If our faithful four-legged friends could talk, they’d probably say, “Make sure our collars are cruelty-free and gentle on the planet!” For so many of us, our dogs are our first-degree connection to the animal world. Plus, they make us get outside (even when we don’t feel like it.) That’s why I’m a big fan of hemp, recycled, eco-friendly, and vegan dog collars.
At the top of my list are hemp dog collars because in addition to being vegan, hemp is a sustainable material, plus it’s antimicrobial and hypoallergenic. This makes it ideal for dogs with allergies and sensitive skin, or those who love to play in the water.
In addition to hemp, there are dog collars in other eco-friendly materials, like recycled plastic and upcycled bicycle inner tubes. These materials are not only durable, they’re cruelty-free. Here are some of my faves.
Hemp Dog Collars
As mentioned above, hemp dog collars are hard to beat in terms of being sustainable, durable, and comfortable for your pup to wear. Hemp is one of the world’s strongest natural fibers, which means a well-made hemp dog collar will last through many romps, swims, and tugs from your dog’s pals.
In addition, dog collars made from hemp are naturally resistant to mold and mildew. But you can still throw them into the washing machine if need be. The material will soften over time, but it will still maintain its shape and strength.
And if your dog is prone to allergies or skin sensitivity, a hemp collar is a great option because it’s hypoallergenic.
Here’s why hemp is considered such a superstar sustainable material:
- It doesn’t require much water to grow, nor does it require pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides because it has a naturally strong resistance to pests.
- Because of its hardiness, it’s been used as an ecological way to clean up soil pollution and contamination. According to an article in the Huffington Post, “Using a process called phyto-remediation, hemp was used at Chernobyl to harmlessly extract toxins and pollutants from the soil and groundwater.
- Hemp absorbs CO2 as it grows through natural photosynthesis, making it carbon-negative as soon as it starts sprouting.
- A super productive plant, hemp produces more fiber per acre than cotton or flax – the fiber used to make linen.
So, if you’re looking for an uber eco-friendly collar for your pup, you can’t go wrong with a hemp collar!
Earthdog creates eco-friendly and vegan dog collars out of sustainable hemp. They offer a wide variety of colors and patterns, in 27 different styles. All of their collars are machine-washable and dryer-safe. And they’re all handmade in the USA
The Good Dog Company’s dog (and cat) collars, leashes, and harnesses, are made with 55% industrial-grade hemp and 45% certified organic cotton. And they’re all handmade in their workshop in Hendersonville, NC, USA.
Katja Gričar of Hemp Chewer creates one-of-a-kind hemp dog collars in her workshop in Kranj, Slovenia. An avid animal, nature, and health enthusiast, Katia made her first hemp dog collar for her dog, Tara. She was seeking out materials that would not harm her pup’s sensitive skin. Luckily for the rest of us, Katia turned her love and care for her dog into creating more special hemp dog collars for the rest of our four-legged friends.
I especially love this one pictured below, which combines two of my most favorite sustainable materials: cork and hemp.
Green Bean Dog also makes a variety of hemp dog collars with a decorative ribbon exterior. Handmade in the USA in Santa Barbara, CA, USA, these cute collars come in a variety of styles and color combos, so you’ll find the perfect one for your pooch.
Mandy Wilson makes eco-friendly dog collars, and leashes, and other accessories in her workshop in Sydney, Australia. These colorful pastel collars are made with an organic hemp base and an organic cotton ribbon that’s dyed with eco-friendly inks. A stainless steel quick release buckle completes the look.
Eco-Friendly, Recycled Dog Collars
Another great option for your pup is a recycled dog collar. As you’re probably aware, we have a serious plastic pollution problem. There’s too much of it and it doesn’t biodegrade. To date, we’ve produced 9.1 billion tons of plastics. The number is so enormous that it’s nearly impossible to wrap your head around it, other than to say – plastic is everywhere. There’s now even plastic where people don’t generally go, like at the bottom of the ocean. We’re choking on plastic and so are our fellow species who don’t use plastic.
Every four minutes, eight seabirds and 760 marine mammals die from plastic pollution in the ocean – and these are just the ones we know about, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Ocean Crusaders. In fact, the most prevalent form of pollution found in our oceans and on our beaches is plastic bottles and plastic bags.
What do we do with all of this plastic?
First, we need to stop producing and using so much plastic. Second, we need to use natural, sustainable materials and bioplastics, which biodegrade more easily instead of petroleum-based plastic. And third, we need to figure out what to do with all of the plastic we’ve already created!
This is where recycled dog collars come in. Will we save the planet by giving all of our dogs recycled plastic dog collars? Probably not. But will we help make a dent in the plastic pollution problem? Yes.
Right now, according to the EPA, we only recycle about 9-10% of plastics. This is why I’m so bullish on recycled plastic.
But it’s important to keep in mind that even when we recycle plastic into something useful, like a dog collar, we still have to figure out what to do with the recycled dog collar when you’re done using it. How to properly re-purpose, recycle, or dispose of products when we’re done with them is a topic I intend to dive into further on UnGuide.
Because plastic is such a long-lasting material, it tends to create durable products even when it’s recycled. The recycled plastic dog collars here are tough enough to stand up to years of use, including lots of rolls in the grass, ocean swims, and buddy-dog tugging.
Here are some great brands that make recycled dog collars:
Dutch Dog Amsterdam creates eco-friendly dog collars our of recycled PET plastic. The colorful, vibrant designs pay tribute to famous works of art by Van Gogh, Monet, and others. Every style has a matching leash. And they’re machine washable.
Lupine was founded in 1990 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Since they started operations, they’ve donated a portion of their revenue to organizations and causes around the U.S., including their local Humane Society. Their line of eco dog collars are made with recycled plastic bottles. Lupine collars are known to be super durable.
Upcycled Dog Collars
In addition to recycled dog collars, upcycled dog collars can be a great option for your pup. But first…
What’s the difference between a recycled dog collar and an upcycled dog collar?
The difference between the “recycled dog collars” and the “upcycled dog collars” here on UniGuide is that the recycled collars are made from materials, usually PET plastic from water bottles, that go through a process whereby they are altered in a meaningful way (usually through an industrial process) before being converted into materials to make the collars.
While each product maker is unique, most of the recycled dog collars on UniGuide are made from plastic water bottles that are ground down into flakes or tiny pellets, which are then melted down and spun into a fiber that is woven to create the collars. Because it’s a manufacturing process, recycling can be energy intensive, but it’s generally agreed today that it’s environmentally beneficial to recycle plastics.
Upcycled dog collars, on the other hand, are collars that are made from previously used materials that do not undergo such an intensive transformation. Materials such as used fire hoses, fire fighter clothing, and bicycle inner tubes are simply cut down, sized, and sewn into durable dog collars. What makes upcycled products especially cool is that you can often tell what they were in their past life before they reached the next phase in their product evolution.
Sometimes on UniGuide, I apply the term “recycled” to product that are actually “upcycled.” This is because either the product maker uses the term “recycled,” or just because “recycled” is a term that’s used a lot more than “upcycled.”
Here are brands that make super cool upcycled dog collars:
Cycle Dog makes eco-friendly and vegan dog collars with upcycled tired inner tubes. All of their collars are handmade in Portland, Oregon, USA. Their collars come in a wide variety of fun patterns and colors. Used tires are durable enough to stand up to doggy rough housing, swims, and rolling in the grass. And these collars have a bonus feature: The hardware can double up as a bottle opener.
Rekindled Pride re-purposes old fire hoses firefighter turnout gear and creates these heroic dog collars. According to Rekindled Pride, the materials used in their dog collars have been “worn through all types of emergencies and have witnessed lives changed and lives saved.”
Each purchase of one of their unique dog collars generates funds for charitable causes in local communities. All are handmade in the USA.
Flyvines creates colorful dog collars and leashes out of upcycled fly lines. They’re super durable and easy to clean, so perfect for dogs who love to swim and play in the mud. Flylines will custom make your pup’s collar according to your specifications.
A Note on Vegan Dog Collars
All of the products you find on UniGuide are vegan, including the dog collars. While a lot of dog collars are made with leather because people think of it as durable, leather has a lot of problems. Namely, leather is not healthy for people, for animals, or our planet.
Too many animals are killed every year so their skin can be used to make clothing, shoes, and accessories – and that includes pet accessories, such as leather dog collars, leashes, and harnesses. The life of an animal that is exploited for their skin is one of unimaginable and needless suffering. That kind of suffering has no place in our modern world. In addition, the process of turning animal skin into leather – called tanning – utilizes toxic chemicals that are harmful for workers as well as the environment.
So that’s why I say, ‘Ditch the leather collar and get one that’s cruelty-free.’ Your pup deserves to walk and play animal-friendly style.