Written by: Michael Baumann

When caring for our pets, environmental consciousness may not seem like a priority. With just a few changes, though, any animal owner can become eco-friendly while helping their pets lead happier and healthier lives.

Adopt from a local shelter

If you’re considering adopting a pet, try to do so from a local animal shelter. Adopting from rescue groups and shelters is greener than buying from a breeder as it helps these overwhelmed organizations conserve valuable resources needed to provide for the animals. To find a local shelter and give a pet a loving home, visit www.petfinder.com.

Animal waste

Dealing with your pets’ waste is hardly enjoyable, but you can help prevent it from growing into a major environmental headache. Once disposed of, used plastic waste bags can remain in landfills for years before decomposing. Using biodegradable bags, available from retailers like PetCo, can offset this issue as they break down with your pets’ waste. Eco-friendly kitty litter made from recycled materials is also a great option.


It can be tempting to shower your furry friends with gifts, but choosing quality over quantity can go a long way in reducing waste. When buying toys, avoid plastic-based items in favor of those made from cloths or fabrics that have not been chemically treated. Toys can easily be repurposed from household items like yarn, so long as they are safely prepared. If you and your pet no longer use some toys, feel free to donate gently used items and accessories to your local animal shelter.

Pet food

Just as our own food products have become packed with artificial chemicals and preservatives, pet food frequently suffers from the same issue. By purchasing all-natural or organic pet foods, you can prevent your pet from ingesting artificial ingredients, preservatives, and other substances that may have been prepared in environmentally irresponsible ways. TruFood and Open Farm are two great, and eco-friendly, pet food brands to consider, with packaging that is now even recyclable through two new TerraCycle Brigade programs!

Eco-friendly and safe cleaning materials

Messes are all too common in an animal-friendly home, but take care to use eco-friendly and safe cleaning products. Traditional chemical cleaners can harm your animals, and if improperly disposed of, their containers can be equally troublesome for the environment. TerraCycle has a variety of environmentally conscious cleaners and sprays, which you can find out more about here.

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