Some fun news to start off the blog this year is we adopted a puppy! Her name is Haddie and she's a 7 month old mixed breed dog. We just adopted her a week and a half ago so we're still learning the ropes of pet ownership and how we can make it as low waste as possible. I'm hoping that I can make this a series as I learn more and come up with new ideas. To start, here are some of my ideas for being low-waste while having a pet!
1. Frozen Wash Cloth Chew Toy:
I got this amazing idea from the internet as a fun "toy" for teething puppies. You take a wash cloth and wet it under the sink, then twist it up and ring it out. Then put it in your freezer for a few hours until it's completely frozen and give it to your pup to chew! I especially love this because I'm sure everyone has an old wash cloth lying around their home that they don't mind if it gets chewed up, and it's a super simple way to entertain your puppy for awhile. See the toy next to her in the picture above, she loves it!
2. Leftover Kibble in the Kong:
I don't know about your dog but Haddie loves her kong toy. She goes crazy for it and it will take her about an hour to get all the food out of it. One other thing about Haddie though is she doesn't love her kibble. Most meals she eats her wet food on top of the kibble and leaves the kibble in the bowl. I started taking the leftover kibble and mixing it with some leftover low-fat plain greek yogurt we have and freezing it in the kong overnight. I give it to her the next day and she goes crazy for it! Other filling ideas are using cottage cheese, carrots, or mixing in some peanut butter as well. I always love doing this because she eats it and I'm not just throwing away the kibble she didn't want to eat.
3. Buying Canned Wet Food:
As I mentioned above, Haddie loves her wet food. One great way to reduce waste is to buy wet food in aluminum cans which can be recycled over plastic packets of wet food which can't.
4. Using Food Bags as Poop Bags:
One really wasteful part of dog ownership is the amount of poop you have to bag up and throw away (at least for those of us who live in the city!) What I started doing was not throwing out bags that food came in when they're empty just yet, but giving them one more use! Instead of throwing out that bread bag, first use it as a poop bag and cut down on waste.
5. Saving Toy Stuffing to Sew Up:
When we adopted Haddie the shelter sent us home with a stuffed sloth toy. And well, Haddie likes to rip this sloth to shreds and take all of the stuffing out of it. She hasn't gotten all of it yet though so as I find balls of stuffing, I collect them and keep them in a bag. Then once she takes all of the stuffing out I'm going to re-stuff it and sew the rips closed and let her have another go at it! While this toy definitely won't last forever (judging from the state it's already in after a week), by re-stuffing it back up for her I'm giving it another few lives before it eventually will need to be tossed. In doing so I might be saving myself from buying an additional 2-3 stuffed animals if I can extend this ones life!
6. Use Your Local Buy Nothing Group:
I've talked before about how I love using my Buy Nothing group to give away things I no longer want/need and for getting things as well. I posted in my local group about getting a puppy and boy did they come through! I was able to get tons of poop bags, toys, treats, and even a dog crate for Haddie all for free before we got her! This cut down on the things we had to buy for her which was great and also saved unused items from ending up in a landfill.
Let me know in the comments below what other tips you have for keeping pet waste to a minimum, I would love to try out some of your ideas!
Join me as I document my journey to becoming zero-waste through this blog as a resource to others.