“We feel it is important not only to
create sustainable products because the
market demands them, but because as a
company we care about the environment
that we all share, and it is the right thing
to do,” explains Parsons. “If we do not do
our part to protect the environment, our
children and their children may not enjoy
what we are able to today.”
This mission extends even to the
packaging surrounding P.L.A. Y.’s beds.
The company utilizes product tags that
are made from paper certified-safe by
the Forest Stewardship Counsel—the
only forest certification system support
by all major environmental groups.
“We also minimize the use of
wrapping and other packaging materials
whenever possible,” adds Parsons.
In addition to recycled fibers,
companies are also boosting their eco-conscious profile
by employing natural and organic materials in their
pet bed designs. Carolina Pet Company, for example,
utilizes natural soy rather than harmful CFC chemicals
for the foam inserts in its orthopedic beds. This has
reduced the manufacturer’s carbon footprint and overall
use of fossil fuels.
The South Carolina-based producer also strives to
only partner with suppliers that share its commitment to
eco-friendly practices to create its diverse line of super
comfortable pet beds.
“We work with a number of suppliers whose processes
use natural or recycled content and have performance
derived from plants rather than harsh chemicals,” says
Penny Stolfe, partner at Carolina Pet Company.
Some manufacturers, like Molly Mutt, are doing away
with bed filling altogether in an effort to be more earth
“The Molly Mutt concept utilizes stuffing from around
the home—pillows, blankets, clothes, things that the
consumer already has and already carries the scent of
the pet and the pack (the people in the home). That’s the
stuffing that’s used with our system,” explains Art Simon,
co-founder of Molly Mutt.
The Oakland, Calif.-based company’s duvet beds are
THE DURABILITY FACTOR
made from 100 percent cotton canvas with bolsters for
water and urine protection. These shells are then filled with
homemade padding from up-cycled fabric items in a “stuff
sack” (mesh bag) to complete the transformation from cover to
Removing filling doesn’t just reduce energy used in the
manufacturing process, though. It also diminishes impact on
the transportation side.
“We are original members of the Pet Sustainability
[Coalition] and they actually did a research project on how
sustainable our products are,” says Simon. “Because we take up
less space and because we’re so efficient in how we package and
move products through the supply chain, they estimated that
we’re 70 percent more efficient than the average pet bed.”
It’s not just plastic bottles that pet bed manufacturers are
keeping out of landfills; many are also working to prevent the
beds themselves from ending up in the trash.
“I think what makes us different is just the fact that our beds
last so long. They’re so durable that they last the life of the
dog,” says Bruce Kelling, founder of Big Shrimpy. “Ultimately,
no matter how much recycled content or natural fibers or
whatever you have in a dog bed—if it’s not well made, it’s going to the dump.”
For 17 years, Big Shrimpy has been producing high-quality pet beds with eco-friendly
materials. The original bed design is still being manufactured today and comes with a
three-year limited warranty. The tough outer cover features 400-denier, water-resistant
nylon and upholstery-grade polyester for a finish that can stand up to years of wear and
tear. Plus, all of the components are machine washable and dryable.
Once pet parents are finally done with a Big Shrimpy bed, they can still keep it out of
the garbage by participating in the company’s full circle recycling program.
“They can send back the entire bed to us and we’ll recycle everything but the zipper,
including fabric, fiber, logo, labels. Whether it’s to make carpet padding, insulation, those
kinds of things,” says Kelling. “As far as I know, we’re the only pet bed manufacturer that
Like with any other merchandise, communication with customers is key to success in
the eco-friendly bed category.
“Showcasing signage and tangibles that have a clear description of eco-friendly
product elements is essential to communicating the value of these types of products to
customers,” explains Parsons.
Another crucial tool for articulating the worth of eco-friendly products is a well-educated sales team. Even in a more eco-conscious world, customers will always have
questions, such as: What chemicals are used in manufacturing? Are they safe for my
pet? How are materials recycled into stuffing? Staff members should be prepared to tell
both the story of eco-friendly beds and the story of your store’s commitment to green
“At the end of the day, retail is about telling a story. The consumer today is going to
buy the why much more than they’re going to buy the what. It’s very important for the
retailer to be able to stand tall with the products that they represent,” says Simon. PB
crucial tool for
the worth of
products is a