Nine months ago, “zero waste pet” was a phrase we’d never heard of. And then we welcomed Taavi into our family. A loving Finnish Lapphund that has truly made our life of less into one of so much more.
Dog ownership is no walk in the park (even though it involves lots of them). Suddenly we had to consider an entirely new side to our sustainable lifestyle: we had to learn how to make a zero waste dog! Read more about that journey here.
ZERO WASTE PET PRODUCTS
A major part of striving to make Taavi as zero waste as pawsibble was to consider what sustainable products were out there.
We found bamboo was probably the most eco friendly answer to many polluting doggy dilemmas!
Bamboo pet products are (first of all) a thing! Who knew…we certainly didn’t and annoying bought much of Taavi’s doggy paraphernalia after the fact. They’re also are a great way to take some serious steps toward more sustainable pet ownership.
But why bamboo?
Well, as we’ve mentioned before, bamboo is one of the most renewable and fast replenishing resources on earth. It grows far faster than regular trees because you don’t need to kill the core plant in order to harvest it. It also uses less water to grow and produces more oxygen than most plants.
From a consumer standpoint, especially when talking about our favorite little furballs with a penchant for destroying things (Taavi is the worst at this *sigh*), we love bamboo because it has a great end of life story.
It’s 100% compostable!
If you know where to look, making the switch to bamboo pet products is actually incredibly easy. It’s just like making these other super easy zero waste swaps, but for our furry friends!
As always though, if you already have your pet gear sorted, don’t go out and buy more stuff as that is the least sustainable option. Rather replace with sustainable options when you actually have to.
In this article, we’ve sniffed out some of the best bamboo pet products out there so you can zero in on your pet parenting pawprints.
1. BAMBOO DOG COLLAR
Every dog should have a collar. It’s a necessity for every pooch unless yours has amazing obedience (ours does not!) and it’s the closest thing our furry friends have to fashion! For indoor cats, it’s not an essential but if you’re going to get one you may as well make it sustainable.
Bamboo dog collars are just like normal collars, except the soft and comfortable webbing is made woven from bamboo fiber. Bamboo collars also have the added benefit of being odor resistant and hypoallergenic.
We love the Wagging Green Pet Shop on Etsy. Not only do they hand sew some of the best bamboo dog collars around (hundreds of customers think so anyway) and other pet products but they’re clearly focused on sustainability.
They have a recycling program where you can send in your old leash or collar (even if they didn’t make it) and they’ll reuse it and make you a “wagging green replacement” for 25% off! The bamboo they use is also USDA certified organic, which ensures sustainable farming practices (avoiding the use of harmful pesticides, insecticides and run-off).
Here’s their fact sheet on why they use bamboo for their products.
For those on a budget, their solid-colored single layer or double layer bamboo dog collars do the trick. For something a little artsier and heavy duty, check out their line of Martingale bamboo dog collars, which come in all sorts of fun prints and patterns.
The best bamboo dog collar in our opinion is the Martingale as it seems to be the only option we found that doesn’t have a plastic clip.
For something a little more personalized, Whiskazz and Pawzz handmakes bamboo pet collars custom embroidered with your pet’s name and your phone number. Though, the clips are plastic.
Molly Mutt is another good option for bamboo dog collars (though again the clips are made of some type of plastic). For something that has less travel miles (to avoid shipping from overseas) you can get them through your local Amazon US and Amazon UK stores.
Top off that sustainable dog collar with a bamboo dog tag. These are surprisingly tricky to find. Cat & Wolf Creations makes a couple designs, but currently does not offer custom engraved bamboo dog tags, though they are open to design suggestions!
For sustainable cat owners out there, unfortunately we weren’t able to find any bamboo breakaway cat collars. However, for indoor cats that aren’t in danger of getting caught on trees, any of the above slimmer options would work as a bamboo cat collar.
2. BAMBOO DOG HARNESS
As an alternative to bamboo dog collars, bamboo dog harnesses are great for active pups and a really good training tool too according to our puppy trainer – they can apparently accelerate lead training.
It also distributes the force across their whole torso instead of just their throat. We’re pretty soft doggy parents to be honest so we got a very similar harness (front facing) for our little guy 🙂
High strung dogs that maybe haven’t quite gotten down the concept of “heel” will also benefit from a harness because it’s much less abrasive than a usual collar or choke chain.
While making walks safer for your pet, you can also make them more sustainable! A bamboo dog harness is key, made of the same bamboo woven webbing as the bamboo collars we talked about above.
No surprise, but Wagging Green Pet Shop also makes a line of eco-friendly bamboo harnesses. They’ve got raving reviews because of how durable and adjustable they are. We love that they can accommodate growing dogs too so you won’t need to buy a new bamboo harness as your doggy matures.
3. BAMBOO DOG LEASH
A bamboo dog collar or bamboo dog harness would not be complete without a bamboo dog leash. An essential doggy tool for training and the best way to safely (and legally) take your dog into public settings, such as hiking trails and city parks.
Once again, Wagging Green Pet Shop make lots of bamboo dog leashes in all sorts of fun prints. Make them match with the collar and harness or mix and match prints! With a nice, sturdy bamboo lead, you can make sure you never have to leave your best friend behind.
We’re forever misplacing Taavi’s stuff so we thought that this bamboo wall mounted rack is a really good option for keep pet gear all in one spot! For something more local have a look on Amazon US and Amazon UK.
4. BAMBOO DOG BOWLS
Not only is bamboo sustainable and easily replenishable, it’s also versatile. It can be hardened into bamboo fiber, tough enough for a sturdy dog bowl.
They’re also BPA free unlike all those plastic pet bowls (and they’re far more chew resistant than plastic too). Even compared to other zero waste pet bowls, like ceramic and metal, they’re superior, being lighter than stainless steel and less breakable than ceramic.
Perhaps the most popular and widely available bamboo pet bowl on the market is the Beco Bowl. They’re made from bamboo resin, so are completely biodegradable and even dishwasher safe. They also come in different depths – for small cats to big dogs.
For more outspoken and extroverted pets, Dylan Kendall Home on Etsy makes some funky, bright colored options, and you can get either the plastic-free bamboo pet bowl itself, or a raised bamboo feeder with stainless steel liners.
For the sophisticated eaters, there’s a huge selection of bamboo dog bowl stands or raised bamboo bowls that can accomodate metal, ceramic, or bamboo bowl liners. These help keep your pet’s feeding station in place and it’s easier to wash. Have a look at Amazon US, Amazon UK for local options.
5. BAMBOO PET TOY
This is something we learnt the hard way. Taavi has chewed through just about every dog toy we’ve ever bought him. We have a toy graveyard and it’s a sad sight!
Thankfully, bamboo pet products in general are a great alternative to plastic (and other non-eco friendly) pet supplies. The best thing about bamboo dog toys is that if your pup plays rough enough to retire the toys (as we know well!), they can be composted right in your own home!
Be careful when searching for bamboo pet toys online though. If you just look for “bamboo dog toy”, you’ll find lots of options from a pet product company called Bamboo. It’s a bit of a misnomer because none of their products are actually made from bamboo.
The best bamboo dog toys we could find are made by *surprise* Wagging Green Pet Shop on Etsy. I know, we can’t stop recommending this brand but they really do nail the sustainable pet product market! Their bamboo squeaks and bamboo tug toys are perfect for a playful pup.
Now when talking zero waste pets, we can’t forget about the other little critters in our lives.
Fortunately, bamboo doesn’t discriminate and you can find bamboo pet toys for creatures large and small! Natural bamboo chew sticks are both fun and healthy for hamsters and guinea pigs.
6. BAMBOO PET BED
You really do get a bamboo alternative for just about any dog related product!
Once your pet is all tuckered out from playing with their bamboo dog toys, give them a sustainable place to snooze in a bamboo dog / cat bed.
These are a little tricky to locate, and we weren’t able to find any on either Etsy or Amazon (lots of bamboo patterned cushions, but not so many made of actual bamboo fiber, unfortunately).
A bamboo pet bed can look like a lot of things, but usually it’s some sort of bamboo frame with a liner cushion of a different material. This bamboo pet hammock is a great example, and who doesn’t love hammocks?! Check out our Zero Waste Dog article for some great sustainable pet cushion ideas.
The best bamboo dog beds (especially for those pets with thicker coats or if you live in a warmer climate) are actually bamboo pet cooling mats.
These bamboo fiber bottoms are designs to be ultra breathable so they wick moisture rather than absorb it. Amazon UK definitely has the best selection of these, but you can also find them on Amazon US.
For sustainable cat ownership, we love this super chic, luxury bamboo cat bed that has a bamboo shell and non-toxic, environmentally friendly liner.
7. BAMBOO PET HOUSE
The most sustainable dog or pet house is one made of bamboo. While regular wood is natural and compostable, it doesn’t regenerate as quickly as bamboo.
Unfortunately it’s pretty much impossible to buy a full premade pet house online. Also the shipping impact would basically negate any carbon footprint you’d be saving. You can buy bamboo lumber and build your own though! Definitely a project for more of the hands-on DIY readers out there, but there’s lots of resources online (like this video) about how to do it.
If you’re not looking for something quite as intense, there are portable bamboo dog / pet house options as well, like this collapsible bamboo pet crate. Although it has velcro, so it is not entirely sustainable.
Cats seem to get the bone when it comes to bamboo pet beds. Here’s a super cute bamboo cat house we found that sits on the arm of your couch. Though other products from this brand appear to be made out of less sustainable materials, so do check the finer details of the products composition.
Full houses aside, if you just want to section off a part of your house (sometimes the most economical and simple solution), you can get a bamboo pet gate.
Some, like this one available on Amazon US and Amazon AU, has a bamboo frame and recycled plastic netting (which is not ideal). Others, such as this on which is UK made is entirely bamboo, but perhaps not suitable for smaller pets that could squeeze through the rungs.
8. BAMBOO DOG BRUSH
Taavi HATES brushing, but it’s a necessary evil because the little guy’s hair can get matted and he gets the most random things stuck in his coat.
We always wanted a bamboo dog brush for Taavi as they were widely available… but ended up buying a cheapish one which ended up being a mistake as our boy’s coat needs something more heavy duty.
Ultimately our grooming kit has ended up as a Greyhound stainless steel comb (not bamboo) and a Bass Soft Slicker, made mostly from bamboo. Both are super good quality so hopefully it will be a long time before we need to replace!
We would always stick to steel bristles over plastic. Although, environmentally, this is probably the best bamboo dog brush (made by Bampooch) because the bristles themselves are also made from bamboo, meaning it’s vegan friendly.
As with many bamboo brushes (such as hairbrushes and toothbrushes) the entire brush is not always zero waste because the bristles are either steel or plastic.
If you’re retiring these bamboo dog brushes, be sure to disassemble the bristles and base and only compost the handle.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BAMBOO PET PRODUCTS
Despite being a rather new zero waste pet solution, bamboo pet products are really taking off. While there are still some gaps, it probably won’t be long until you can get just about any pet product made out of bamboo.
In the meantime, making one or two (or a few) of these simple zero waste swaps (only when you need them of course) above will drastically decrease your pet’s eco pawprint.
Complete with bamboo leash in hand, we hope we’ve been able to walk you in the right direction.
As much as we’ve learned over the last 9 months about making Taavi a zero waste pooch, we’re still really new to the pet parenting game. So, we’d love to hear what you have to teach us, reach out in the comments or messages.