13 Ecology Ablazingly

Eco-friendly Dog Company Leading the Pack

ecofriendly dog company

Although many companies are striving to become green, Lanette Fidrych, Founder and President of Cycle Dog is truly leading the pack when it comes operating an eco-friendly business. In a recent interview, Lanette shared some of the unique products her company produces, and discussed how a love for riding bikes lead her to start a company that is leading the way in re-purposed manufacturing.

Your website tells the story of how Cycle Dog grew from a passion to stop bicycle tires from going to landfills and to have eco-friendly products for dog owners. What has been one of the biggest struggles in being a “green” company?

Cycle Dog has been a “green company” since day one; it is the reason we started the company. Thus, we have not had the struggles other companies have when they decide to start being more green, such as how to start to incorporate green thinking into processes and product development.

I think one of the biggest issues is that green and eco have become such marketing terms. Companies are calling anything they can eco-friendly and it is confusing to the consumer. How does the consumer make their way through all the green washing? The consumer really needs to do their research to learn what each company is doing to be better for the environment.

How did your business get started and what vision do you have for the company over the next five years?

I am an avid cyclist and have been bike commuting to work for about ten years. When you bike a lot, you get a lot of flat tubes! I was saving the old tubes in a box in the basement, because it is extremely hard to recycle old tubes; you can’t just put them in the recycle bin and throwing them away means thousands of years in the landfill. About five years ago, my husband was cleaning up and gave me an ultimatum: “Do something with all these tubes or get them out of here!” Regan, our yellow lab, was a big part of our life. So I had the idea to make leashes out of the tubes. Well, the first ones weren’t so hot. They stretched and eventually exploded, leaving Regan and my husband standing around, looking for what happened. I worked on the design and improved them quickly. Soon my friends wanted them. I set up a booth at the Portland Saturday Marketplace and they were a hit. We just kept getting busier and I quickly decided I needed to leave my job at Nike and pursue this dream.

We have grown from offering collars and leads to toys, travel bowls and pickup bags. All our hand sewn products are made in our facility in Portland Oregon from reclaimed bike inner tubes. Our vision is to offer great solutions for earth minded dog owners and their pets. It will probably lead us to areas we haven’t yet thought of today.

Your pup-top bottle opener seems to be one of your more unique products. What is the story behind it?

We are active people and are always hiking or biking with our dogs. How many times have you needed a bottle opener and there wasn’t one around? Well, with the Pup Top, that problem is solved. And it is a lot of fun calling your dog over to open your beverage! My husband Paul conceived and designed the Pup Top. We went through many rounds of testing to get it right and have multiple patents pending.

What kind of materials are used for the cloth overlays on your dog collars and leads? Who designs the colorful patterns?

The cloth materials are a thin polyester. The majority of webbing collars use nylon. Nylon is very mold friendly and that is why these collar types get very stinky. Polyester is mold adverse and dries very quickly, which makes a great overlay for our No Stink collars.

The patterns are designed by my husband Paul, as well as local students from the Portland Art Institute.

About how many bike related events do Cycle Dog staff members attend per year? What is one of the most unique events Cycle Dog has seen thus far?

Cycle Dog is a proud sponsor of the NW Cup mountain bike series. We attend these events 4-5 times a year. We also do many local events in the Portland area. At these events, we usually have a tube collection point for riders to recycle their old tubes. Many bike riders and clubs also send their tubes to us from around the country.

Do you allow dogs to come to work with their owners at your facility in Oregon?

Absolutely! We have 3-5 dogs at work at all times. In fact, one of our biggest problems is Regan (our yellow lab) stealing a 3-Play Turtle Toy out of a shipping box. We will be doing our final counts, and there is Regan with a 3-Play Turtle in her mouth, wanting to play!