A couple posts ago, I talked about my new interest in going zero-waste (link). The amount of food waste and plastic trash in landfills and in our oceans is mind-boggling. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we as consumers can do about it. But through our own choices to waste less, we can send a broader message to the huge companies that create most of the waste.
When I first started my zero-waste journey, I was excited to see how far I could take it. I stopped using disposable napkins and makeup sponges, I started buying more food in bulk and using my own containers. I tried to replace as many disposable products with reusable ones as I could. I also signed up for a subscription box called The Mighty Fix – they send me a new product every month that is supposed to help me waste less. So far I’ve gotten things like cleaning cloths, food containers, and dryer balls. I have mixed feelings about it…I think if you’re new to zero waste, it’s a good start (here’s a link).
Long story short, I think I had a strong start. Then we got a dog. I’ve wanted a dog for the longest time, and once we settled into our house I started looking. After several months of searching, we finally brought home a boxer-lab mix puppy and named her Stella (I hope to write a whole blog post about her soon!). I had a dog as a kid, and my husband had a few dogs growing up, so we felt prepared to be dog parents. What I didn’t expect was the amount of waste she created. And I don’t just mean poo (though there is a LOT of that)! When we started training her, we went through bags and bags of dog treats. Then she started her destructive phase, and we had to throw away blankets, countless ripped up toys, even her bed! I felt really bad about that one. But our older cat had peed in it, then Stella started tearing holes in it and pulling out the stuffing…it was beyond saving. Now let’s talk about the poop. Gross, I know, but if you’re a dog owner you are used to it. Stella is a big dog, so she poops a lot. We’re already on our second poop scoop because the first one broke (and went in the trash!). There are laws in our city about pet waste disposal, so we have to put the poo or kitty litter in plastic bags and throw it in the trash.
When I looked online for solutions, I realized that all the zero-waste bloggers that I know of had something in common. None of them have pets. So I’m trying to find solutions on my own. I’ve all but given up on giving Stella soft toys, because I know she’ll destroy them. I’m still holding out hope that it’s just a phase! One thing we’re considering is a dog waste composter that goes in the ground. With the help of special enzymes, it breaks down the poo so it can be used as fertilizer instead of going in a landfill. The one I found that sounds perfect is only available in Australia, but my husband found some similar ones on Amazon. If we buy one, I’ll let you know how it goes!
If anyone has tips on how to waste less when you have a dog, let me know in the comments! Tips on how to get your dog not to destroy every toy you give her would be useful too!