Many pet products are made with plastic materials and find their way to the trash soon after Fido takes it apart. To help make more environmentally friendly items, founder Spencer Williams started West Paw, a sustainable pet toy and bed company in Montana in the early 90’s. The company was determined to create environmentally friendly products and built a green manufacturing facility to do so. Today, the company still operates in that building as they continue to focus on better pet products while using sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.
West Paw was the first pet company to harness a recycled plastic fill and fabric called IntelliLoft. The non toxic eco-fiber is used for stuffing and fabric since it’s safe for pets and the environment. By using eco-friendly materials, the company has so far kept an estimated 12.6 million bottles from landfill.
For tough toys, the company created Zogoflex, a design that can be infinitely recycled. Once factory scraps are cleaned, ground, and put back in the machine, new toys are easily created to minimize any unnecessary waste. The company also accepts old or beat up toys from customers to process in the same way as the scraps, in order to close the loop of the toy’s lifecycle. To make it easier on customers and the plant, West Paw created a Join the Loop program so customers never have to send their old dog toys to the landfill.
Even cats have their own eco-friendly products. West Paws offers USDA Organic Catnip which is grown locally in the United States without herbicides, pesticides, or any harmful chemicals. Adapting similar materials, the company also offers green cat beds and whimsical toys.
In addition to creating eco-friendly toys and beds, the company makes sure their process is as green as possible, as well. They store all finished goods in reusable banana boxes, which allows them to avoid plastic bins while simultaneously keeping items out of landfills. Fabric scraps are often a problem in manufacturing waste, but West Paw has found a way to keep extra pieces by reusing them in their toys. West Paw has also gone through great lengths to keep manufacturing local and handcrafts each item in Montana. In doing so, they help reduce carbon emissions when selling to local customers.
Committed to the environment, they helped establish the Pet Sustainability Coalition to unite pet focused companies and help them find the resources they need to run a green company. Williams believes that when everyone in an industry is able to work together on the same page, it can facilitate a more environmentally friendly effort.
As a pioneer company, West Paw was the first Benefit Corporation in Montana. It was also the first pet product company to be a Certified B Corp and continues to measure its success by focusing on sustainable practices, accountably, and transparency. This certification means they only create products that are BPA-free, phthalate-free and have the stamp of approval from the FDA. West Paw as also been recently awarded “Best For the World: Environment” by B Lab, a nonprofit organization, for the fourth consecutive time and continues to lead the way for greener pets.