Zero Waste Doggos

Meet our dogs, Scout and Sydney. Sydney is our 14 year old golden and Scout is our 1 year old golden.

Aren’t they cute?

Now. Dogs sure do produce a lot of waste. They eat a lot. Poop a lot. Destroy things a lot. BUT it is possible to reduce the amount of dog related things that go to the landfill. Here’s what we do for the most commonly used/needed items.

Food: Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find bulk dog food — especially for the brand you might want. We do a combination of canned food (which we recycle) and Holistic Select dog food. Holistic Select is part of the Wellness Pet Food brand that has a TerraCycle program to recycle the bags. For treats, we have found bulk treats at local dog bakeries. In addition, our dogs love frozen yogurt treats (just stick yogurt in silicone molds and freeze) and frozen bananas (compost the peels).

Poop: When at home, we flush the poop straight down the toilet, as recommended by the EPA (I swear it is not as disgusting as it sounds). On the off chance our dogs poop while out, we bag the poop and throw it away (dog owners — never leave poop outside on the sidewalk or even in the grass as it can pollute waterways!). While I do buy those biodegradable/made from recycled material bags, I don’t think they are truly effective since once those bags are in the landfill, they don’t get the light or oxygen necessary to break down.

Toys: Our dogs play almost exclusively with West Paw toys (the Zogoflex toys). They are incredibly durable for our mouthy retrievers and look brand new years later. In addition, West Paw recycles any old or broken Zogoflex toys into new toys!

Beds and Crates: First off — buy quality. We’ve had our 2 beds for over 10 years. When one’s filling has worn out, I’ve stuffed it with old towels or sheets and it’s ready to go again. We have one crate and one pen that we also plan on using indefinitely — so far no issues with either. Also — it’s incredibly easy to find crates and pens on Craigslist so look there first!

Collars and Leashes: Again, buy for quality. Hopefully your collars and leashes will last you the life of your dog (and maybe even future dogs!). Our leashes are all made from upcycled rock climbing ropes so I feel good about utilizing some thing that would otherwise end up in the landfill. They’ve also been incredibly durable.

Our pup, Scout, with her favorite West Paw toy.   

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Or…. not. I wanted to share some pictures today from my recycling classes with the city. We toured multiple facilities including a single stream recycling plant, a textile recycling facility, and an electronics recycling facility. I think we all have a feeling of “go me!” when you declutter, take things out, and drop them off at whatever place takes that particular item. But then… we kind of forget about it. We forget that our decluttering leads to clutter and trash and stuff elsewhere. So here’s a little reminder that while the stuff is no longer in our possession… they are now stuck being dealt with by someone else. And guys… there’s a LOT of stuff. So just a reminder to be mindful of what you buy to begin with. (Click on the images to see the captions on what you are looking at.)

On Minimalism and Finding Your Passion

Read this lovely article about how to find your passion as an adult. Now — how does this tie in with minimalism and zero waste? I think a huge reason we’re constantly buying and consuming so much is that… we’re bored. Rather, we don’t have an activity that we so desperately want to do, that instead, we spend our free time shopping or watching YouTube vloggers telling you about the best new items out there or researching future purchases… you get the picture. We think we need the stuff to be happy. And the cycle of buying, consuming, throwing away, learning about the new bright and shiny object, then buying more, throwing more continues. And you know what? It’s hard not to shop. We’re constantly inundated with reasons why we need to buy more stuff.

So what’s the solution? Finding your passion. Or a passion. Or many passions. Things that you would rather do than mindlessly buy material objects. So how do you figure out what these activities are? Well, the article started out with a questionnaire to help guide the way. Here’s the questionnaire from the article (and how I answered them). Please note that none of these answers are crazy and groundbreaking. Be honest with yourself. The answers are generally simple.

When do I forget to look at my phone?
Reading an amazing book, organizing/sprucing the house, exploring the world, hanging out with my friends.

What were things I loved to do as a kid?
Reading, drawing/crafting, watching movies, dancing.

What feels like active meditation?
Reading, dancing, hiking, baking.

What lights me up?
A good book, good food, new travels, taking care of myself and my home.

What would I do if money didn’t matter?
Travel (even more). Live somewhere closer to nature.

From these answers (common themes or passions: books, sprucing, and travel), I ended up creating a list for myself of things to do or “passions” — things I can focus on instead of consuming “stuff”.

  • plan the details of our next trip.
  • find places to go hiking both in my city and on my travels. go on a nature walk in my city.
  • watch YouTube videos on something I want to learn how to do (i.e. styling hair, making a fancy cocktail, ).
  • do yoga + workout videos from YouTube (I love Yoga with Adriene).
  • bake something new or practice making cakes in different flavor combinations.
  • take care of my roses and plants outside.
  • read or re-read a book (I’m a huge fantasy/YA/NA nerd and try to read at least a book a week. Honestly, reading an amazing book is one of the times I feel the most alive and there is NOTHING else I’d rather do than escape in to this other world. This is truly a passion for me.)
  • do annoying house maintenance activities: touch up paint, caulk the house; get rid of door squeakies while listening to a podcast on minimalism, books, or self care.
  • work on my adult coloring books.

What are some activities or passions you focus on?

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