Whether it’s on the couch, floor, grass, your bed, or their own bed, pets sure know how to enjoy a nice long snooze.
They spend majority of their lives sleeping and if you’re lucky enough to have both a cat and a dog then they’re going to spend quite a while commandeering the best place to sleep.
What most pet owners don’t know or don’t realize is the dangerous chemicals our pets are inhaling while they sleep.
Flame retardants are compounds added to manufactured materials, such as plastics and textiles, and surface finishes and coatings that inhibit, suppress, or delay the production of flames to prevent the spread of fire. They can leak from these products into the dust and the environment. In worst case scenarios, flame retardants have even been found in dog and cat food.
In a study conducted by researchers at the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, found that flame retardants are linked to the growing problem of thyroid disease in house cats.
Flame retardants are known to be neurotoxic chemicals, they’re also carcinogenic and can affect the thyroid and liver of any animal.
In another study conducted at Indiana University, researchers found a high concentration of flame retardants in the blood of dogs. Flame retardants levels were found to be 5 to 10 times higher in dogs than those found in humans and in a previous study, 20 to 100 times higher in cats.
What can pet owners do to protect their loving companions?
- Replace old beds with newer flame retardant free beds. There is no way you can tell if a bed has been treated with flame retardants by just looking at it, but as the consumer you have a right to know what exactly is in the product you wish to purchase so don’t be afraid and ask the manufacturers directly.
- Avoid foam or polyester pet bed fillers. In general most foam products have been treated with flame retardants and are unsafe for your pets. Fortunately there are alternatives on the market – one of our favorites is IntelliLoft. It’s a safe, clean bed filler that’s made from recycled plastic bottles. Good for both your pet & the environment.
- Confirm that all fabrics prior to fabrication have never been treated with flame retardants. The manufacturer may not have added it to the finished bed but the fabric they have purchased prior may have already been treated. When it comes to the health of your pet you can never be too careful.
- Look for natural fabrics like cotton, wool or hemp. Organic cotton is a better choice, you’ll avoid any pesticide or chemical used to grow the cotton. Always double check to ensure it’s flame retardant free.
Different types of pet beds on the market
- Nest beds: If your pet prefers to snuggle up on your couch cushions then they might be nesters. They feel safe curling up nose-to-tail in den like beds with walls around them.
- Cushioned styled beds: Depending on the size of your pet, these pillow-like beds are ideal for pets who like to sprawl out and sleep on their backs. The bed should be big enough for your pet to stretch out completely without hanging off on the edge.
- Mats: Are similar to the cushioned styled beds but with less stuffing. They are closer to the ground and contain no support for your pet.
As a consumer we have a right to know what we’re exposing ourselves, our family and our pets to. These harsh chemicals might be hard to get rid of, a few have found their way into products we consume, but we can start diminishing our exposure to them and find alternative options, which are now increasing thanks to the awareness and the growing demand from consumers.
Dolphin Blue only carries pet products that are 100% flame retardant free, BPA free, chemical free and are made right here in the USA.
You’ve probably thought about it before. The thought crosses your mind countless times, “I can totally build my own garden,” and you can, you can totally build your very own garden at home. Why aren’t you?
Sure, growing veggies and fruits may seem a little overwhelming at first, especially if you have never planted or watered a plant in your life, but it’s actually much simpler than it sounds. You can’t expect it all to be grand and great at first, there are going to be a few trial and errors. Will it be worth it? Yes, it’s most definitely going to be worth it.
Here are some reasons on why you should stop thinking about it and start growing!
Gardening can be a great form for exercise; planting, weeding, watering and harvesting, and can also reduce your stress and decrease depression.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables can reduce your exposure to pesticides, making them healthier than produce bought fruits and veggies. They’ll be fresh and rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.
2.) Good for the environment
Plants can improve the air quality around you and with proper placement a garden can help keep your home cool during the summer and warm during the winter.
You’ll reduce your carbon footprint by not buying produce that has travelled long distances, reducing fossil fuels and the pollution from the transportation.
3.) Reduce waste
Instead of buying more than what you need in order to get a better deal and later throwing away the amount you couldn’t use, you’ll be planting and growing “your own” food and thus you’ll be more unwilling to toss out “your own” produce.
Watching the very first seed sprout and later watching your entire garden flourish with fruits and veggies will bring you great satisfaction. Bask in the glory that is your amazing garden, it took a while but you got there. Eating your very first fruit from your garden and have the sweetness and freshness overwhelm you with joy and pride.
For natural and organic fertilizers check out Neptune’s Harvest. It’s 100% organic and safe for the environment.
We also offer Seedballz, they’re unique and grow in clusters rather than single seeds!
Have a compost near your garden! Composting can be a natural way to dispose of organic waste by breaking down organic material and transforming it into a rich nutrient soil additive. Read our “How To Start Your Own Compost Pile” blog post to get started!
We also have great tips on keeping your garden pest free. 6 Natural Ways to Keep Your Home & Garden Pest Free
For tips on how to make your lawn more eco-friendly check out, Really Make Your Lawn “Green”: Eco-Friendly Tips for a Sustainable Yard blog post.
If you’ve been following our series on post-consumer recycled products, then you have a pretty good idea about what PCR is and why it matters so much to me. What you may still be wondering is, “How do I make sure I find and buy PCR products?” And unfortunately, that question is more complex than it seems.
There is no all-encompassing database of PCR products — it just takes good, old-fashioned research to find what you’re looking for.
The Wording on Packages
Reading product packaging carefully is important. If a product says it’s made from recycled content, look for details. Does it specify whether that’s pre-consumer recycled or post-consumer recycled? (Any kind of recycled is better than nothing, but post-consumer recycling means that when someone dropped an item in the blue bin for recycling, it was actually used to make this new item you’re now contemplating purchasing. Pre-consumer recycling involves taking things like leftover scraps that weren’t initially used and finding a purpose for them.)
Do the claims apply to just the packaging, just the product, or both? How high is the percentage of recycled content, and of that, what’s the ratio of post-consumer recycled content? A product can claim to be made of “recycled content” even if only a tiny percentage contains anything recycled, but the FTC requires that the label tell you exactly how much is recycled (unless the product or package contains 100 percent recycled materials — in which case, that’s probably a pretty good item to consider purchasing!).
The Products Where PCR Thrives
It can be discouraging to find a product that touts its recycled content, only to find that it’s really not so PCR-laden at all. And it can take a while to find an item that fits the bill in all the areas that matter, like functionality, design, and sustainability. There is some good news, though: Lots of different kinds of retailers offer post-consumer recycled goods, from hardware stores and automotive centers to furniture shops and clothing boutiques.
One category I’m proud to say often leads the field in PCR is office supplies (it is what I built my business on, after all). Recycled paper has come a long way; you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a high-quality, recycled-content version and its virgin-tree counterpart.
Consider Boise Aspen 100: perfectly new, safe, nontoxic, environmentally responsible, 100 percent post-consumer recycled copy and printer paper. In addition to the recycled element, the paper is whitened without the use of chlorinated compounds or chlorine bleach, eliminating some rather caustic and harmful chemical processes. Those kind of additional environmental and human health benefits that aren’t always obvious are often an added bonus when you make a PCR purchase.
Certifications Worth Seeking
When looking to buy products, it can be helpful to see if they’ve been certified by a third party in environmental responsibility. Not all of these necessarily concern PCR, but they can be a good place to start:
Green Seal: Green Seal, a certification that’s been around since 1989, considers the total environmental impact of a product and works to reduce that impact while maintaining the same performance and quality you would expect.
Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) or Processed Chlorine Free (PCF): The Chlorine Free Products Association is an independent, not-for-profit accreditation and standard-setting organization for evaluating chlorine-free products. Only papers made with 100 percent post-consumer recycled fiber can be PCF.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): FSC certification ensures that products come from well-managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.
Green-e: An independent certification and verification program for renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions.
CarbonNeutral: For this certification, a company, brand, or product must accurately measure its carbon footprint, then commit to a reduction strategy and carbon offset program to prove their activities will not result in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions that affect climate change.
Doing Our Part
We know it isn’t always easy to find PCR products, and that’s why we do the work for you — asking companies tough questions, verifying certifications, and making sure that everything we offer on DolphinBlue.com is environmentally responsible. On each product, we’ll tell you the percentage of PCR content and clearly explain what that means.
We don’t know any other companies that go to the lengths we do to both verify facts and educate consumers on this issue, but we know it’s worth it. Every time you buy something containing PCR materials, you’re helping to close the loop — reducing our reliance on virgin resources and bolstering the market for recyclables so that more products in the future can make use of PCR content.
We all win when we recycle, and we win more completely when we purchase PCR products, preserving our planet for future generations.
Tom Kemper is the founder of Dolphin Blue, a company founded in 1993 on the belief that we can all be responsible in what we use. Dolphin Blue sells the most environmentally responsible home, family, pet, office, and business products available.