Reduce your impact
A lot of pet toys are made from plastic, including hard and soft plastic, foil, and fabric like faux fur and canvas, all of which end up in landfill and can have many negative consequences for the environment: the product releases toxic chemicals, breaks down into smaller particles and get into our oceans and waterways, harms natural wildlife and prevents the break down of other products, including naturally compostable items like fruit and vegetable scraps and wood. Instead of ending up in landfill and contributing to environmental damage, there’s a few things we can do to re-use or recycle pet toys.
One simple thing to do if your pet has grown bored, grown out of or you’re just trying to reduce the amount of, toys is to give away any old (clean) ones. You can share them with new pet parents, or see if your local pet shelter or op shop will take them. If the item is clean and not (too) broken, there’s a lucky dog or cat out there who would love the forgotten toy. Sharing the toy means it’s getting used appropriately, reduces overproduction of plastic toys, and gives the Earth a break. If you share the next few tips with them along with the pre-loved toy, it can prevent the toys from ending up in landfill at all.
Part of the three R’s is re-use — and that is one of the best ways to reduce you and your pet’s environmental impact. You can re-use parts of the toy in different ways to give old toys new life. If you have a fabric toy such as a teddy, you can get creative and find new use for the fabric. Try patching your pet’s blanket holes, create stylish pet bandanas or bows, or use them as shed rags for oil spills, dirt cleaning etc.
What about those pesky plastic toys? If you can think of any great ways to re-use the hard and soft plastic toys like balls, squeaky toys, toy bones and rope toys, we’d love to hear about it!
Based off our research, the best way we can reduce the impact of these plastic toys is to recycle them through a recycling program. An Australian pet brand Happy Boi seems to have a recycling program, where you purchase a recycling box, return it, and get a voucher to be used for the shop. If you’re interested in buying harnesses, collars, toys or other wearables, give this program a go at the same time! In SEQ, regional councils have recycling with our yellow bin lids. So long as we follow the guidelines of recycling, including cleaning the plastic and separating the different kinds of material — it’s worth a shot to protect the Earth we know and love.
You can also reduce and recycle by transforming old household items into pet toys. Grab an old container and punch some holes big enough for treats. Use the lid to fill the container with pet treats and let your pet have a go problem-solving to get their treats. Your cat would love old cardboard boxes and toilet rolls. Use old bottles and unpaired socks to give extra life to a crunchy toys by covering the bottle with a sock, tying it off and letting your dog crunch away. It might make a bit of mess, but the clean up is easy and environmentally thoughtful. It also saves you time and money, too!
If none of that seem viable to you, don’t worry! Sometimes, all we can do is the best we can. There’s a few other options for the next time your pet needs, or deserves, a new toy. You can find ethically made and environmentally conscious pet toys like this collection found from Flora and Fauna, or the collection from Pet Play or Biome.
You can read more about environmental sustainability, specifically how Bella and Boots tackles environmental sustainability, here on our website. You can visit us in-store at Belmondos Organic Market to check out our food packs. We’d love to hear more about your furry friend: anything funny, clever or unique they do. You can tag us on social media @bella_nboots or fill out our Pet of the Fortnight form here to win a 700g food pack.