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Eco-conscious practices that Safe4mycat monitors include the mining process as well as the cat litter manufacturing, shipping methods and general business practices.
There is talk in the cat litter industry about strip mining and its effects on the environment. In reality, this process is now highly regulated in order to ensure that any land that is mined is subsequently restored to its natural state or better. Various levels of government inspections are done several times per year to ensure standards are met or exceeded. Mining companies now invest significant sums of money to ensure they are doing their part for the environment.
Here is a brief overview of the steps in order to help you understand what we call the eco-conscious mining process. Once a mining site has been authorized, the topsoil is taken off and reserved. The next layer of earth, called the overburden, is then removed and put aside. This allows the clay to be easily harvested after which both the overburden and the topsoil are replaced. Lastly, the land is re-seeded with lush, native pasture grasses or other native plant life. After the reseeding is completed, the land is ready for various recreational, farming or ranching purposes.
Very often the clay layer over dries the soil (due to its tremendous capacity to absorb water) limiting the growth of plant life. The removal of the clay can therefore help make the post-mined land more fertile.
In addition, mining companies associated with Safe4mycat go to extra lengths to reduce their carbon footprint throughout the mining and manufacturing process. Examples include; ensuring optimal sourcing from the smallest land area, using rail shipping (shipping by rail is the most energy-efficient means of transporting freight over land, it is up to six times more fuel efficient than shipping by truck*) to minimize energy consumption and emissions around the process, increasing employee awareness of environmental impact and ensuring the highest standards of quality and safety.
The Wyoming sodium bentonite used in Safe4mycat litters is the top quality sodium bentonite clay in the world. This particular clay has higher levels of absorbency and therefore you need less litter (between 30 and 50% less) in order to do the same job as other clay litters. This means less trips to the store for you and reduced waste for the environment.
Manufacturing companies associated with Safe4mycat make recycling a top priority. Examples of efforts made to reuse and recycle include; the use of recycled and recyclable paper and plastics in packaging material, the use of recycled material for marketing promotions and office supplies.
No litter is ever wasted! Programs are in place to reuse or donate any clay litter that cannot be sold through the normal retail channels!
Every effort is made to reduce the environmental impact of the transportation of the raw materials and finished products. Throughout the transportation network, trains or vessels are used wherever possible in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the manufacturers. Shipping by rail is the most energy-efficient means of transporting freight over land, it is up to six times more fuel efficient than shipping by truck*.
Companies using the Safe4mycat seal are committed to following equitable hiring and labour management practices.
These companies are also committed to contributing time and money to making a difference in the local communities where they manufacture their cat litter.
Source: * (1) World Resource Institute (WRI), CO2 emissions from transport or mobile sources calculation tool, http://www.ghgprotocol.org/calculation-tools/all-tools, accessed October 2008. (2) National Technical University of Athens Laboratory for Maritime Transport, Ship Emissions Study (May 2008), http://www.martrans.org/documents/2008/sft/final%20report%20v10.2.pdf. (3) Transport and Environment Database System (TRENDS): Maritime air pollutant emission modelling. Atmospheric Environment 39 (2005) 2357–2365, by Georgakaki, Aliki et al.