Making Sweet Dreams Sustainable
Pet bed manufacturers are meeting the strong demand for eco-friendly products by using recycled, natural, biodegradable and sustainably sourced materials.
Providing a naturally comfortable place for animals to enjoy a good night’s rest is important to pet parents. However, today’s pet owners are often looking for pet beds that also align with their mission to be more eco-conscious. In response to that demand, manufacturers are designing pet beds that are as eco-friendly as they are fashionable, cozy and comfy.
Innovative new methods of repurposing material or plastic into bed filling, or batting, are allowing pet-bed manufacturers to limit waste and provide comfortable pet furniture. Montana-based West Paw Design, for example, uses its IntelliLoft, a batting made from recycled plastic bottles.
“IntelliLoft is clean, safe, re-engineered polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) material that is a win/win for our customers and the environment,” says Spencer Williams, president and owner of West Paw Design. “By recycling existing PETE polymer material, we are reducing energy use and keeping plastic bottles out of our landfills at the same time.”
The company’s commitment to sustainable quality doesn’t end with recycling plastic bottles into comfortable pet-bed stuffing. Some of the fabrics used to upholster the locally made beds, such as the Eco Drop with Hemp and the Bumper Bed, also fit within West Paw Designs’ mission to create a product that is environmentally friendly.
“Besides our commitment to using eco-friendly materials, design is at the heart of our work,” Williams says. “Our designers loved the look of the Eco Drop with Hemp, as this sustainable and strong fabric really lent itself well to the shape of this super soft, plush bed…while not everyone is interested in organic cotton, we wanted to offer a more eco-friendly fabric to those who are.”
Not only does West Paw use eco-friendly organic cotton and hemp, it upholsters its furniture using fabrics that provide comfort to pets and complement home décor.
What’s Old is New
Using recycled plastic bottles to create bed stuffing is also the method employed by London’s Beco Pets when making products that attract environmentally conscientious pet parents. Not only are its Beco Donut and Mattress beds eco-friendly, the covers for these products are manufactured from cotton and hemp, allowing pets to enjoy sleeping on comfortable fabrics that consumers can trust are free of potentially harmful chemicals.
According to Beco Pets co-founder George Bramble, “There are many dogs with allergies to synthetic materials, so making the cover out of natural materials, much like humans sleeping on cotton sheets, we felt was the right thing to do. The hemp farms we source the fabric from do not use fertilizers or pesticides to grow the material, and hemp regrows very quickly.”
Though Beco Pets’ Donut bed also comprises memory foam, in addition to 80 percent recycled bottles, Bramble says the pad is recyclable to ensure the product’s green status.
Plastic bottles aren’t the only thing being recycled into pet bed fill. When used clothing is too worn to donate, pieces can still be repurposed to create a cozy sleep space for pets. Pet-bed designers, such as P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You), have developed a concept through which it provides kits that include a bed casing to fill with old clothes or linens, and eco-friendly covers.
When developing its Fill-a-Bed system, P.L.A.Y used this method to create bed kits that are natural and utilized clothing to create sustainable furniture. Founder and owner Will Chen responded to customer demand for a do-it-yourself product. “It is a great way for pet parents to recycle and reuse unwanted old household items, [and] at the same time save money while creating a top-quality pet bed when combined with our durable and washable upholstery-grade cover,” he says.
Pet parents who view their dogs and cats as children will be happy to know that P.L.A.Y. recognizes the importance of this relationship and partnered with a company that is a trusted child-goods manufacturer. “Our manufacturing partner is a family-owned business that has been making children and infant products for over 20 years, so they hold the production process of P.L.A.Y. beds and toys to the same strict standards they apply to children’s toy manufacturing,” says Chen.
Fashion Forward and Eco-Friendly
Plagued by failed attempts at finding natural, yet aesthetically appealing, dog beds, Island Dog Design co-founder Ileana van der Linde wanted to create her own solution. Enlisting the help of her friend and fellow dog parent, Nicole Webster—an interior designer—she set out to design chic beds constructed from green materials. “A lot of people associate green with crunchy, granola, I think,” says van der Linde. “I consider myself as liking aesthetics—nice things.”
The duo now creates a line of responsibly made products that show luxury design and aesthetics can coexist with green materials to create chic, natural pet beds that last. “The natural rubber lends itself well to foaming and forming and keeping that shape,” explains van der Linde. “We are all made in the USA…we know the names of our manufacturers. It was hard to do. If we are going to do this, we’re going to go all the way.”
The Island Dog Design team also emphasizes the importance of the company gaining its silver Green America certification and being named a 2014 Style Finalist in Martha Stewart’s American Made competition.
In the search for quality pet beds, consumers are taking responsibility for the world in which they live and turning to brands that offer environmentally safe products. As eco-conscientious customers continue to search for natural alternatives to everyday products, the demand for attractive, quality pet beds from environmentally responsible companies will continue to grow.