Sunday is Earth Day, so I wanted to take a look at how pets can be a part of keeping our planet healthy and green.
1. Keep your pet’s meds out of the water and soil. If you have expired prescription medication, be sure to dispose of it at a medication drop off location, rather than putting it into the trash. Medications thrown out with the garbage can leech into the soil, groundwater, lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans, imperiling wildlife and even us. Not sure where to bring your pet’s prescription drugs (or yours)? Ask at your local pharmacy. They may take them, but if not, they’ll know who in your area does!
2. Stop badmouthing “by-products.” I’ve written before how it can be difficult to judge the quality of a pet food just from reading the list of ingredients. “By-products” can be excellent for your pets, and it’s well worth educating yourself about what exactly your pet’s food manufacturer includes in the formula instead of dismissing them. By feeding wholesome, nutritious foods that are not usually consumed by humans, you help create a more sustainable planet and diminish the impact of meat production on our ecosystem. Educate yourself!
3. Use recycled goods, and recyle! Pet products often come in a lot of wasteful packaging, but at least some of it can be recycled. For example, did you know you can recycle pet food cans? You can also purchase dog beds, vests, collars, pillows, blankets, and toys made from recycled materials. What’s more, you can “precycle” by focusing on purchasing larger sizes of products such as treats, allowing you to consume less packaging. Better yet, buy in bulk and use your own containers.
4. Recyling isn’t just for products. Adopt! One of the most tragic facts about pets is the more than 1 million of them who die in animal shelters each year. We can fix that problem by supporting spay/neuter programs, particularly for community cats, and by adopting our own family pets. It’s the most lovable way to recycle.
5. See the world through animal eyes. Sometimes when we’re adding up the “carbon footprint” of our pets, it looks like the balance sheet isn’t very healthy. But for most of us, our love of the natural world is inspired, enriched, and sustained by our love of the animals in our lives. They need clean air and water, wholesome foods, and a sustainable future, too. And remember: kindness is the most sustainable form of energy we know!