More than 300 million pounds of flexible plastic packaging is created in North America by the companion pet industry each year, impacting around 67 percent of households that own pets across the US. Unfortunately, 99 percent of multi-laminate packaging used for most pet food and treats currently used in North America does not have a sustainable end-of-life solution. While other industries like food and beverage are advancing quickly toward scalable sustainable solutions, the pet industry has faced challenges.
On Aug. 23 in Las Vegas, five leading pet food brands will step outside of the competitive business mindset to change the future of packaging for the better. Leaders from Canidae, Earth Animal, Instinct, Petcurean and Primal Pet Foods will publicly sign-on to the Pet Sustainability Coalition’s Packaging Pledge, a new program that helps companies meet voluntary, public and time-bound sustainable packaging commitments. The PSC Packaging Pledge is in direct alignment with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, thereby increasing participation from the pet industry to move toward recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by the year 2025.
The PSC Packaging Pledge builds from the momentum of additional sustainable packaging successes led by the Pet Sustainability Coalition, including Flex Forward, a return-to-retail pilot program that collected more than 8,000 pounds of post-consumer packaging for recycling trials and was completed in 2022. Testing trials in Flex Forward resulted in a better understanding of the challenges presented by the current composition of most pet food packaging. These challenges include non-standard design practices, a wide variation of packaging types and forms of plastics used, various multi-material closures and windows, metallic layers, wide color assortments and more.
While packaging ranks among the top three most important sustainability issues facing the pet industry, the majority of pet companies rely on part-time staff, inadequate tools, resources and support to advance their packaging toward more sustainable outcomes. Starting in 2018, the Pet Sustainability Coalition became the first organization to unify the industry toward defined solutions including increasing the use of recyclable mono-material packaging, recommending the use of clear consumer labeling, testing end-of-life possibilities and retail collections. Today, the PSC Packaging Pledge will provide a long-term pathway to sustainable packaging including tools, a marketplace and technical support for brands to feasibly meet this public commitment. Recent feasibility studies suggest that with collaborative effort from pet food manufacturers and currently existing technologies to move toward recyclable, refillable and compostable packaging – the pet industry can achieve rapid adoption by 2025 and near 80 percent transition of all pet food multi-laminate packaging by 2030.
The PSC Packaging Pledge has been constructed in consultation with a large number of industry experts, including the U.S. Plastics Pact, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Closed Loop Partners, The Recycling Partnership, World Wildlife Fund (W.W.F.), The Association of Plastic Recyclers (A.P.R.) and more. The groundbreaking program is made possible through generous donations by Earth Animal, Tyler Packaging and Thanh Phu Plastic Packaging Co.
To learn more about the PSC Packaging Pledge and watch history in the making, join the Pet Sustainability Coalition for a public signing and informational event at the Earth Animal booth #3839.