Sustainable pet ownership: 7 tips for reducing your carbon pawprint
The RSCPCA have recently launched their new ten-year strategy Together for Animal Welfare which acknowledges that the climate crisis is a huge threat to both animals and humans and should be addressed as part of their ongoing strategy. With this in mind, they have recommended some steps that we can all take to be more sustainable in our pet ownership and more mindful about how we treat waste and unwanted items that we use when feeding or caring for our pets. Here are a few of their top tips that you can start doing right away in order to become a more sustainable pet owner.
1. Recycle pet food pouches and packets
Although most of us recycle our rubbish, not all kerbside collections will take pet food pouches. But there are now an increasing number of places where you can take your pouches to be recycled. The Mars Petcare Recycling Programme details places near to you where you can drop your pet food pouches and dry food packets to be recycled. Have a look at this website to find your nearest drop-off point. If there isn’t one near you, you may be able to set one up – check out the website for more details.
2. Make your own pet toys
Another great way to recycle is by creating your own pet toys from household items. The RSPCA has some great tips online, such as how to make a cat fishing rod toy from recycled items and 8 simple DIY loo roll games to keep your pets entertained during lockdown.
3. Pass on your unused pet items
If your pet has a toy, clothing or bedding that they aren’t using, don’t throw them away, see if any of your friends pets would like them, or if they are in good condition, send them to a local charity shop where they can be reused and sold for a good cause at the same time.
4. Use biodegradable cat litter and compostable dog poo bags
Tonnes of used cat litter and poo-filled plastic bags end up in landfill every year and can take years – centuries even - to rot down. By making a small switch to eco-friendly products, you can have a big impact.
5. Look out for wildlife
Our pets can also have a big impact on local wildlife and it's important to make sure you are mindful of this too. If you have a cat, try and reduce their opportunities to catch birds or small mammals by attaching a bell to their collar – just make sure it is a safe quick-release collar so that your cat doesn’t get stuck in a tree.
Dog owners should always take responsibility for their dogs when wildlife is present. You have a legal responsibility to keep your dog under control at all times under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and doing so can help to make sure that wildlife is protected too. Sometimes the smallest actions can have the greatest impact.
6. Walk instead of driving
Going on long walks with your dog doesn’t just keep them happy, it will keep you healthy and happy too. So if you can walk to your exercise spot, rather than driving it’s going to be better for you, your dog and the environment too.
7. Use less plastic
As pet owners, there are simple ways you can reduce your daily plastic use. For example, you can buy ceramic pet food bowls instead of plastic ones, non-plastic toys and accessories and have a go at making your own DIY toys (see 2, above). Spend a little more on things that are going to last longer rather than cheap throwaway items.
What are you doing to reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint? Let us know in the comments section below.