How to be environmentally-friendly with pets

Raising cats, dogs or both may be a challenge for those wanting to adopt a more environmentally-friendly or zero-waste approach.

Here are a few tips for any pet parent wanting to raise their furry babies with the planet in mind.

Pet food 

Getting the right balance between your pets’ nutritional wellbeing and wellbeing of the planet is crucial.

When it comes to food, look for pet food that is packaged in tins, since tins are easily recycled.

Pet food pouches often catch people out – while their appearance is foil-like, they are often put in with aluminium recycling, but pet food pouches fall into the laminated plastic category – along with baby food pouches and drinks pouches – and can’t be recycled. Pet food pouches are a huge contributor to plastic pollution, so where possible do buy tinned pet food.

Some brands like Schesir give their consumers a choice – packaging their wet pet food range in both tins, as well as pouches.

Work with your pet on the food front. While furry kids can be fussy eaters, do not compromise their nutrition or their likes for the sake of a packaging. If your cat likes a food that is packaged in a pouch yet it ticks all the boxes on the nutritional front, then continue to feed them this. A solution to the packaging issue in this case would be to contact the pet food company and tell them how you feel about the impact that their packaging has on the environment.

As consumers, we have way more power than many realise, and this is often underestimated and underplayed. Businesses rely on customer feedback, and if you feel strongly about the packaging issue, speak up as you do have the power to change that company’s practices on the environmental front.

Any pet food waste can also be put in a compositing bin in much the same way you would food scraps.

Cat Litter 

Cat parents have been ditching the conventional silica or clay cat litters in favour of biodegradable and natural cat litters for some time now, hence the choice of natural alternatives in pet shops, supermarkets and online stores.

There are now a number of wood-based cat litters made from pine, bamboo and other woods, that are super absorbent and non-harmful to the environment when disposed of. As well as having a natural scent, wood based brands also tend to be clumping litter too.

Biodegradable cat litter can have advantages for you as a cat owner too. If you have allergies, an eco-friendly dust-free litter may be better.

When buying a wood-based cat litter check that it comes from a FSC or managed forest. While the idea of wood cat litter may not sound eco-friendly, it can be as is in the case of pine which grows quickly.

Natural cat litter is easily disposed of, and will quickly biodegrade meaning less waste going to landfill.

Other environmentally-friendly cat litters are made from materials including recycled paper, hemp, and corn kernels.


Getting crafts-y and making your own pet toys for your cats and dogs is both environmentally-friendly and low-cost. In the case of cats, you can make cat trees from waste materials including cardboard boxes and wood pallets.

However, if you are not feeling the crafts tip, check out the numerous brands that now offer dog and cat toys from sustainable, non-toxic materials such as jute and bamboo, which are biodegradable. There are also brands offering bamboo-based pet plates, bowls, litter trays and crates.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea


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