or dog with better nutrition because your pet ingests less chemicals, preservatives, sugar, instead more quality nutrients and vitamins.
Positive Change and Awareness. You are contributing to a positive change in the planet. Even if you think it is just one purchase or one decision, if many are deciding like you, the impact at the end is big. Sharing your decisions with others and creating awareness is a great start for positive change.
Negative Points of Eco-friendly Products for Pets
Expensive. Although they are more exclusive and try not to harm natural resources, these products tend to be more expensive. As they use innovative technologies and are concerned about topics like not deforesting or exploiting the workforce; the final product becomes more expensive and the cost must be passed on to the consumer.
Limited Reach and Accessibility. Another negative point is that some products are not so accessible for everyone. Most of these exclusive products are being restricted to e-commerce websites and are just being delivered in big cities. The amount of products made are also limited.
When it comes to pet products, it is ideal to check how sustainable the products you are buying really are. The following are product categories you can analyse yourself and decide whether you want to change and make a more sustainable purchase: pet beds, pet food & treats, pet toys, walkie bags, collars & leashes, pet bowls, litter-boxes and pet cleaning products.
Homemade treats for your pets is a great way to decrease waste while making a healthy snack for your furrbaby.
Commercial pet food has been around for almost a century, and its production requires a huge amount of natural resources, including land and water.
According to the The dogington post, “a Study from 2017 conclude that the diets of dogs and cats in the U.S. alone constitute about 25–30% of the environmental impacts from animal production in terms of the use of land, water, fossil fuel, phosphate, and biocides.”
It is important for pet owners to become aware of the big impact pet food can have on the environment. Luckily today most pet owners are willing to give their pets not only a higher quality diet but also helping decrease the climate’s effect on the planet, considering that is a worldwide problem that affects all the lives on earth today.
Because of this, there has been a growing trend for some years already of replacing processed pet food in general with natural food known as Barf.
B.A.R.F (Acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet consists of feeding dogs, cats and other pets a diet based and composed of raw food. The diet is basically composed of raw meaty bones (with more than 50% meat), lean meat, organs and offal, fruits and vegetables.
The following founder is a perfect example for Barf and the offering of products that are 100% sustainable while focusing on your pet's health.
The founder of Miezenhaps, Jessica Jungmann, founded her company in 2017 under the motto "For the love of a healthy cat".
In addition to nutritional advice for cats, in 2018, she started homemade Barf food.
The special feature of Miezenhaps Barf food is that it is packaged in a jar with a deposit system. Jessica believes that package-free products and recyclable containers are a first step in reducing environmental impact, in this case specifically for cat food.
She recently opened a concept store for cats in Hamburg, where she offers a variety of great products. In addition to food supplements and treats, there are toys, beds, cat-friendly plants - which are sustainable, regional and package-free.
If you are a cat parent living or visiting Hamburg, you should definitely stop by!
(More info about Miezenhaps at the bottom of this blog-article).
A second great example of embracing sustainability and pet products is Rag 'n Bone.
Rag 'n Bone is a great initiative that works together with partner & charity organisations and is focused on solving two problems:
Decreasing the environmental impact of fast fashion
Rescuing street dogs of Romania and finding them loving homes in Berlin
Rag 'n Bone
The number of clothing items that end up in landfill is increasing significantly and this is leading to an environmental catastrophe. Rag 'n Bone believes that clothes and fabrics can have a new lease of life, and that is why it collects these unwanted items, along with fabric offcuts and transform them into durable & comfy dog beds.
These beds are then sold to the Berlin dog community and all of the profits are shared with Redbow Dog Berlin; a charity that rescues dogs from the streets of Romania and works to find them loving, caring homes in Berlin.
Rag 'n Bone collects materials from the following local businesses:
- Yummy Vintage: A vintage clothes store that donates clothes that are stained or torn.
- Shio Store: A Berlin based designer and store who donates fabric offcuts.
- CV Studios: Another Berlin designer and store who donates fabric offcuts.
- Studio Hertzberg: A local designer, who donates fabric offcuts.
Rag 'n Bone also accepts clothes donations, drop-offs are coordinated through the Instagram page.
No two Rag 'n bone beds are the same - just like the dogs that lie on them. (More info about Rag 'n Bone at the bottom of this blog-article).
Let Us Make Better Choices for our Pets and for the Environment 🌱
The concept of sustainability is not that simple. Although many companies claim to be sustainable, they may continue to have bad practices. Therefore, it is important to check the brand before buying it for your pet!
Let us make better choices and inspire others to take care of our environment by buying sustainable and eco-friendly products for our furry friends! 🐾
More about Miezenhaps
More about RagnBone
Written by: Mariana Carvalho, Marcela Checa-Sauermann
Data: Euromonitor, The Dogington Post
Photo Credits: Jessica Jungmann (Miezenhaps), Jenna Jones (RagnBone), Andrew S, Chewy, Caspar Camille Rubin, Duan Wen on Unsplash