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Time to take responsibility

As a cat and dog lover I have noticed a change in the way soft cat food is packaged. It has gone from being presented in aluminium cans to plastic sachets. Have we lost our minds, are we not supposed to be working together to save our environment?

   

What on earth is going on when manufacturers are moving from RECYCLABLE aluminium cans to NON-BIODEGRADABLE plastic sachets. Time to do some research... The excerpt below focuses on sustainability in pet food industry and is compiled by Pet Food Industry.

If packaging waste really equates to profit waste, how are pet food manufacturers reducing, recycling and reusing for the benefit of the company and consumers alike?

By now, sustainability should be somewhere near the top of your list of important priorities for your pet food brand. Not only do consumers look for "green" aspects of products on the shelf like ingredient sourcing, environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes and recycled packaging materials, but a sustainable plan for your company means savings for you. Though some "greening" campaigns may be nothing more than a trend in an adapting market, sustainable packaging isn't going anywhere but everywhere, and fast.

What is sustainable packaging, and which companies are making the most strides in meeting consumer demands for it? According to Paul Kearns, director of sustainability for Exopack, a truly sustainable pet food package must focus on what Walmart calls the 7 R's. He defines these as follows:

  1. Remove means to take something away from the packaging, such as removing a box from a bag in box format.
  2. Reduce means to reduce the amount of material required for the packaging, either by size or gauge.
  3. Reuse is implying reuse in the same packaging application. This one is difficult to implement for most primary packaging but a ripe opportunity for pallets and shippers.
  4. Renew(ables) means to use certified renewable sources that are, in theory, infinite. It also applies to using biodegradable materials that, in theory, can be used to regenerate renewable materials.
  5. Recycle(ables),like renewables, is a cyclic concept. Using recycled materials reduces the demand for virgin feedstocks and designing packaging for recycling provides the recycled materials for reuse.
  6. Revenue, or more simply cost, means that the change should not increase the total cost of packaging.
  7. Read is exactly what you are doing here today, learning about the concepts and the possibilities of sustainable packaging.

Now let's see what companies are doing to embrace the future of the planet with their packaging materials.

The NOR Green seal from Nordenia International AG, international film manufacturer and converter, proves that a product solution is particularly sustainable. "Only products that successfully meet the demanding requirements of the complex internal criteria catalog and simultaneously fulfill the quality standards expected by Nordenia’s customers are given this award," said the company in a press release about the program. For a pet food product to receive the Green seal, it must meet an array of packaging criteria such as:

  • The reduction of resources in the area of product raw materials as well as in the area of energy consumption;
  • The use of recycled materials;
  • The use of renewable materials and energy sources;
  • Greater efficiency in production and the utilization of material;
  • Legal compliance, in line with health standards, and safety for each individual and the community; and 
  • Proactive informing and training of the customers and suppliers.

One manufacturer to be recognised for green practices is Nestlé Purina. Purina cat food 1.6 and 3.2kg used to be marketed in a rigid container. This has been replaced by flexible packaging, possibly reducing the use of material by 71%.

The Purina One Beyond brand has been making strides for packaging sustainability. Its bags are made of over 90% renewable materials, use soy inks for the printing and bioplastics made from corn. The company hopes to have packaging made of 100% recycled materials in the near future.

 

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