Here are some examples of sustainability projects that pet companies and pet owners can implement:
Transition to renewable energy usage. The pet food and supplies industry relies heavily on electricity to power manufacturing plants, distribution centers, stores and more. Many companies are transitioning their operations to be powered by renewable energy sources like solar and wind farms instead of fossil fuels to reduce carbon emissions. Some install solar panels on facility rooftops while others purchase renewable energy credits to match a portion of their usage. This helps lower environmental impact.
Implement circular packaging design. Packaging waste is a major concern for the pet industry. Companies are redesigning packaging to be more circular in nature. For example, switching from plastic bags to boxes that can be recycled or introducing reusable and returnable packaging options. Chewy now offers plastic-free curbside recycling for customers to return unused bags and boxes through their recycling program. Ensuring packaging can re-enter the production cycle aids sustainability.
Offer post-consumer recycling programs. Many pet companies partner with recycling facilities and organizations to set up post-consumer recycling programs for products. For instance, recycling programs exist for dealing with used cat litter, dog toys, leashes, plastic food containers and more. These help keep materials out of landfills and find second lives. Companies promote recycling through their websites, with packaging messaging and community partnerships to increase participation.
Support urban farming and community gardens. The pet industry is supporting urban agriculture initiatives that provide access to locally grown produce while reducing environmental impacts. For example, some brands helped install pet-friendly community garden spaces in cities equipped with pet water bowls, poop bag dispensers and signage about keeping gardens safe and pet waste removal. These community assets aid in sustainability education too.
Launch green burial and cremation services. As pet companions pass away, their owners want dignified aftercare options. Many pet service companies now offer natural or “green” pet burial and cremation programs. Pets can be gently laid to rest in protected woodland areas using biodegradable caskets versus traditional cement vaults. Cremation services use alternative energy sources instead of fossil fuels to reduce emissions from the process. These options provide more sustainable farewell ceremonies for beloved pets.
Subsidize adoption of rescue pets. Pet overpopulation and the carbon footprint of breeding operations are ongoing issues. Many pet brands support eliminating euthanasia of rescue pets through subsidizing adoption fees or working with shelters/rescues on transport programs. For every rescued pet adopted, it saves energy and resources compared to the same lifecycle of a purebred from a commercial breeder. Subsidies incentivize adopting versus shopping and aid the rescue community’s work.
Transition delivery fleets to low-emissions vehicles. As product delivery is a major part of their operations, some pet retailers and food/supply companies are converting their fleets of delivery trucks, vans and vehicles to low or no emission options like electric, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This reduces toxic tailpipe emissions from frequent routes over time. Some companies also implement fleet practices like right-sized vehicles, optimal routing software and driver training to improve fuel efficiency. Cleaning up fleets through technology investments lowers environmental impact.
Develop water Stewardship and conservation practices. Industrial water usage for operations like cleaning, cooling systems and product formulation is significant for pet product manufacturers. Many are actively reducing water footprints through auditing consumption, closing water loops with recycling/filtration systems, shifting to low-water product formulations and employing groundwater management best practices. Some achieve certifications like Alliance for Water Stewardship standards by maintaining sustainable water usage and replenishment in manufacturing regions. Conserving water aids local communities too.
Launch agriculture education partnerships. To promote more ethical and environmentally-friendly food production practices, some pet brands support agricultural education initiatives. This includes providing learning materials, farm equipment/technology grants and scholarships for students pursuing sustainability-focused agriculture degrees. Example programs teach regenerative grazing, organic and no-till cultivation techniques, water protection methods, waste recycling and more. Investing in next-gen farmers boosts long-term supply chain resilience and Earth care.