A zero waste Birthday in the Green household!

Filed in Blog by on December 15, 2010 7 Comments
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Sunrise examines her Birthday presents

Sunrise examines her Birthday presents

The other week we celebrated a very special day at zero waste towers.

You heard all about Grandma Green’s Birthday at the beginning of November where I saved food waste from landfill. In the middle of the month, Sunrise the bunny was one years old.

Fortunately, bunnies don’t create quite as much landfill waste as their human cousins!

We scoured the internet to find the perfect present. After all, what do you buy the bunny who has everything?

As one of her favourite past times is eating, we decided a hamper would make a fine gift. As her second favourite past time is chewing on things (hello excavated hole in fireplace) we figured things to chew on would be good too.

I ordered a willow ball stuffed with hay, some willow sticks for her to nibble to her hearts content and some dried plantain – a particular favourite of hers. We also ordered a box of Timothy hay now that access to fresh grass and greens is a little more limited.

Well I can’t praise The Willow Warren enough. I ordered over the weekend prior to her Birthday so the gifts would arrive in time. Sadly the internet saw fit to play silly games with my order and the woman in the office told me my order would be sent out on Wednesday (Birthday was on the following day) by Parcel Force – this meant the parcel would be late. I had the option of paying extra to have it posted out on Monday by courier, but my card was maxed out.

I decided that Sunrise really wouldn’t mind too much having her presents a few days late, so we set to making a Birthday banner, cards and planning a special meal (as you do).

However, on Thursday morning, the very day of celebrations itself, the doorbell rang and there were two cardboard boxes.


Sunrise immediately started eating her way into the hay box which was problematic as it was fixed to the other gift box with polythene wrap. Never mind, we took off the plastic and stuck it in the recycling box.

Then the most amazing sight was to behold. Inside the box of hay was, well, HAY! Nothing else – no plastic, no packaging, no nothing.

Inside the other box were the three gifts – willow ball, dried plantain and chewy sticks and guess what the packing material was…

Yep, HAY!

Sunrise's zero waste treats

Sunrise's zero waste treats

how totally cool is that!?

So not only did Sunrise love her presents, but like all one year olds, she thoroughly enjoyed the packaging too.

I was expecting to find everything wrapped in plastic and maybe the plantain in a cellophane packet, but it came in a paper bag and everything else was sans packaging. It just shows what companies can do when they put their mind to it…

Tell me – what zero waste treats do you buy for your pets?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. Attila says:

    The only thing I can think of is when my male cat…ahem…eats out. The remains are biodegradeable!

  2. Julie Day says:

    We don’t have any pets but today my mum and I had a lovely turkey dinner in BhS. We couldn’t eat all the turkey so we put what was left in a doggy bag and brought it home to feed the birds tomorrow.

  3. CarSue says:

    When we shop for our dogs, we buy pigs’ ears for chew treats. Some companies wrap each individual ear in plastic wrap & ship them here from China! We skip these of course, and have found that a favourite local shop sells the ears in a bulk bin, completely unpackaged. They even give a small discount if you bring your own bag to carry home, and another discount for buying more than 10. Love it! The same shop also offers cows’ hooves and rawhide bones for dogs, unwrapped!

  4. Sooz says:

    My giant African Land Snail is very zero waste in the summer, becuase he eats salad veg grown in our garden, he’s more tricky in winter though as he refuses to eat winter leafy veg so we have to buy packaged salad stuff just for him!

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Attila: Perfect! nature knows best πŸ˜‰

    @Julie Day: Great stuff Julie; hope the birds enjoyed it!

    @CarSue: amazing about the amount of waste with pet food packaging; those pigs ears are an excellent example. The shop you buy yours from sound very forward thinking – offering financial incentives is always a winner πŸ˜‰

    @Sooz: πŸ˜€ lovely story; did you know that technically you can grow salad all year ’round? Lambs lettuce grows particularly well throughout the winter if you fancied giving it a go next year πŸ˜‰

  6. Condo Blues says:

    I made my dog dried sweet potato chews for Christmas and packaged them in old mason jars. I made them for his dog “cousins” too.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Condo Blues: Is there a recipe for these on your site? Would love to make bunny something. I’ve experimented this evening and they’re still in the oven, but I just made it up as I went along …

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