How to reduce your carbon pawprint - and still pamper your pets

How to reduce your carbon pawprint - and still pamper your pets

“Pet lovers may choose to swap their furry, four-legged friend for something a little less cuddly if they want to help save the planet,” read a press release by 

According to their research, tortoises topped the list as the most eco-friendly pet to have, while dogs and cats were “among the worst offenders” when it comes to damaging the environment.

It’s a rather extreme take, and not one we are particularly keen on: guilting pet owners over their choice of pet, especially at such a difficult time when their emotional support is more needed than ever, seemed rather uncalled for.

In April 2020, as many countries were in lockdown and lifestyles radically changed, daily global CO2 emissions fell 17 per cent compared with the same period in 2019. It is a significant drop, but not nearly enough to stop climate change unless far more significant cuts to emissions take place. 

We live in a world where a relatively small number of firms are responsible for a huge share of carbon emissions, with a small minority of people travelling across the world in private jets and billionaires releasing untold amounts of pollution to briefly go to space. Ignoring all of this to shift the blame on individual pet owners - “you should stop having dogs! Get a tortoise! Don’t you care about the planet?” - is clearly taking it several steps too far.

At the same time, individuals’ sustainable choices can and do matter. So, short of choosing to swap one’s beloved Labrador or tabby  cat for a tortoise (not that we don’t love tortoises, but is it not better to choose a pet out of love rather than out of guilt?), what can pet owners do to meet their pets’ needs in the most sustainable way possible? 

There are a few options…

Recyclable packaging

Choosing a pet food brand with as little packaging as possible, or recyclable packaging, is a good step forward. Pet food manufacturers in the UK are being encouraged to join a new recycling scheme created by Mars Petcare and recycling experts, TerraCycle. The nationwide scheme offers pet owners a free solution to transform waste packaging into useful items like park benches and fence posts. 

Deri Watkins, Managing Director Mars Petcare UK, said, “It is critical that the petfood industry responds to the challenges around recycling and plastic waste. 

“However, if we want lasting change we cannot do it alone. As an industry, we are stronger when we work together to tackle common problems.”

Visit for more information.

Insect protein - will it fly?

Many of us already have reduced meat consumption for ethical and ecological reasons, but our dogs do need their fix of proteins to thrive aside from the occasional veggie treat - and some believe insect-based dog food may be the solution! Back in 2019, we had some of our readers trying out insect-based treats; most of their dogs enjoyed the taste and one owner said she found it “less of an ethical nightmare” to feed as opposed to meat-based treats coming from intensively farmed animals.

Choose toy and accessories made of eco-friendly or recycled materials

Toys made out of sustainable materials, compostable poo bags, dog beds filled with 100 per cent recycled fibre, natural grooming products - the market for eco-friendly dog accessories is booming, with plenty to choose from so that both your pets and the planet will thank you.

Alessandra Pacelli

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