Fill Beds. Not Land.
The Restcycle™ Dog Bed has become a popular spot for our tuckered-out furry pals to settle in and find rest after a big day on the trail. Cue the deep, steady snore, and it won’t be long before paws twitch and eyelids flutter as visions of the next dirt path, the next pine cone, the next excursion weave through their dreams.
It truly is a sight that warms the heart, but knowing the sustainability story behind the Restcycle is even more reason to smile.
The product designers at Ruffwear had the Restcycle Bed on their mind for quite some time, inspired by the pursuit to do more with less, get creative with available resources, and minimize our impact on the environment. And since there’s no shortage of landfill-bound scrap material in the outdoor industry, it would be a win-win to discover a way to repurpose those quality leftover materials in a comfortable, long-lasting bed.
Finding the Fill
Early iterations explored using materials like scrap fleece and fabric, or even rice husk for filling, but then designers came across a mountain of trash bags filled with closed-cell foam pellets at a supplier factory. They’re the byproduct of punching holes out of backpack straps for breathability purposes, and they ultimately end up in the trash.
The material could be repurposed as it was without the need to process it. It’s a foam that won’t absorb water or odors and won’t break down or pack out, which got the designers thinking: these are just the kinds of things you want in a dog bed and not a landfill.
The initial attempt to develop this product back in 2012 was met with some resistance from foam suppliers because, as Ruffwear product designer, Liz Zarro, says, “It’s a weird request to ask for someone’s trash.” But after partnering with a new supplier and working out the logistics, the plan to build a bed entirely out of recycled and repurposed materials moved forward.
Foam Follows Function
A key factor for designers was ensuring the Restcycle Foam’s functional performance was just as strong as its sustainable sourcing. They found that filling the baffles with a graduated amount of pellets lets dogs dig, nest and shape the bed (think “beanbag chair,” but firm and supportive). And the ability to re-distribute the filling by giving it a quick shake meant no more worn out dead spots – the all-too-familiar culprit in short-lived dog beds that land in landfills.
Observing office dogs and feedback from wear-testers helped designers fine-tune features like the amount of fill, the cover materials, and the pillow topper. Signature Ruffwear details were added with the integrated handle for easy transport, the non-slip waterproof bottom, and the ability to easily remove and clean the cover.
Ruffwear believes in being mindful of how design decisions affect the environment. Building products that minimize (or in this case, repurpose) waste and last longer ultimately aids in protecting the wild places we explore with our faithful dogs by our side.
The Restcycle has quickly become a good spot for canines to catch a few Z’s between excursions. We hope the Restcycle helps you rest easy as well, knowing you’ve made an eco-conscious choice.