Reducing our environmental impact is a major part of achieving our mission to change the world of pet food for good. From the energy we use, to our waste, our packaging, our supply chain and our ingredients, there’s work to be done and, for us, it’s about having a holistic, long term, approach.
85% of our packaging is currently recyclable when measured by weight. The main exception is your dog’s kibble bag. This bag does a big job, and it goes to every one of our customers; by making it recyclable we can have a significant positive impact. It hasn’t been the easiest challenge though, and I wanted to share our approach to getting the best packaging solution to meet the needs of our customers, their dogs and the planet.
The big bag challenge
It’s just a bag, right? Wrong – it has to keep your dog’s food fresh – plus you need to open and reseal it every day, it also needs to be strong enough to carry 10kg (that’s the same as a Westie!) and it has to travel well.
A material balance
We’ve looked at a number of different options to get us to the right material and had a lot to consider. Every material has a different effect on our carbon footprint and we’ve been looking at the whole supply chain of each material we consider. We also want to make recycling it – when our customers are done with it – as easy as possible.
For example, one of the key choices to weigh up was the impact of plastic .v. paper. When you’re dealing with food that contains fat – be it human or pet – paper must have an ‘interlining’ to deliver the contents fresh and intact. This interlining is bonded to the paper and, therefore it needs special technology to split it apart making it difficult to recycle. You can’t, for instance, put bonded paper in your average curbside or supermarket recycling point.
So where are we now?
We’ve been busy with new pilot trials – and testing new, recyclable packaging options. We test:
- Food quality with our nutrition and quality teams – to ensure the food is kept fresh in transit and in your homes
- Bag strength – so your dog’s food arrives in perfect condition
- Customer experience – what do you think?
Then we share all our results with our supplier so we can target any improvements.
Ease of recycling and the overall impact played a major part in our final selection of a single material substrate. This is a plastic, non-bonded material, which is easily recyclable and is now in testing with our customers.
The great news is that we successfully completed our third trial in November last year and saw some strong results in our test bag’s durability (you may have even received one – 1000s of our customers did!).
By the Spring we’ll go even bigger with our largest number of customers yet receiving a trial bag as we work to make it available to all.
It’s not a quick fix, but we are making rapid progress on getting our fully recyclable bag live for all our customers. More of this, later. Thanks for reading!