WHAT IS BIOTHANE MADE OF?First things first – “BioThane® is the brand name of all coated webbing products made by BioThank Coated Webbing Corp.” While there is no clear explanation on the website as to why “Bio” is in the name, it can be a little misleading to customers because “bio” is often used to describe eco-friendly products. However, BioThane is a polyester webbing (PET plastic) with a TPU or PVC coating (also types of plastic). That means that the material is simply plastic coated with plastic. These synthetic materials derived from oil are what make the final product waterproof, easy to clean and so durable.
IS BIOTHANE ECO-FRIENDLY?The eco-freindly-ness of a product depends greatly on how much it is used and reused before the end of its life. Importantly, a key factor in a product’s impact on the environment is the amount of resources it takes to produce the thing in the first place.
So, since BioThane leashes and collars are made of plastic and are highly durable, it is unlikely that a single leash or collar would ever have to be replaced in a dog’s lifetime. However, there is a significant impact of using non-renewable natural resources (oil) to create the plastic material (PET, TPU, PVC) that cannot be recycled and won’t break down for hundreds of years if at all.
SHOULD I BUY A BIOTHANE DOG LEASH?Well, that totally depends as everyone and every dog has different needs! There are so many reasons as to why BioThane might be the right choice for you. There is no denying its ability to stay clean, not get caught on bushes and sticks, and not get bogged down in rivers and mud. With all of the colours available, it also super fun to wear and style.
Focusing strictly on the impact on the environment however, there are definitely other options that are certainly less damaging.
Here at Nifty Dogs, we own two BioThane leashes for our own dogs. Before buying, however, we made sure about what we were buying and are committed to using them until the end of time and simply challenge other dogs and their owners to do the same.
BioThane Alternatives: What Else is Out There
BIOTHANE VS. LEATHER FOR LEASHES AND COLLARSFrom a practical standpoint, BioThane is certainly easier to clean and stronger. Because of the synthetic material, it comes in a rainbow of colours. On the other hand, leather has a much softer feel, is lighter to hold, and tends to get even better over time.
From an environmental standpoint, the Nifty Dogs vote goes to leather. Even though leather is an animal product, most of the leather used in commercial products is a byproduct of the meat industry anyway. A carefully and responsibly sourced leather is a natural material that will decompose over time and not contribute to the industry of creating new plastics.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY DOG LEASHES AND COLLARSIf you are looking for dog gear that is a little kinder to the earth while still being practical and awesome, luckily there are lots of options! Here’s how to apply the reduce, reuse, recycle model to dog leashes and collars:
Reduce and ReuseDo you already have a leash or collar? If you already have a dog, the answer is likely yes. Before going out to buy the newest product or style, we always challenge ourselves to ask why we need something new at all. If there are really specific features or situations that require new equipment – go for it! But if you find yourself browsing for the sake of browsing, save yourself some cash and the earth some grief and skip it. Check through this list first before buying yourself something new:
- Do I need a new one, and why?
- Can I safely repair or repurpose my old one?
- Is there someone I know who might have an extra or an old one that they don’t need?
- What will I do with my old leash or collar afterwards?
- If I am going to buy a new one, can I shop/support a small business?
- Does that business align with my own values and needs?
Recycle and RepurposeThere are loads of leashes and collars that are made from repurposed or recycled materials that offer the same durability and ease of maintenance as BioThane. The upside here is that no NEW synthetic materials are being created. Instead, we are working with what we already have! Here are some companies in Canada and the United States that are make really great recycled leashes and collars:
Recycleash - Ottawa, ON (CAN)
Old climbing rope is turned into beautiful, easy to hold and fun to use dog leashes.
Repurpaws - Colorado (US)
Kayla also repurposes used climbing rope to create beautiful and practical leashes.
Past Into New - Wainfleet, ON (CAN)
Recycled firehose and firefighting material are turned into highly durable and easy to clean dog collars and leashes.
Little Pine - Whistler, BC (CAN)
Upcycled climbing rope and outdoor gear is turned into leashes, collars and more.