Can Your Pet Lead a Zero Waste Lifestyle? Spoiler - Yes!

Written by
Iryna Komazova
June 6, 2022

It is sometimes easier to go zero waste with your dog than it is with your human family members. Pets love you unconditionally and will support all your ‘crazy’ ideas. But we don’t think there’s anything crazy about leading an eco-friendly lifestyle and bringing your four-legged friend along with you. So, let’s find out how to do it right!

Poo Cleaning 

Well, it’s not the most pleasant thing in a dog owner's daily routine, but there’s no getting away from it. There are two eco-friendly options to deal with dog poo: flush or compost. But after we know ‘what’ to do, the question of ‘how’ still remains.

As only biological dog waste is flushable (no bags, even biodegradable ones), this option only works if you have a toilet and suitable accessories close to hand. If so, simply scoop the poop with your designated scooping tool, and flush it.

Here are a few alternative options:

  • Compost dog poo with a municipal service (if this is allowed in your area). In this case, you can transport the poop in industrially compostable plastic bags;
  • Compost it in a private composter in the garden. Paper bags and home compostable plastic bags can be used for this;
  • Compost it using worms in the garage or on the balcony. Worms can also cope with paper bags and home compostable plastic bags.

Taking into account the possible contamination of crops with parasites, if you compost dog poop in a garden composter or a worm farm then you should only use the compost to fertilise your non-vegetable garden and lawns.

Clean up after your dog in an eco-friendly way!

Food & Treats

Unfortunately, dog food and treat packaging is not very sustainable. Dry dog food needs to stay dry, that’s why easily recyclable paper packaging doesn’t suit it well as a rule. Treats also often come in plastic packaging. 

So, the best zero waste approach to feeding your dog is to cook for it. Do some research or consult your vet to create a well-balanced diet for your pet, especially if you are going to serve your pooch with vegetarian food.

You can also offer your dog raw-feeding. The local markets sell a lot of different kinds of byproducts of meat production, such as brain, liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, stomach, thymus, tripe, tongue, and so on. You can buy them in your own reusable container without any packaging. 

If industrially-made dog food and treats are the only option for you, try these tips to make feeding more sustainable: 

  • Find dog food in a compostable bag or locally recyclable packaging if you have such services in your region. 
  • If your doggy likes food in non-recyclable packaging or has a special diet that requires such food, buy big packs and reuse the packaging as many times as possible. Look for private recycling companies to recycle such packaging, such as TerraCycle. They can accept more recyclables than municipal services. 
  • Try to find a bulk dog food section in the pet store or supermarket to buy packaging-free treats in your own bag or container. As for kibble, it makes no difference if you buy them in bulk, as most pet stores use the same big packs and simply open them for you.
  • Serve dog food in a metal bowl.
Dog food must be delicious, nutritious and cause no harm to nature


Try to make toys yourself: turn old T-shirts into a tug rope or an old tennis ball into a treat dispenser. If you are not a tennis player yourself, you can ask for old balls from tennis yards. They often have a load of tennis balls that are not suitable for playing with anymore. The top players use a new ball every few games! 

A wide range of preloved dog toys are also available online. They could make great value toys for your own pooch.

Dog chew toys made from natural rubber are a good choice to entertain your dog for a long time if you have a rubber recycling option near you. Otherwise, there are a lot of plastic-free toys made from wood and hemp on the market. 

Don’t forget to pay attention to the packaging (it is perfect if there is no packaging at all, or if it is at least recyclable) and the sustainability policy of the producer.

Choose dog toys with as much attention as you’d choose something for yourself


Dog walking accessories are the basics of canine supplies. You can find a lot of dog collars, harnesses, leashes or muzzles second-hand, and save resources in this way. Hemp and bamboo items with durable metal fittings are the most sustainable options if you want to buy a new one.

If you adore dressing your pet in fancy clothes or need to cover your dog from the rain during walks, look for second-hand dog clothes, upcycle human clothes, or buy items made from recycled material from companies that offer post-use recycling options. 

While making a canine rain jacket definitely requires some sewing skills, you can make an upcycled dog bed of your old T-shirt in a few hours without much effort.

Hemp collars are durable, colourful and sustainable as well


Similarly to their owners, dogs also have diverse health and beauty care products. And most of them are available in zero waste packaging. For example:

  • Dog shampoo is sold in bars, in bulk, as refills, or (less ideally) in recyclable plastic bottles;
  • A human bamboo toothbrush will also suit your dog, but the toothpaste itself is a tricky one. You could try to make DIY toothpaste for your four-legged friend (though ask your vet for advice first), or recycle the tube with TerraCycle or similar private recycling options.
  • For ear hygiene, use vet-approved ear cleanser in recyclable packaging, compostable cotton balls and a reusable towel.
  • Professional clippers made from stainless steel will last for years, as will bamboo combs. 

If you have a puppy or are going to adopt one, buy a few washable pee pads instead of disposable ones to go through its potty training period in a zero waste way. Similarly, you can get washable dog diapers for either incontinent pets or unspayed female dogs.

It’s not hard to find zero waste dog grooming products

In conclusion, we’d like to remind you that while living a zero waste life with your dog may take more effort, it’s not "impawssible"! Start off with a few swaps, then go deeper into a waste-free life day by day.

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Let your dog go zero waste with you! We guarantee it’s not "impawssible".
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