Day 24: Recycled Plastic Litter BoxesThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge
Given the low-tech purpose that litter boxes serve, it’s surprising that they aren’t all made from 100% recycled plastic. In fact, I could only find one litter box that used recycled materials. This just seems wrong to me. I also found a lot of companies greenwashing their litter boxes to claim that they offer eco-friendly litter boxes.
So, here’s where to look for eco-friendly litter boxes.
- I really have to give kudos to Petmate for taking a proactive approach to incorporating a minimum of 25% recycled materials in many of their products. It’s a great start and as I learn more about the pet industry, I can appreciate how forward-thinking this is in an industry that seems to be lagging in following the green trend. Petmate offers a dozen different litter boxes in various shapes and sizes to suit your cat — and all of them are made with 25% recycled content.
Here’s where NOT to look for eco-friendly litter boxes:
- You have got to be kidding me that they’re trying to promote this self-cleaning litter box as eco-friendly. Well, the grey one is made from recycled plastic and they also tout that it’s made in the U.S.A. However, first, it’s gigantic so it uses a lot more plastic then most boxes. Second, it has electronics and mechanics that use even more resources than a basic box. Third, you have to plug this one in. Just because someone is too lazy to scoop their cat litter, does not justify this as an eco-friendly litter box. Use a scoop. That’s eco-friendly.
- This is another jump on the green bandwagon product. This litter box is made from recycled paper fibres, but the major problem with it is that it’s disposable. Promoting it as “biodegradable” is simply greenwashing. The company even admits that the inspiration for their disposable boxes was convenience. “You see, having a very full schedule and not always being present when Spice decided to deposit her gifts in the box, it was not humanly possible at all!“
Exquisicat Litter Boxes
- I called the 1-800 number on their box to ask whether they had a recycled plastic version of their litter boxes. I was surprised to find that PetSmart customer service answered the call. It turns out that Exquisicat is PetSmart’s house brand. The service rep was unable to answer whether there were any plans to make a litter box from recycled plastic and also had no information on what PetSmart was doing to help the environment. She said she would talk to some people in the company and get back to me. That was over three weeks ago and I haven’t heard a thing. I guess there is no green policy.
Van Ness Litter Boxes
- Van Ness appears to be one of the other major brands making cat litter boxes. However, I could not find one made from recycled plastic and can’t seem to find any info on the company online.
HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION
- PetSmart operates over 1000 stores in North America. That’s a lot of stores that don’t have an eco-friendly policy or green initiative. Imagine if they did. Send an email to PetSmart asking about their Exquisicat litter boxes as well as their position on green business practices. Please copy and edit the email below and send it to PetSmart via their contact form: http://www.petsmart.com/helpdesk/index.jsp?display=store&subdisplay=contact&stillHaveQuestion=yes. Or, alternately, you can call them 24 hours a day at 1-888-839-9638.
THE SAMPLE EMAIL LETTER
I have been a PetSmart customer for many years. However, like many consumers, I am increasingly concerned about the environment and was wondering what PetSmart is doing to offer more eco-friendly products and introduce more sustainable business practices. Quite frankly, I don’t see any changes at my local store and this concerns me greatly. Given the growing demand by consumers for environmentally-friendly products and services, I would expect that PetSmart, as the leading pet retailer in the U.S., would be actively developing sustainable business practices.
I would like to know if a green product policy is currently in the works and what other initiatives and products your company is undertaking to support the environment. Specifically, I would also like to know if Exquisicat will be making its litter boxes from recycled plastic. Exquisicat’s competitor, Petmate, is already taking a lead by offering eco-friendly litter boxes made from 25% recycled content. Until Exquisicat follows suit, I see no reason to purchase this brand.
With many eco-friendly alternatives entering the marketplace, it is becoming increasingly easy for me to change my shopping habits. Because I prefer to support green businesses, I hope to hear about significant and meaningful changes in PetSmart’s business practices. However, if your company lacks a cohesive sustainable business strategy, I will continue to shift my spending to companies that actively support green business practices.