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Going the Extra Green Mile

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By Lara Jackson

Every day, each of us makes decisions that affect the environment. Sometimes these decisions impact it in a positive way (choosing to ride public transportation to work instead of driving), and sometimes the impact is negative (tossing out paper coffee cups instead of drinking from a reusable thermos).

Businesses are also faced with decisions that profoundly affect the world we live in. Here’s a look at three innovative pet companies that are paving the way toward a healthier, happier planet.

Solar for the Soul

Established in 1948, Cardinal Pet Care, headquartered in California, manufactures dog products for a variety of brands. Devoted to keeping products as eco-friendly as possible, its facility has been running on 100 percent solar energy since 2010.

“The solar panels are the centerpiece of [our] sustainability plan,” explains marketing director Joe Fucini.  “Cardinal is currently saving 28 tons of carbon dioxide each month and has installed sky lights, sensor-regulated lighting in the washrooms, and LED lighting in the parking lots.”

In fact, Cardinal saves so much energy that the company actually returns power back to the grid. And it’s not only their facility that benefits from solar energy—Cardinal’s website is solar-powered as well.

The company continues to come up with new ways to protect the environment; in fact, its pet food products are now packaged in biodegradable bags made from vegetable products and water-based inks, significantly reducing the company’s carbon footprint, as well as the consumer’s.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When it comes to going planet-friendly for pets, Ruff Again is definitely a leader. This Maryland-based company produces dog collars and leashes from recycled materials, all gathered from local communities and suppliers.

Ruff Again is the brainchild of Amy Rounchville and her fiancé Heath Gibson. “We love animals, love the outdoors, and are very environmentally conscious,” explains Rounchville. “We decided to start the company after learning there weren’t more products on the market constructed from recycled and reclaimed materials. All of our products are extremely durable and Remi-tested.” (Remi is the couples’ German Shorthaired Pointer, whom they’ve affectionately nicknamed “Psycho.”)

Ruff Again currently offers two lines of collars and leashes: The Spin It Series, made from reclaimed bicycle inner tubes, and the Click It Series, constructed from reclaimed car seatbelts. A third product line, the Tread Series, made from used bicycle tires, is in the works.

Eco-Poop

When it comes to scooping the poop, California company Flush Doggy, which manufactures 100 percent flushable, 100 percent biodegradable poop bags, is serious about its commitment to the environment.

Dog waste is a major contributor to pollution and fresh water contamination. About 11 thousands tons of dog poop ends up in landfills each year. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, flushing your dog’s poop, instead of tossing it in the trash, is the greener way to go.

Exactly what happens to regular plastic baggies after use? Sadly, they take about 1,000 years to biodegrade. Alternatively, Flush Doggy bags are constructed from polyvinyl alcohol—a water soluble polymer—which means they easily break down in the sewer system.

Flush Doggy also cares about the well-being of animals. “We started Flush Doggy to sell something good for the environment, and [to] help promote an end to puppy mills,” says marketing director, Vivian Chen. The company’s Save a Pet’s Life Campaign donates 10 percent of every online sale to organizations leading the fight against puppy mills.

In their own way, each of the companies mentioned is doing its part to make the earth a better place for us, our pets, and future generations. Their eco-friendly initiatives make it easier for us to implement green choices in our own lives.

Just imagine what positive changes we can make if we all show the earth the same gentleness, respect, and love we show our pets.

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