The City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has a certification program to identify Portland’s Greenest businesses. It’s a fairly thorough process, with site visits to verify the information given on a lengthy checklist of possible actions of sustainability. In 2013, 45 actions were required for Gold Level, and Green Dog had 53 completed actions. Our evaluator told us that we were “in the top handful of scores for all high achievers we’ve worked with, and by far the highest number we’ve seen for any retail establishment”. Woo Hoo!
This year,we completed 45 suggested actions plus
note: (this post is a work in progress)
As a Green store, we of course are dedicated to sustainability, but that can be a real challenge with pet food.
The larger a company is, the more difficult and expensive it is for them to source the most sustainable ingredients on a large enough scale to meet national demand. One might expect that we would source only Organic foods, but this is more of a challenge than you might expect – many pet foods that are certified organic are not, in our opinion, necessarily suitable nutritionally for carnivores; organic meats are expensive, and often a very large percentage of the protein is derived from less expensive organic grains. (more…)
When we first opened, one of the things we thought was a no-brainer was looking into LED or other efficient lighting options for the sales floor. As the first environmentally friendly pet supply store in the nation, we wanted to make sure that we did everything we could to design for sustainability. The spotlights seemed to be a challenge though. LED technology has come a long way, but at the time, most LEDs were kind of blue in color, and not very bright at all. We needed bright spotlights to showcase products, and nothing existed at the time outside of the typical commercial spots. (more…)
Embed this graphic on your website today! :
<b>Please Include Attribution to OnlineEducation.net With This Graphic</b> </br><a href=”http://www.onlineeducation.net/2012/12/17/fantastic-plastic”><img src=”https://s3.amazonaws.com/infographics/Our-Plastic-Nightmare_Final.jpg” alt=”Plastic Infographic” width=”500″ border=”0″ /></a>
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.