Not long after we first opened the store, we found a product that we thought sounded like a no-brainer for a green store – doggie poop bags that broke down quickly in water so that they could be safely flushed. It seemed quite logical that pet waste would be best disposed of in a system already in place to treat sewage, so we bought them. However, it occurred to us that we had only worried about the safety of the home sewer system before we bought them, and had not considered to ask what happens to the water supply when pet waste was flushed. We were already selling flushable cat litter and advocating the flushing of litter. Is flushing really the best way to dispose of pet waste? We contacted the city of Portland about this issue, as we wanted to make sure that it would truly be a good idea on all sides. They vehemently opposed the idea at the time, and we ended up not reordering those bags again (and they weren’t selling that well anyway, so we left it at that).
We heard recently that a few of our distributors were probably bringing in flushable bags, which concerned us a bit, as it means they would then be actively promoted to local retailers and therefore marketed more widely to the public. As some years had passed and I knew that Portland has made some upgrades to the system in recent years, I called again to discuss the issue. (more…)
Christine was interviewed yesterday on a blog called DandelionDish about how to green your pet – the topics included:
– What do we look for in a product and how do we define green when it comes to pet products?
– What should you generally be looking for in a food and what do you absolutely not want to see on a label?
– What is the greenest way to feed your pets?
– Discussion of more sustainable cat litters vs. clay
– What do we look for in things like beds and toys?
– Are green products necessarily more expensive?
– What are ways that people can save money and still live sustainably?
I just stumbled upon an interesting article about flame retardants in furniture having agreater cumulative effect in the bodies of our pets than in people. Apparently many of these chemicals were phased out in 2004 in the U.S., but of course many of us own furniture manufactured before that time. It’s very important to try to minimize chemical exposure for our pets and our children- those little bodies are even more susceptible to toxins than we are.Â Here’s the link. http://news.discovery.com/animals/ditch-your-old-couch-for-your-dogs-sake-110427.html
We are very excited to introduce you to this product. The disposal of pet waste is one of the most difficult issues surrounding pet ownership, in an environmental sense. Up until now, there has been no good way.Â Leaving waste on the ground of course isn’t acceptable – not only is it rude and gross, it rinses away with our plentiful rains straight into the street drains which empty ultimately into our rivers and streams.Poop in a landfill releases methane, and “biodegradable” plastic bags release their own methane when they break down anaerobically in the landfill, only adding to the problem. Compostable bags may not release methane, but the poop remains a methane producer.Â We thought flushing the poop was a good idea for a while, but we realized that some pathogens, like toxplasmosis, are not killed by the treatment process and can remain in our water supply. (This has been an even bigger problem in California, where sea otters have been having a recent problem with toxoplasmosis, and they suspect the link lies in flushed cat poop). Finally, some have invested in an in-ground waste disposal device that claims to compost the poop, but this method doesn’t hold up on closer inspection – it is very debatable whether the enzymes have a chance to break down the poop quickly enough for it to be free of pathogens by the time it soaks into the soil. The system recommends a large amount of water which flushes the waste into the soil before the enzymes have a chance to work, and the location of the device never changes, guaranteeing that the natural microorganisms in the soil in that location are depleted of their power to help in this process. Pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli and toxoplasmosis can easily contaminate our water in this way.
Enter Bokashicycle! This is a system that uses closed containers and natural enzymes to ferment the waste, killing all pathogens and making it perfectly safe to bury in the soil, making your garden lush! No smell, no flies, and very easy. They also make a kitchen scrap Bokashicycler (we’re using one in the Green Dog kitchen now), and if you’d like it, just let us know and we’ll get it for you. We can also drop ship either of these to anywhere in the country – what a great Christmas present!
I know this isn’t pet related exactly, but it’s so exciting to see that brilliant ideas like this are being generated. Imagine if we could start building these sorts of roads right away! I know these sorts of things might be a ways off, but consider how much of an impact this plan could have. Real life Jetsons stuff!
Here’s a super easy thing to do to help clean up the oil spill – there is a great nonprofit organization called Matter of Trust that collects human and pet hair and old nylon stockings to make “hair booms” and hair mats that do a remarkable job of soaking up oil (right at the end of this video is a great demonstration of this). This is turning into a large-scale fiber recycling movement nationwide, and here are three easy ways for you to help.
First, contact your local human and pet salons and let them know how easy it is for them to make a difference – they just collect hair in a plastic bag lined boxes and ship it off to Matter of Trust to be made into booms.Â Did you know 300,000 pounds of hair are cut every day in the US? Combine that with the amount of pet hair that is cut and you have an amazing resource.
Second, you can collect your own pet’s hair and bring it to a salon that’s participating (their website has information on how to find salons in your area). In the Portland area, you can bring your hair to Pawsitively Clean on Hawthorne – they’ve been collecting hair for Matter of Trust since 2001!
Third, donate to Matter of Trust – $61 buys a 150 foot roll of the plastic netting that goes on the outside of the nylon booms that will be used to soak up oil.
I’ve often been frustrated when yet another phone directory is plonked onto my front porch. I don’t really use them any more – this computer here does a good job of finding things. Not only that, but there are multiple companies putting out yellow page type books, so volume after volume gets delivered, making me feel such sadness at the waste. This nonprofit org is working on changing all of this – even though there is no current mandatory opt out list available (like the National Do not Call list), they are advocating for making Yellow Page delivery optional: ‘I’ll order one if I want it’. This would be a huge step towards cutting the enormous waste in resources from making, shipping, and delivering these huge books that people might just be throwing away.
Here’s a link that helps you to opt out of Yellow page delivery if you so desire:
Times are tough and beds can be expensive. I found a couple of cute links for making pet beds out of things you might have lying around the house. Save money and recycle household items that might otherwise be landfilled.
Check out this link for how to make a cat bed out of an old sweater. This is a very simple bed to make. It would be a perfect cover for an old bed pillow of your own that you’ve retired.
This link is for making a chew resistant dog bed out of old jeans
Check out this collection of links with other clever ideas such as using old suitcases and even an office chair turned into cat furniture.
This is a great link to a site that illustrates the importance of cutting back the use of plastic bags globally. Great photos and quick facts – worth sharing this link with others! According to this piece, China will save 37 million barrels of oil this year due to their ban of free plastic bags. When you visit the link, the scroll bar is alongside the pictures. Pass it along! Here’s an FAQ about Portland’s plastic bag ban We hope other cities will do the same!
I just took a flight out to the east coast to visit friends and my folks. I was fairly shocked to realize that none of the 3 airlines I was on recycled their aluminum cans. It may seem like a little thing to worry about, but according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, about 780 million people took a flight in 2007. In looking around the plane, it seemed that about 75% of passengers used an aluminum can. When they come around to collect trash, it would be super easy to have two bags instead of one. The end result would be the same volume of refuse, but the can bags could be easily sent to recycling. The key to this equation, I believe, is that the airlines could be making money from this practice. I know that there are plenty of recycling companies that buy aluminum in large quantities, and will even pick them up. In these days of collapsing airlines due to financial constraints, wouldn’t it just make sense to be looking for ways to stretch their dollar? Couldn’t they also be using this practice as a PR move, showing us they’re getting in on the Green movement?
So, during this Earth Day week, perhaps we can get involved in a little green activism by writing to a few of the airlines and telling them they should come out of the dark ages and get with the program. Recycling aluminum cans seems basic, easy and money-making. Let them know!!