Getting Paws-On with Environmental Practices — West Paw Design

(This was originally posted on 6/26/08 on Woof Tales, The Big Bad Woof’s blog, but it appears with the redesign not all the archives were kept. However, I found it reposted on TBBW’s Facebook account. Yay for keeping records of my articles, on Google Docs.)

One of the fundamentals of our mission here at The Big Bad Woof® is to provide ecologically friendly products to our customers. To this end, we work with a number of North American companies, and enjoy working with other small businesses to our mutual benefit. In the coming weeks, this blog will feature some of the products we offer in our store, and detail some of the reasons we have chosen to sell products from these companies.

The first company featured in our series is West Paw Design® . Based in Bozeman, Montana, this small company (employing fewer than 50 individuals) manufactures pet toys and bedding using recyclable materials.

The Eco Friendly line of beds are made of fabric and stuffing known as IntelliLoft™. IntelliLoft™ fibers are created from post-consumer soda bottles. The bed fabric is 85% postconsumer recycled product, and the stuffing is 100% post-consumer recycled and reengineered fiber fill. Up to 40 plastic bottles go into the production of each bed, adding up to over 25 tons of plastic bottles diverted from landfills every year. So far, 165 tons of plastic bottles have been diverted from landfills to create these products, and that number continues to rise. In addition, the use of this recycled material uses six times less energy than would using virgin materials to create fabric.

Recently, West Paw Design® has added a green ‘bottle count tag’ to their eco products, informing the consumer how many bottles were diverted in the production of each product. These tags are made of recycled paper, and assist customers in locating ‘green’ products.

West Paw Design® also has a line of organic beds, made with certified organic cotton covers, and filled with IntelliLoft™. These are available in a range of sizes to accommodate both cats and dogs, in multiple shapes and sizes.

Their environmental methods don’t stop there. The scraps from making beds are used to make toys, filled with the same IntelliLoft™ stuffing, and the cat toys are also filled with 100% US grown and USDA certified organic catnip. West Paw Design® also uses recycled packaging to ship their products to retail locations such as The Big Bad Woof®.

For tough chewers, West Paw Design® has introduced the Zogoflex® line of toys. These toys are tough, pliable, bounce able, nontoxic, recyclable, and buoyant. They are dishwasher safe, and create virtually no waste during production. With an injection molding press at their plant in Montana, West Paw Design® maintains the same high standards for these toys as they do for their other lines, and reduces the environmental impact that would have been created by shipping raw materials to another country to be produced, and then shipping the finished product back to the United States. The Zogoflex® toys are guaranteed against dog damage, with a one-time only replacement offer if the toy does not withstand your dog’s chewing. When the toy has been loved to death, it can be mailed back to West Paw Design® and recycled into a new toy! Talk about completing the recycle circle! Zogoflex® toys include: Hurley™, Huck, Zisc™, and the newest (fillable) toy, the Tux™.

In addition, West Paw Design® is an active and conscious member of their community, in the fifth largest (and fastest growing) city in the state of Montana. They have partnered with Reach, Inc. to employ special needs people for subassembly work, and all of their employees receive fair wages, benefits, and profit sharing. Building a sense of community within the company fosters personal investments, so that the people working there care more about the company and the products they design and create. Once a year the employees compete in teams of three to create new toys from raw materials; the winning team takes the “Golden Hairball,” and many of the toys created during those annual meetings have been introduced as new products.

The West Paw Design® website is extremely user-friendly, filled with customer testimonials and photographs, in-depth information on each of their products, and featured articles from magazines such as Modern Dog, The Bark, and City Dog.

For all these reasons, we at The Big Bad Woof® are proud to offer the high-quality products from West Paw Design®, and invite you to bring your pet to select a toy or bed to take home with you.

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About Kristin S Moran

I have worn a lot of hats over the years. Some of my favorite jobs have been: Naturalist at a state park, Co-owner of a pet sitting franchise, and Intern at a conservation not-for-profit organization. I own 3 male cats and a female rottweiler/border collie dog. I have been learning about pet nutrition for the past few years, and have seen vast improvement in my pets' health and that of several clients' pets. Throughout my life, pets have always had a major role. I grew up with cats, and we got our first dog when I was in high school. I've also owned ferrets, rabbits, and a hermit crab. I started out my college career in a pre-veterinary medicine program, but eventually switched to Wildlife Science, earning my bachelor's degree from Purdue University. I have been an interpretive naturalist at several different facilities, including Acadia National Park, Lincoln State Park, Mesker Park Zoo, and Howell Wetlands. I enjoy learning about the natural world and sharing what I've learned with others. I am also a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, though I tend to write about that and my other crafty pursuits on other blogs.
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