5 tips to help reduce your pet product waste

7 November 2022 - 5 min read

Many of us know that reducing the use of plastic and actively recycling used products is a great way of living more sustainably and protecting the planet.

Ellie Austin-Williams, the founder of This Girl Talks Money, gives us her top tips on the small changes you can make to become a more sustainable pet owner.

There’s no denying the unique love between a pet parent and their close companion, so it’s only natural that giving your furry friend the best life possible is high on your priority list.

Yet with the cost of living crisis impacting all of our bank balances, owning a pet is becoming more expensive than ever before.

Pets are known to have their own way of doing things. In fact, new research from pet insurance provider, ManyPets and sharing app OLIO reveals 49% of dog and cat owners claim their pet is the head of the household, with 92% also citing their pet as ‘picky’.

Just take a peek in the cupboard of any pet parent and you’ll likely find a stash of unwanted pet products forgotten about or going to waste.

But what if there was a way to give your old pet supplies a new lease of life? Keep reading for five top tips to reduce pet product waste and cut the cost of owning your furry companion.

A person high fiving a dog

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1. Pets Pass It On

According to a ManyPets survey of 2,000 British pet parents, only 23 percent of pet parents currently donate goods to charity, while 16 percent store unwanted items indefinitely.

With the rising cost of pet ownership, there’s never been a better time to donate unused pet supplies to your local community.

What one picky pet no longer wants or needs, another pet can enjoy, and you get to help a grateful pet parent in your local area and extend the life of your pet products.

Through utilising sharing apps such as OLIO, pet ownership can become more sustainable and you can help out both your bank balance and the environment at once.

2. Shop for the long term

You love your pet, so it’s only natural that you want to buy them the best of everything whenever they might need or want it.

Tempting as it is to indulge your fluffy friend, pets grow quickly - especially in their early years. Before you know it, you can find yourself with a house full of pet supplies that only end up in use for a few months.

Try to avoid buying too many things when your pet is young; instead, borrow items from friends and family or ask the local community on OLIO to borrow puppy supplies in the early days.

When you do buy things for your pet, think about whether the items will last for years, rather than months. For example, invest in a bed that will fit your fully grown furry friend, rather than upsizing every few months.

Take a long term view of pet shopping and you can make more intentional, informed purchases that save you money.

3. Build better habits

There’s no denying that pet accessories and toys are made to catch our attention.

Whether it’s a fashionable harness for each season or a new squeaky toy, it’s easy to get swept up in treating our furry friends.

That being said, there’s a limit to how much each pet actually needs and spoiler alert: it’s a lot less than you probably think!

Especially if you know you have a picky pet, it can be easy to let them rule the roost and turn their nose up at toys they decide they don’t want for no reason.

What's the best thing to do in this situation? Rather than going straight to your local pet store, think of creative ways to make what you already have more exciting.

Try hiding a selection of toys for a few days so that when they reappear, your pet thinks they're brand new again.

When it comes to fussy eaters, it’s often a sign that your pet is smart. Focus on building positive associations with their meals and avoid feeding them your food, as that can make them dig their heels in even more. Remember, you're in charge!

4. Repair and reuse

It’s easy to cast aside chewed beds and toys with one ear, but there’s often a more sustainable and cheaper option than throwing away old pet supplies.

Repairing well-loved pet furniture and toys can be a quick way to save money and avoid unnecessary waste.

If you’re good with a needle and thread, patch up your pet’s items yourself or even if you choose to take them to a repair shop, you’ll likely find the cost of stitching up an item is a lot less than a replacement. Plus, you’re doing your part for the environment at the same time.

5. Maximise what you have

Looking after your pet’s health is a critical part of pet ownership, and it’s easy to forget or miss out on what is included with the cover and services you have.

Pet Insurance companies often offer perks with cover, for example ManyPets customers all have unlimited online access to UK-registered vets, so that they can get fast, expert advice if their pet looks unwell or has an injury.

Plenty of vets offer pet care plans as well, allowing you to split the cost of vaccinations and treatments over the year.

Along with the medication, you may find that your vet offers additional services you’re not maximising, such as a check up with a nurse or discounts on other pet items.

If you’re not sure what you’re entitled to, give your insurance provider or vet a call and make sure you get the most for your money.

Now you’ve got an idea of how you can make pet ownership more sustainable and affordable, what are you waiting for?

Have a look through your pet supplies, clear out your cupboards and get started with Pets Pass It On!

Ellie Austin-Williams
Founder of This Girl Talks Money

Ellie is the founder of This Girl Talks Money, a platform and community which opens the conversation about money, teaching all the financial adulting that schools forgot. As well as writing for Stylist, Refinery29, The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan, VICE, Daily Express and appearing as a guest on the FT Money Clinic podcast, she's also a ManyPets collaborator, helping pet parents look after their pets and take care of their finances too.