Hypoallergenic and naturally resilient against pests, bamboo can be easily adapted to nearly any climate. It’s fast-growing, maturing in just five to seven years. And because it does not require the use of pesticides to thrive, plantations can be kept organic and replanted each year to replenish stocks with a minimum of effort. As an added bonus, a bamboo grove releases 35 percent more oxygen into the atmosphere than a similarly-sized stand of trees.
The fact that bamboo is naturally resistant to bacteria makes it a perfect choice for the pet industry. In fact, some of the industry’s most popular bird feeders, reptile substrates and pet toys and bowls are made from bamboo.
“Choosing eco-friendly toys for your pets is important for the obvious reason of preserving our planet but also for the less obvious reason that these toys are typically less toxic, which is especially important when it comes to chew toys and other playtime favorites that could accidentally be ingested by your pet,” said Jami Ippolito, owner and founder of Paw Naturals. “All of the toy brands we carry at Paw Naturals are manufactured in the USA using safe, recycled components. The brands we carry tend to use less dyes, are made out of strong materials and are not treated with any extra chemicals the way many toys manufactured in China are.”
According to Ippolito, the benefits of using renewable, eco-friendly materials leads to “…less harm to the environment because these products usually require less energy to produce, which decreases the company’s carbon footprint, supports our economy by choosing American-made products by American companies, and is less toxic [because] no chemicals or dyes are added to processing.”
Products for All Pets
There are bamboo products designed to meet the needs of every species. Prevue Pet has created an all-natural bamboo nest hut that encourages birds to breed by providing a more natural environment. Parrots, who love to make noise and will often beat a hollow log with a stick to impress a potential mate, enjoy using bamboo as noisemakers, and the larger pieces make perfect chew sticks for birds.
Collars are another natural choice for bamboo use, and Wagging Green has created a line of attractive and affordable dog collars made with a double layer of soft, organic bamboo fiber. This inspiring company also offers a recycling program that enables customers to return their old collars and receive a discount on a new one.
When Loving Pets set out to create a recycled, fully biodegradable and functional pet-feeding solution that’s in-budget for any pet owner, bamboo was the perfect option for material.
“Bambu Bowls are the best-selling recycled pet product in the Loving Pets line,” said Eric Abbey, president of Loving Pets. “Today’s pet-loving consumers are willing to spend more on products that are great for the planet, its pets and its people…but a ‘green’ decision does not have to mean more expensive.”
Even the equine industry is adapting to the eco-friendly bamboo craze. In the past, most padding for horse blankets has traditionally included polyurethane foam, which is not ideal for either horse or rider. Bamboo fibers in the updated blankets provide better temperature control and are more comfortable for the horse.
In fact, entire facilities are now being designed with bamboo. Equine Facility Products recently announced the installation of its EquiGreen bamboo lumber in a riding arena at a private equestrian facility on Bainbridge Island, Wash. Since bamboo is so competitively priced, it has become a much safer, affordable and eco-friendly alternative than other products.
Launched in 2013, Paw Pods provides a thoughtful and meaningful experience for saying goodbye to a beloved pet with its specially designed burial pod. All Paw Pods products are environmentally friendly and include a sympathy card and seeded leaf that blooms beautiful wildflowers year after year as a living memorial.
“At Paw Pods, we believe that all good things come from the earth and shall return there,” said Ben Riggan, managing partner at Paw Pods, LLC. “Our goal is to help provide grieving pet parents and families with a better, dignified experience that is comforting and offers the closure everyone is looking for during such difficult times.”
“Our pods are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, such as our new Fish Pod and Heart Pod designs, and are all constructed of the same 100-percent biodegradable, all-natural materials such as bamboo and rice husk,” said Riggan. “We’ve found that our customers are increasingly interested in offering eco-friendly products to the end user and believe it’s one of the several advantages we have over our competitors.”
The commitment to go green doesn’t stop with the end product. Rather it extends to preparation of the materials, packaging and shipping processes. While there are concerns that some methods of processing bamboo are not eco-friendly because they require the use of chemicals and dyes, the consensus is that the pros outweigh the cons. As manufacturing processes improve, so does the end product.
Retailers find that pet owners are also quick to get behind companies that are taking the right steps to support sustainability and green practices. Consumers, when armed with information, do not seem to mind the small difference in purchase prices if it means they can feel good about helping the environment.
By making a commitment to carry products made from sustainable, renewable materials such as bamboo, it’s possible for retailers to differentiate themselves from big box stores. For education and guidance, look to professional organizations. These include the Forest Stewardship Council, which sets standards for exemplary forestry that include environmental, social and economic values, and the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition, which strives to be the leading organization for sustainable advancement in the pet industry by promoting creative collaboration that prioritizes business-minded solutions for sincere environmental improvement.