— Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has struck a deal to turn tons of its recyclable waste materials into a stylish range of pet products that will come full circle by being sold in the company's stores nationwide.
From pet beds stuffed with ground-up water bottles to cat litter pans made from plastic hangers, Fido and Tabby will have a greater chance to join their human companions as "green conscious."
The trend toward environmentally friendly pet products has mostly been driven by American consumers, of whom 71.4 million households own pets. Eighty percent of pet owners in this country consider themselves to be "pet parents" and are looking for a lifestyle for their "furry kids" that mimics their own.
Demand for eco-friendly standards for pets was largely motivated by a call for improved pet food standards after hundreds of cats and dogs died in 2007 from contaminated ingredients. Consumers are recognizing the benefits of using sustainable and recycled materials in accessories such as pet beds, cat scratchers and litter box materials.
Worldwise has been considered an innovator in this industry, with a focus on making quality products from natural, recycled, reclaimed and certified organic materials. This includes the use for the past decade of recycled plastic bottles as fiberfill stuffing in the company's PoochPlanet pet beds.
"It's always been our mission to create environmentally responsible products that prove there is no sacrifice for everyday consumers, who want to do the right thing by buying high quality products made from recycled materials," says Lamstein.
With the Full Circle Program, the company will continue to use water and soda bottles in bedding. But now plastic hangers from Wal-Mart and its Sam's Club subsidiary will re-emerge as cat litter pans and scoops. Plastic bags will be converted into cat litter liners and corrugated cardboard is being processed into cat scratchers.
The first products manufactured as a result of this initiative will be available this month and will be easily identifiable by an "EcoAdvantages" tag.
Worldwise estimates that next year the equivalent of 100 million 16.9-ounce bottles will be kept out of landfills through its pet bed sales in Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. Approximately 25 million of these bottles will have been provided by the two retailers.
"This program is the type of innovative thinking that will help Wal-Mart reach its companywide goals for sustainability," says John Kunkel, senior pets buyer for Wal-Mart. "We are committed to creating zero waste."