Cuddly & Crafty
Zero-Waste dog toys made from recycled textiles and stuffed with production cut-offs.
In 2022, Alvar Pet decided to embark into new territory with the company's first sustainable dog toy. Alvar Pet is known for their tailored and sustainable dog nutrition and their mission to reduce the carbon paw print. I was tasked to design, prototype and lead the toy project, drawing on my experience working with waste textiles in my Wasteless Wonders project.
Illustration of a circular product life cycle, starting with waste material on top, then sustainable design, ethical production, repair and care and finally collection to close the circle.
Keeping the carbon paw print at the forefront, the goal was to be to implement a circular lifecycle, where any waste at the end of the product’s life isn’t discarded but rather recycled or upcycled. ​​​​​​​(See illustration)
This is in line with Alvar's food recipes, where nutritious sidestreams from the human food industry are used to make dog food, instead of them ending up as waste.
A production partner, who is in line with this vision was quickly found with Globe Hope, who have been working with waste textiles for decades and produce many of their products nearby in Estonia.
Design & Prototyping
Early on in the process, we decided to create two different types of toys to best serve the entertainment needs of different dog personalities: a cuddling and an activation toy.
Alvar’s Upcycled Toy Crafty evolved from a frisbee-like first version into a flexible, multi-functional toy with a freely moving rope. The toy can be cinched into a ball with a long rope handle, making it fun and easy to throw.
Early designs also featured little pockets to hide treats, but due to concerns about cleaning, they were replaced by little flaps, where treats can be hidden when the toy is closed, but easily accessed when the toy is open.
The toy is made from upcycled denim legs, used climbing rope and deadstock polyester straps. The stuffing is made with production cut scraps, making it as close to a zero-waste production process as possible.
Alvar's Upcycled Toy Cuddly was inspired by a familiar ingredient from Alvar's recipes. The carrot-shaped toy can be sewn from a single piece of fabric and the green straps are secured in place by a simple knot inside the toy, instead of sewn in.
Although the shape and design of the toy was finalized quite quickly, a suitable material for the carrot top took a couple of trials to find. In the end the toy body is made from deadstock workwear fabric, the carrot top from deadstock bag straps and stuffed with production cut-offs.