Since the start of this year I have seriously been trying to reduce my plastic waste. We are destroying our oceans, so we must start changing the way we do things. You may think that you, as an individual on a planet of over 7.6 billion people couldn’t make much of a difference. But you absolutely can, its all the little things that can help.
You may have seen the campaign recently called ‘Plastic Free July’ basically a challenge to get through the month using as little plastic as you possibly can, so I thought it would be a good opportunity for a blog post on the topic.
I have been making lifestyle changes, there’s so many amazing small businesses out there now to help you reduce your plastic waste. Reusable bags, drinks bottles, refillable washing detergent, soap and shampoo bars and even ‘zero-waste’ shops where you can fill up your own containers (which I love by the way, its like a giant pick n mix!).
However, when it comes to looking after Loki this is where I start to struggle. Almost every bag of treats that you buy is wrapped in plastic, bags of dog food come in plastic and are usually provided with a plastic food scoop to help you measure (really can’t you just use a mug/cup you have in the kitchen already?!)
Here are a few things I have been trying that have helped reduce my waste
Buy in Bulk
I think one of the worse culprits of dog related plastic waste is buying the tiny little bags of treats in plastic, if your dog’s anything like Loki he will get through them in a matter of days. if at all possible then try to buy in larger packs, that means overall there will be less packaging (and it usually works out cheaper). Last month at Dogfest I bought a few packs of treats from Finer by Nature although they were in plastic, because it was a larger pack of chews I didn’t mind so much.
The same applies if you feed dried dog food, if you opt for the larger bags then again they work out cheaper and less packaging.
Feed a Raw Diet
Now I know this isn’t for everyone and I don’t want to start a raw food debate! But we switched Loki onto a raw diet a few months ago now.
Both of these companies provide their minces (not bones or chunks) in compostable tubs which is great as I can just clean them out (Loki sometimes helps with this) and chuck them on our compost heap. They also deliver the food frozen in boxes with ‘Wool cool’ insulation. Once you have made a few orders they will collect the wool insulation, reuse it and give you some money off your next order. This is a real bonus as most (maybe all) other raw companies deliver in heaps of polystyrene which I have no idea how or if you can recycle.
The other eco benefit about raw for me is the dog poo! I don’t want to go into detail but Loki has always had a sensitive tummy and I used to use up to five poo bags on a walk with him, now there’s one or two small ones a day which means a lot less poo bags, which brings me on to my next topic..
This is a bit of a grey area for me. Yes I buy biodegradable poo bags. But is there any point? I’m really not sure. If these bags go straight to landfill then its likely that they won’t be in the right conditions to breakdown?
I know Beco have released compostable bags, but this isn’t any good for us. We have a compost heap which then gets used on our plants, herbs, fruit and vegetables. I really don’t want Loki’s poo on my lovely homegrown food!! I know some people have a compost collection but we don’t unfortunately.
There’s also the option of a dog poo composter in your garden, but I’m not sure I could deal with the smell of that in our fairly small garden!
Homemade Dog Treats
A few months ago I purchased a dehydrator from amazon. I absolutely love it, you can make all sorts of treats up and they actually last really well. I have made homemade treats in the past but they haven’t lasted as long as I would have liked. With the dehydrator I can make all sorts of treats up for Loki which last for at least a month, so there’s no rush to get through them. This uses a lot less plastic (from the treat packets you would buy otherwise) and is also a lot cheaper than buying premade treats, not to mention you actually know what’s in the treats! Keep a look out for our new blog post series ‘The Dehydrator Diaries’ where we will share all our successes (and failures) with our dehydrator!
Seek out the Small Businesses
There are lots of fantastic small businesses around that are doing their bit. To name a few DevilDoodDirect deliver chews in paper bags and no excessive plastic (other than the treat packets), The Dog and I make handmade soap with minimal use of plastics and free of any nasties, The Little Soap Company make both hound and human soaps (I can vouch for the human one but yet to try the dog one!) and there’s many more!
Make a Fuss!!
There are many companies that I love but do come heavily wrapped in plastic. Even if you love the product just send them a message telling them how it would be so much better if they could reduce the plastic that their products come in. If just one person (me!) makes a comment then it would probably get ignored but if they receive lots of feedback it may make a difference!
Sorry for such a long post, if you do have any other ideas I would love to hear them. I am by no means perfect, I often buy packs of treats and toys packaged in plastic but I do try!