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Treading Lightly

Sandy Robins//March 1, 2015//

Treading Lightly

Sandy Robins //March 1, 2015//

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The pet industry’s movement toward mimicking human lifestyle trends is particularly popular when it comes to manufacturing eco-friendly products designed to help minimize a dog’s carbon paw print.

From Bottles to Beds

It’s been nearly five years since Worldwise, Inc., the California-based manufacturer of pet beds under the TrustyPup and Petlinks labels, struck a deal with Walmart and Sam’s Club stores nationwide to turn hundreds of tons of their recyclable materials into various pet products. These products contain Worldwises’s proprietary recycled fiberfill blend called EcoRest, which is used in their pet beds. The company continues to focus on innovation to make quality products from natural, recycled, reclaimed and certified organic materials.

“We have a wide variety of fills and foams that are used in our beds,” said Kevin Fick, Worldwise’s CEO. “We use recycled fiber from plastic bottles, reclaimed chipped memory foam, as well as soy-based convoluted foam.”

The latest TrustyPup Therapeutic Comfort Collection of dog beds contains a combination of the company’s Benefoam Orthopedic convoluted foam and MemoryMix, which is their own blend of recycled memory foam chips.

“These blends of recycled memory foam are designed to provide maximum support and therapeutic rest for dogs of any age,” added Fick.

Green Materials

Planet Dog bases their reputation for eco-friendly toys on renewable, recyclable and natural materials that include hemp, bamboo, recycled and recyclable plastics and more.

“Our hemp line of leashes, collars and harnesses has been best-sellers for us since we introduced them in 1998—well before ‘hemp’ or ‘eco-friendy’ were buzzwords in the pet industry,” said Kristen Smith, the company’s brand ambassador. “Over the years, our leashes and collars have continued to sell extremely well. They are known to age well, becoming softer and softer with each wash. The biggest complaint we get from customers is that they have a hard time justifying buying a new one when the original is still in good shape.”

According to Nicole Haefke, marketing specialist at Coastal Pet Products, Inc., there are other green materials for use in the manufacture of pet products. The company’s New Earth Soy collars, leashes and harnesses are not only organically- derived but are available in nine earth-friendly colors, namely cranberry, indigo, olive green, rose, chocolate, eggplant, forest green, pumpkin and slate.

“They are made from a blend of all-natural fibers featuring soy,” said Haefke.

“Soy fibers are not only soft but have antibacterial properties too. There’s no question that such eco-friendly products have become the natural choice for consumers and we have seen this slice of the market continue to grow.”

Green technology also applies to canine fashion wear. The Gold Paw Series collection of outerwear for pets is bluesign certified, which confirms that the textiles used in their clothing line are manufactured in an environmentally-friendly plant.

“The bluesign system is the solution for sustainable textile production,” explained Rebecca Gadd, the company’s president. “This means the plant eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for an environmentally-friendly and safe production. This not only ensures that the final textile product meets very stringent consumer safety requirements worldwide but also provides confidence to the consumer that they are acquiring sustainable products in terms of our waterproof outerwear, fleeces and pullovers.”

Green Grows the Category

Earth Rated, manufacturers of environmentally-friendly waste disposal bags, has seen significant growth in the market for a number of reasons,according to project manager, Tara Garland.

“As we grow more conscious of our carbon footprint, customers are seeking out less wasteful options for pet waste disposal too,” she said. “Additionally, general businesses are moving away from offering customers plastic bags and encouraging the use of reusable bags. This increases the need for poop bags since previously many pet owners relied on shopping and newspaper bags to pick up after their pets.”

“Keeping our bags affordable and accessible has always been important to us,” said Garland. “As dog owners ourselves, we appreciate the many costs associated with having a dog and we recognize that in this economy people are very budget conscious. We offer a variety of formats to give customers the option of buying in small or large quantities, depending on their budget.”

And the same positive viewpoint about the growing eco-friendly marketplace is shared by Dave Colella who, together with his wife Kym, owns earthdog. Its signature line is a collection of hemp dog collars, leashes and harnesses.

“I think people like the simplicity of a solid color as a fashion statement and also find hemp comfortable for dogs of all shapes and sizes to wear,” said Colella. “We recently introduced a step-in style harness, which is proving to be very popular, while our hemp rope dog toys are available in both a two-knot and a three-knot variety.

“Generally hemp products are more expensive than nylon and other synthetics and also there is a higher cost for manufacturing here in the USA,” added Colella. “However, while not everyone is willing to spend, or can afford to, the market offering eco-friendly choices is definitely still expanding and is no doubt driven by decisions to ensure our pets have the same natural choices as we do when it comes to wearable accessories.”