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Recycling pet food packaging made paw-sible by new initiative

  • The UK’s leading pet care business paves the way in recycling flexible plastic pet food packaging

  • More than a quarter of pet owners are confused over what pet food packaging they can or can’t recycle

  • 14% would like to see their local pet shop offer a recycling point for pet food packaging


In an industry first, nationwide pet care business Pets at Home is leading the way by introducing a store take-back scheme through dedicated recycling points for flexible pet food packaging. The new initiative, which is being supported by pet food producers Mars and Purina PetCare, is being trialed across 40 stores and three Vets4Pets practices across the country and aims to combat flexible packaging waste in the sector, tackling the pet food packaging made of these materials.

New research* from environmental charity Hubbub, which has partnered with Pets at Home to run the trial, reveals that more than a quarter (26%) of pet owners say they are confused over what pet food packaging can or can’t be recycled and 14% would like to see their local pet shop offer a recycling point for pet food packaging.

Flexible plastic packaging (plastic that can be bent, squeezed or scrunched) offers pet owners multiple benefits including a longer shelf life, portion control, and convenience. However, it is tricky to recycle meaning most councils and local recycling points are currently unable to offer flexible plastic recycling.

Through working with specialist recycler Enval, which has the ability to recycle and recover flexible plastic, the trial means pet food pouches go through a specially designed process to turn the packaging back into materials ready for reuse. Following the trial, the initiative will be rolled out wider across the country with the aim of having recycling points in the majority of Pets at Home stores by the end of next year.

Louise Stonier, Chief People and Culture Officer at Pets at Home, said: "We are really excited to be able to offer this service as we know it is important to make it convenient for our customers to return their used packaging when they come to our pet care centres. This is all part of "Our Better World Pledge" to create a better world for pets and the people who love them."

Jack Hodgkiss, Creative Partner at Hubbub, said: “This trial marks a significant stepping stone towards tackling the issues associated with plastic packaging. Around 44% of UK households have pets1 and most of them don’t have access to flexible plastic recycling through their local council. We are thrilled to be partnering with Pets at Home to make flexible plastic recycling possible for many of the UK’s pet owners.”

Alison Bramfitt, Group Packaging Manager for Purina, said: “Purina’s vision is that none of our packaging ends up in landfill or as litter, we are committed to working towards a waste free future. Currently in the UK only 16%** of councils collect flexible plastic. Collaborating with Pets at Home and Mars allows us to provide our consumers with further recycling options and increases the total amount of flexible plastic that is currently collected and recycled. We also continue to work on innovative solutions that will make our packaging easier to recycle.”

Kim Smet, Interim General Manager for Mars Pet Nutrition UK, said: “We’re delighted to be a partner in this initiative. Supporting the collection and recycling of flexible plastic packaging is an important step in realising our ambition of creating a circular economy where packaging never becomes waste, and ultimately of creating a better world for pets.”

Pets at Home is appealing for pet owners local to the 40 participating Pets at Home stores and three Vets4Pets practices, to bring in their rinsed flexible plastic pet food packaging to be recycled. All pet food brands are accepted. For more information, visit: https://pearl.csiltd.co.uk/shop/en/pets/recycle#

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