More and more, shoppers are willing to pay extra or switch brands for ones that stand for something, and pet stores are no exception. In a competitive market for products and services, ones that are conscious of the planet have an advantage, as do the retailers that bring these brands to families and furry friends.

Bennilover  on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Caring for animals is a pet store’s top priority, and taking care of the environment creates a better place for furry, feathered, floating friends to live. Here are ways you can create an eco-friendly oasis that protects the planet and offers an experience pet parents can feel good about shopping in this Earth Month, and year-round:

Switch to energy efficient lighting. “Keeping the lights on” isn’t just an expression; it’s an activity all businesses have to be mindful of. For pet stores in particular, all the fish and lizard tanks, cat kennels, rodent boxes, and grooming stations equal a lot of luminaries, which can be a drain on resources. Take these as opportunities to consider the bulbs you use and update them to LED ones that use less energy and keep pets and patrons comfortable.

Serpentarium reptile zoo by Mojo Design, Blankenberge
Image via retail design blog

Stock sustainable pet care brands. You have a choice about the foods and accessories you stock shelves with. Create an inventory of sustainable brands that demonstrate a commitment to the environment. For example, Earthborn Holistic®, a natural pet food and treat brand, just celebrated its 10-year anniversary and works with us at TerraCycle® to ensure its packaging is 100% recyclable at participating retailers.

via Earthborn Holistic®

Invest in high-efficiency washers. Many pet supply retailers have an in-store grooming or vet service, or keep animals for adoption, which equals a lot of wash. Be they towels, blankets, comfort pads, or soft stuffed toys, caring for laundry is water intensive. Invest in a high-efficiency washer when possible, which uses 15 to 30 gallons of water compared to 29 to 45 gallons per load for older washers.

135pixels / via Shutterstock

Offer recycling solutions to employees and customers. The more people in a given area, the more trash tends to be generated; add four-legged, feathered, and finned friends, and the amount only multiples. Become a community collection point for difficult-to-recycle items, such as plastic packaging, coffee capsules, or disposable take-out items by signing up for TerraCycle’s free programs and setting up Zero Waste Boxes.  Keep several blue bins accessible and in full view throughout the store with clear instructions for proper recycling.

via TerraCycle

Provide incentives for green actions. Consumers want to do the right thing, but sometimes need a little push to turn thoughts into action. Pet stores can hold a special place in people’s lives by being that influence. Simple things like offering a percentage off a receipt for bringing in a durable shopping bag or collecting donations for fostered and adoptive pets allow people easy ways to feel good about doing good.

Cats for adoption. via gomagoti on Flickr


What’s your favorite way a pet store retailer demonstrated their commitment to the environment? Tell us in the comments!

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