Zero waste is not just for humans! When looking for ways to reduce your household’s waste, remember that pets can play a part in what is sent to the landfill. Small changes to your dog’s food, toys, and waste bags can add up to big garbage reductions over time.

When it comes to dog food and treats, there are a couple ways to reduce waste. One option is to look for companies who sell their food in recyclable packaging or have a bulk bin option. Another solution for especially adventurous pet owners is to make dog food from scratch!

If your dog needs new toys, avoid plastic and choose toys made of natural, long-lasting materials. Rope chew toys are often made of hemp or cotton, which can be put in your organics cart after your dog has torn them to shreds. Bones and antlers are other compostable options to keep dogs busy.

Though dog poop needs to go in your garbage cart, wrapping their waste in a compostable bag will prevent more plastic bags from sitting in the landfill. Look for cornstarch-based or paper bags to replace the typical plastic variety.

It is no secret that the bond between humans and dogs is particularly special. Dogs are acutely aware of their surroundings; they are loyal and protective. Can You Have a Dog and Be Zero Waste? 

One blogger shared her experience adopting a dog, purchasing supplies and food, and dealing with dog droppings. The online community responded with dozens of their responses and personal experiences.

Service dogs offer a vital service for people with disabilities and special needs. Service dogs help people with visual impairments and seizure disorders. Less known, but just as important, service dogs also assist people with mental illness and emotional barriers.

Following zero waste practices is possible for people who live with service animals. Caring for a service dog goes beyond the basics of owning a dog without service requirements. Unlike non-service dogs, service dogs require greater nutrition and waste management attention outside of the home.

You may think it’s impossible to go zero waste with a cat, but there are options! Check local pet stores to see if they sell cat food in bulk and bring a reusable container to fill up the bulk cat food. Many cat owners prefer to give their favorite felines raw food.

One website suggests making your own raw food by going to the butcher. But you may have to do some research about how to get the additional vitamins and minerals your feline friend needs.

For the litter box, try sawdust, mulch, or dirt as your litter. It’s best to slowly transition cats to new litter material by mixing it in overtime. Or buy bulk litter! Stores like Petco have bulk litter available for purchase. Try to train your kitty to go outside if your living space allows.

For the toys, think about thrift shops for secondhand cat toys! Or look into buying all natural, quality items and stay away from plastic. Look for accessories for animals at thrift stores or online via websites like Craigslist, Freecycle, and NextDoor.

Other Pets
In addition to dogs and cats, there are many other pets for which zero waste can play a role in. Check out this handy blog on Zero Waste Pets from Zero Waste Nest. And when you’re done with pet toys and products, check out the Terracycle Zero Waste Box for recycling options.

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