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Fetch & Follow Stories | Ben & Luna | Adios Plastic

As dogs and their owners across the country look forward to and prepare for Bring Your Dog to Work Day this Friday, we continue to share the back stories behind some of favourite business and brands inspired by dogs.

With that in mind our next story is with Ben the founder behind the newly launch Adios Plastic which offers pet owners plastic free alternatives to everyday products including compostable poo bags. We spoke to Ben about the inspiration behind the brand and how he recently welcomed new arrival Luna, the 20 week old Golden Retriever pup.
Tell us about your Luna and how she came into your life

Luna is a golden retriever, she's an adorable 20 week old puppy. Me and my wife Sadie have always wanted to get a dog, but we kept putting it off as we didn’t think we had the time or the space. After 3 years of trying for a baby, with multiple heartbreaks along the way, we made the decision to get a puppy. We had put our lives on hold for the last 3 years and thought it was time we started doing some things we had always planned for the future. Golden Retrievers make great family dogs so when we do start our family, the kids will grow up with Luna and that will be amazing to experience. 

At the current time of writing, we have had Luna for 12 weeks and it's been great. We have learnt so much and explored lots of new places. Luna loves our company and just being with us, which is an amazing feeling. She loves to dig up grass in the garden and play with other dogs. She is very social and just enjoys being around other people and dogs.

Tell us about Adios Plastic and the inspiration behind it?

I originally had the idea for Adios Plastic about 18 months to 2 years before starting it. For nearly 2 years I procrastinated on the idea and came up with all the excuses in the world not to start it. On Christmas Eve 2018 I decided to take the leap and was contacting suppliers over Christmas. The fear of not doing it and not being able to bring a great product to market overtook my fear of taking action and the risks associated with it. With a lot of help in early 2019 from friends and my wife, we came up with the concept and branding. I think a lot of people try to do everything in business themselves, and this can sometimes be their downfall. I am not the best designer in the world, or the most creative person, so I sought advice from people around me who excelled in this area.

The original idea came from my love of animals and the environment. I wanted to launch a product in the pet sector and researched a lot of different products before settling on poo bags! Once I learned the advantages of poo bags made from cornstarch, I was obsessed with the idea.   

What makes your bags so different to other eco friendly bags out there?

The term “eco friendly” has been thrown around a lot in recent years, and it's almost lost its meaning. There is no law behind what “eco friendly” has to mean. This is a problem not just in the pet industry but across many industries.

Most “eco friendly” bags on the market are greenwashing customers into making them believe they are buying something which isn't what they think it is.

Our poo bags are made 100% from plants, they contain no plastic whatsoever. They are certified compostable to breakdown in 3-6 months when composted. These are the major differences between other brands selling plastic bags and marketing them to be “eco friendly”.

Most other brands sell plastic bags which contain an EPI additive which “helps” them to breakdown. However, none of these brands explicitly include on their packaging how long this time frame is. They just claim that the additive breaks the bag down “quicker”. Well if a plastic bag takes 500 years to breakdown, then how long is quicker? 400 years? 300 years? The science behind these “oxo biodegradable” bags is not widely supported and their has been a lot of media attention on such bags recently. You can find the articles on BBC website. The second problem with these bags is that when they do eventually breakdown, they only breakdown into micro plastic which is ingested by sea life and enters our food chains and water supplies. The long term effects of humans eating and drinking microplastic is not widely known as its too early to say. Microplastic is responsible for killing over 100,000 marine animals a year.

How does your Luna fit into your general day working?

Having a puppy is something that we have had to fit into our lifestyle and we have made changes so that Luna gets maximum time with us and has a great life. I’ve always been a morning person, so getting up early with her is no issue. I take her out for her morning walk before heading into the office.

Sadie will return home from work in the afternoon to take Luna out and then spend the rest of the day with her and I'll return in the evening and take her out on her evening walk. Me and Sadie both run our own businesses, so we can be pretty flexible when needed which helps a lot. We have started planning our weekends differently, exploring different dog friendly places in Kent which is great.

When you’re not working where do you and your dog like to hang out?

We love the outdoors, we love nature and wildlife. We are so lucky where we live that we get to see many different animals on our walks. When we’re not out walking, we love to chill out in a pub garden (of a dog friendly pub of course!)

What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk and what do you carry them in?

This is still something that we are tweaking and playing around with. Luna loves puppy treats from Waggs so these are a must. We use an old backpack to carry all her treats and toys in. She loves to gnaw on a nice juicy bone, so we always make sure we have one of these. Of course we use our own doggy bags! We have a roll or two in the bag, and normally loose bags in random pockets of coats and jackets. On a recent trip to a local pub, we found out she loves a good football so we will no doubt buy her one soon to take on our trips. 

What adventures do you and your dog have planned for the rest of the year?

We’re currently planning a trip down to Cornwall with my in-laws which will be amazing! We’re planning to “Air BnB” it and stay in a nice little cottage near the sea. We recently visited family near Bournemouth, near the New Forest and Luna absolutely loved it so no doubt there will be another trip or 3 down there before the year is out.

You can check out all the Adios Plastic website here

Along with following the teams work on Instagram

 

 

Dogs In The Workplace | 5 Dog-Friendly Places Across London For Breakfast

This Friday 21stJune is Bring Your Dog To Work Day – a nationwide event that encourages business from across the UK to welcome their employees’ dogs into the workplace for charity; this year All Dogs Matter and Animals Asia. As dog owners fortunate enough to spend our work life with our pets, we’re strong advocates for dogs in the workplace. Our dogs join us daily at our East London studio, creating a sense of calm, encouraging us to pause for a re-charge and are the friendliest of ‘receptionists’, so we endorse this annual event as a great opportunity for others to experience the benefits of dogs in the workplace or to hold a morning meeting.

So, whether your dog has scored a one-day pass for this special day or is a regular four-legged fixture for your colleagues and peers, this week we share our series of dog-friendly places in London to wrap around your working day. Here are five spots across London where you and your dog can grab brews and breakfast en route to work.

North London
Wood Street Coffee

Word Street Coffee

Kick start your day with a caffeine fix at this speciality coffee roasters. A short walk away from Tottenham Marshes, they’re perfectly situated to visit after a pre-work run around for your dog. Opening at 8.30am for coffee and pastries, with their antipodean menu focussed kitchen open from 9.30am, dogs are (very) welcome and there’s plugs for laptops if you get caught short or need to do some work quickly on the way to work.

Blackhorse Workshop 1-2 Sutherland Rd Path, London E17 6BX

East London
Hackney Coffee
Hackney Coffee

100% Fetch & Follow approved, it’s a mere minute away from our studio, so you might catch us having morning meetings there. Open from 7am for early birds, the coffee is delicious, the staff make a huge fuss of dogs and the seating area is really spacious, so should you want a bit of quiet time with your coffee and canine to set you up for the day, you won’t end up sat on top of anyone. Plus, in the summer they have a beautiful outdoor garden to enjoy the early morning sun together.

 


West London
The Locals

The Locals

The Locals is a healthy-eating inspired hangout, which welcomes hounds. Open from 8am, arrange a breakfast meeting or jump start your day with the best of intentions on a menu of Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes, Locals Full Healthy, Skinny Eggs and more washed down with drinks such as Almond Matcha Lattes and cold press Fresh Juices. The space has a lovely open feel with plenty of space around the tables for your dog to patiently wait for some healthy goodness to fall off your plate.

8 Gatliff Rd, London SW1W 8DT

South
Federation Coffee
Federation Coffee

Open daily from 8am, Federation Café can be found in Brixton Village’s covered market serving brews for caffeine aficionados as well as freshly made snacks and cakes. A mix of nomadic workers on their computers, friends catching up and those watching the world go by, it's popular and not overly spacious but the staff are lovely, the coffee is great and they’re nice to dogs, so we’d probably suggest this one as a grab and go in places of the big boy coffee chains.

77-78, Brixton Village Market, Coldharbour Ln, Brixton, London SW9 8PS

Central London
Joe & The Juice
Joe and the juice

Prep and prime yourself for the day ahead at this vibrant and hip chain, offering aptly named juices such as Clear Vision, Hell of a Nerve, Stress Down and Energizer. If your more Joe than juice they have a great coffee menu too. Dogs are always welcome, and they tend to favour cool dance tunes that will help fire you and your dog up for an impressive day ahead. If you are after a quick lunch to go, pop back later for their wholemeal toasted sandwiches.

46 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 4QD

Where do you go with your dog? @Fetchandfollow or tag us on social with your recommendations, we'd love to hear about them.

#BringYourDogToWorkDay, as organised by HOWND, takes place this Friday 21 June. Whether you are individual wanting to take your dog to work or a nice employer who wants to make their employees happy, join the fun and make a difference to the welfare of dogs by donating at

Bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/join-the-fun

Luke's Dog School | Tips on reading your dogs body language

Last Sunday we headed out on our May Fetch & Follow dog walk where we were joined by dog trainer Luke Balsam from Luke's school of dog. The weather was beautiful and as a group we spent the morning exploring Hampstead Heath while Luke shared with us tips on how to spot and read the body language our dogs our showing us.

Luke has been kind enough to share some additionally tips for all of your who couldn't attend the walk, along with some links to helpful information sheets.

Dog Body Language
Remember, we must first know what our dog is like a relaxed and in a playful state so we can determine if the state they are in now is unrelaxed. When reading a dogs body language try to understand the context and look at the whole dog, the tail, ears, body position, eyes, mouth, etc.

Also, think about the breed, their natural body shape and body position and how that breed interacts and plays (it will differ depending on breed)

Useful information sheets on a dogs body language