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Behind the Brand

Boba&Vespa Is On a Zero-Waste Journey That Revolves Around Your Pet

Inspired by two very happy cats, this brand aims to turn your pet into an eco-conscious consumer.

by Maia Welbel
January 3, 2023
A white Persian cat with blue eyes looking up at a Boba & Vespa cat toy frozen mid-motion on top of her nose with a solid black background
Courtesy of Boba & Vespa

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

Our pets are the greatest joys of our lives, especially after we spend any kind of time with our extended human families. But, like your great aunt who still doesn’t recycle, they aren’t exactly always the most eco-conscious. From cleaning up after them, to grooming them to keeping them entertained, the solutions that are most readily accessible typically involve plastic and other materials that ultimately end up in a landfill.

Fortunately, the number of brands committed to changing that is growing. And many of them were founded by pet parents with the very same concerns. Boba&Vespa is one such company on a mission to support happy pets, happy pet parents, and a happy planet. They create mindful products for cats and dogs that are responsibly sourced, manufactured, and packaged — including toys, shampoos, and even a design-y plastic-free cat house.

dog toys on plain background
Courtesy of Boba & Vespa

Founders Mariya Newman and ​​Chia Wu (whose two cats are the brand’s namesake) wanted to create a brand that indulged their pets’ desires without causing environmental harm. “Boba and Vespa are like children to me,” Wu says. “I spoil them and do everything possible to keep them safe. It makes me so happy to know that I am creating a space for all pet parents to shop in a way that they know is safe for their pets and the planet.”

The quality and sourcing of materials used in Boba&Vespa products is what really sets them apart in the pet care industry. The brand’s promise reads: “We will go to great lengths to ensure that the materials we choose and the methods of production we use are sustainable. Materials currently being used and planned for the future include cardboard, jute, hemp, wood, bamboo, cotton, and more.”

cat playing with beige toy
Courtesy of Boba & Vespa

The last few decades have spawned a plastic crisis — hundreds of millions of tons of it are produced globally every year, and estimates show at least 90 percent of plastic is never recycled. About eight million tons of plastic waste runs into the ocean annually, killing millions of birds, fish, and other marine organisms. And new research shows the infiltration of plastics in soils where our food is grown may be just as big of a concern. So, any opportunity to choose a greener material is a win for planet earth.

We’re big fans of Boba&Vespa’s Hemp Dog Bone toy, which is not only plastic-free, but made with super durable hemp cotton canvas, organic cotton filling, and heavy duty cotton thread. The brand takes an ardent stance against dog toys with plastic squeakers, which can be extremely dangerous to dogs if accidentally swallowed.

pet toys on plain background
Courtesy of Boba & Vespa

Considering the way our pups like to wreak havoc on their chew toys, it’s easy to see why earth friendly materials are also safer for animals’ health. With Boba&Vespa’s dog bone and rope toys, you don’t have to worry about your dog ingesting toxic dyes or swallowing bits of plastic. And since their cotton is 100 percent organically grown, no pesticide or herbicide residues will be going into pet’s mouths.

Another material innovation we love? Home-compostable poop bags! Most bioplastics require an industrial composting facility in order to actually break down. But Boba&Vespa’s bags are made with maize flour and vegetable oil, which means they will disintegrate readily in your own backyard compost system. Just be sure not to throw them in the trash, because like all compostable materials, these bags will not decompose under landfill conditions.

cat in unique cat house
Courtesy of Boba & Vespa

Boba&Vespa has got great stuff for cat parents too. Their signature “Water Gem” cat home is a chic and modern hideaway that cats and their humans love. Made with sustainably sourced wood cardboard and zero dyes or glues, kitties can feel safe and cozy in the Water Gem at rest and at play. The cradled base, elevated entryway, and built-in headrests were specially designed to appeal to feline instincts and ease jumpy cats’ anxiety. Corrugated cardboard allows for air flow and temperature regulation, and the natural wood smell is said to be extra comforting for our furry friends.

The Boba&Vespa Pyramid Cat Toy set might just look like hemp-colored triangles to us, but cats go gaga for them. “These have seriously been the only toys that get [my cat Myshka] so active and excited,” one happy customer writes in an Instagram caption. “I kid you not, like, nothing has appealed to him the way these have.” Like the dog toys, these plushies are are plastic-free down to the last thread. Their insides also contain buckwheat hulls and organically grown catnip, which create a fun crinkly texture and an irresistible aroma.

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author Maia Welbel

Maia Welbel

Maia is a freelance writer focused on using storytelling to help people treat our planet with more compassion. She lives in Chicago with her perfect pets, Maxx the dog and Rubie the cat. Find her on maiawelbel.com and @mwelbel.