Day 27: Easy Eco-friendly Tips for Animal Shelters — The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Following in the spirit of Day 26 of the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge, I’m going to finish the week by looking outwards for inspiration to green my cat.  I’ve spent the past few weeks examining Furball’s life to give him an eco-cat makeover.  However, I really believe it’s important to reach out.  Perhaps this will help to encourage an eco-friendly cat movement and help green the pet industry.

Today, I’m delighted to write about Angel’s Wish, a non-profit animal welfare organization that runs a Pet Adoption and Resource Center in Verona, WI. This is one very dedicated group that is committed to reducing animal overpopulation, finding new homes for pets, and raising awareness of animal welfare issues. Did I mention that they’re an all-volunteer organization with over 100 volunteers?

Angel’s Wish is a no-kill shelter and has been operating since 2000. Last year, they cared for nearly 600 animals and cats make up over 90% of the animals they help each year. In addition to the amazing work they do to help the most forgotten and downtrodden of our furry friends, Angel’s Wish is also committed to being as eco-friendly as possible.

This organization may not have the resources that larger nonprofits do, but they prove that anybody can be green, even while running a very tight ship. They do this by making small changes in their day-to-day activities that add up to big savings that save the environment and save money too.

Here’s what Angel’s Wish is doing to be an eco-friendly animal shelter:

  • Animal welfare groups can easily use large quantities of paper towels for the regular cleaning necessary for pet health and cleanliness. Angel’s Wish uses rags and cloth towels whenever possible. Not only are they reducing their consumption of paper towels, they’re also reusing rags and towels that have been donated to them.
  • When they built a new Pet Adoption and Resource Center, they chose to build in a business condo development rather than a standalone building.  This resulted in lower costs and also a smaller carbon footprint.  The Resource Center has three separate heating/cooling zones, each with their own programmable thermostats for maximum efficiency.  Of course, they also selected fluorescent lighting fixtures, and their three main rooms can be set for either half lighting or full-lighting.
  • Because there’s a lot of laundry to be done when looking after animals, Angel’s Wish made sure to choose an energy efficient washer and dryer to save electricity and also reduce costs.
  • With 90% of the animals being cats, Angel’s Wish also uses the minimum amount of litter possible to reduce waste.
  • And the green savings don’t just stop with the care of animals.  In the office, they make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of paper used.  They scan donations in electronically for storage as opposed to creating mounds of photocopied papers.  When they do have to make copies, they always make them double-sided.  And, they send email newsletters to minimize print publications.
  • For additional fundraising, they collect old cell phones and inkjet cartridges to be recycled.
  • Finally, they reuse things until they fall apart and also take in in-kind donations of gently used items.

That’s a pretty impressive list of easy eco-friendly ideas that any animal welfare organization can implement.  It doesn’t take much to be green and on top of that, being green helps reduce costs so that donations are used responsibly.

A Purrfect Cat Book in Support of Angel’s Wish

“Make Your Own Cat Toys” features over 50 eco-friendly cat toys that are fast, fun and easy to make. As the author of this book, I am delighted to offer supporters of Angel’s Wish a special savings off the regular price — AND $2 from each book sold will be donated to Angel’s Wish. Please check it out at: Make Your Own Cat Toys.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

  1. Make a donation to Angel’s Wish or your favourite local animal or environmental charity.  Angel’s Wish is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit so your donation is tax-deductible.  While these are definitely unique economic times for everyone, it’s even tougher now more than ever for charities and the animals they help.  Remember how President Obama built his campaign though $5 donations?  It made a big difference, so even the smallest amount is deeply appreciated. You can make a donation online to Angel’s Wish by visiting their website at: http://www.angelswish.org/donations.html#online.
  2. If you are part of an animal welfare organization, open a discussion within your group about how you can implement greener practices.  Also, visit again tomorrow as I’ll be posting some creative eco-friendly ideas from an animal rescue organization in Jamaica and a cat sanctuary in Mexico.  As well, if you’re interested in a fun and easy way to raise money that also supports the environment, please check out the Charity Partner Program that I’m creating as part of my eco-friendly cat toy book.
  3. Last, but not least, share this post with any other animal welfare groups you know of who are looking for ways to be more eco-friendly.  Click the “Share This” link to email this article to a friend or post it to your favourite social networking site.

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Green Little Cat is the only blog that's all about eco-friendly ideas for cats and cat lovers. This blog is a labor of love, created by Holly Tse, author of Make Your Own Cat Toys.