Trudi, Owner of The Green Greyhound talks to Westies & Besties on plastics, packaging, and playing a part in solving it.
When we adopted our ex-racing greyhound a year ago, I never imagined it would lead us down the path of setting up a business inspired by him. When he arrived, he was unsettled, nervous and always stressed about getting food. He would literally take whatever he could, however he could. We ended up with child locks on cupboards and stairgates banning him from the kitchen. He would even take food clean out of your hand if you ate near him. Walks became stressful, he would find empty food containers everywhere. No matter how small or well hidden, he would find them and try and eat them whether there was food in them or not.
It was during our daily dog walks that we noticed just how much plastic waste there was and just how much of it was inappropriately disposed of. We aren’t just talking the odd empty crisp packet either. Every day we found random empty meat packets, bottles, broken dog toys, empty make-up containers, cleaning bottles, fast food packaging etc. Things you would never expect to see in a remote woodland or floating down a Scottish stream. It got us thinking about how much waste was actually out there and the damage it was causing. After all, if our domesticated dog was trying to eat it all, what must the wild animals make of it.
Somehow, somewhere along the line, I went from talking about the problem with plastic to trying to play my part in solving it. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that I am helping others to make sustainable changes for both themselves and their families – including their pets.
Making the Switch to a Sustainable Lifestyle
I genuinely understand how daunting it can seem to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle which is why I decided from the beginning to make it as easy as possible for people to make small simple swaps – because small changes really do make a big difference.
While The Green Greyhound may be less than year old, I am not entirely new to eco-friendly living or products. Prior to starting this business, I have been helping homeowners to maintain their homes and make them more energy efficient for almost two decades. As a family, we have been re-using, re-purposing and upcycling for years too! We also hate food waste and have done our best to buy local, fresh and with as little plastic as possible. In the last five years I have started to see a growing trend away from linear consumption, that is to buy – use – bin, and a shift toward greater sustainability. That said, this change has been slow and there is a lot more that can and should be done by individuals and policy makers to help support businesses and consumer alike to make sustainable changes.
Our background means that we understand how issues of sustainability cannot and should not be considered in isolation and I decided to only stock products that were as eco-friendly as possible. I consider the impacts of each product from start to finish to maximise the benefit to the customer and environment. From experience, I understand how hard it can be to sort the fact from fiction and know it can be hard to know where to start. That is why I do all the hard work so that my customers don’t have to and can buy with confidence.
It was extremely important to me to stock a wide range of products for pets alongside the more traditional eco-friendly product ranges. Not least because we understand animals benefit from chemical free and natural products too, but because we live in a nation of animal lovers where 12 million of us (or 45% of all households) own at least one pet, according to a 2018 report by the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association. With the vast majority of pet products containing plastics or other toxins, if each household swapped just one plastic pet product each, that would take at least 12 million plastic products out of production. Imagine the impact we could make if we swapped two or three products each. It soon adds up.
Our biggest challenge so far has been finding our producers. We have taken great care to only stock suppliers who share our ethos and I have to thank The Dog and I, The Wild Dog Co., Surya Luna and Greene and Wilde for working with us. With 2021 fast approaching we are looking to the future and plan on expanding our product ranges and maybe even start producing some of our own – so watch this space.
Westie owners can buy from us safe in the knowledge that we stock something for every dog, owner, and home. For the dogs, we have a range of products including shampoos that help all fur types, including those with oily coats or irritated skin as well as doggy conditioner. We also have a range of skin and paw balms and salves to help keep your pets’ skin moisturised and nourished. We have even just introduced a natural and sustainable dog toy range too. We also sell cleaning products to help clean those dirty dog dishes or wipe away muddy pawprints and we also have skincare products and soaps to help owners protect their hands and skin after walking in those autumnal downpours.