Like an unwelcome guest, packaging can hang around long after the party’s over and the food is eaten. Even worse than a loitering neighbour, packaging can have a devastating effect on wildlife. Scientists estimate that a flabbergasting 8 million tons of the stuff end up in our beautiful oceans each year!
Thanks to legends like Sir David Attenborough, we’re all more woke. This has seen protests and commitments by businesses and governments across the board. For example as a result of campaigning by Friends of the Earth, a new EU law has been introduced which will ban certain plastic products in every EU country by mid 2021. For this week’s blog, we thought we’d talk you through our pet food packaging and our efforts to tread more lightly on the planet.
Our natural cat and dog treats packaging
Our latest addition to the family is our lowest carbon footprint yet. Like all our goodies we make them in the UK with British or Irish meat. They’re baked in eco ovens powered by woody biomass and then packed lovingly by hand into plastic free, compostable paper bags. True, the packaging might look a little crumpled, but as the saying goes beauty lies within. It’s all part of the beauty of eco packaging and we love it. P.S. they’re also going down a treat with cats and dogs!
To keep those pearly whites white, we have dental treats for cats and dogs; our daily dog dental chews and new cat dental treats designed to freshen breath and attack plaque whilst being gentle on tummies.
We also have calming dog treats; Scrumbles turkey Nibbles a perfect healthy dog treats for any occasion. Smudge has a couple before bed – the calming ingredients chamomile and lemon balm are perfect for getting ready for bedtime.
And for our kitties, anti-hairball treats made with air dried chicken and Slippery Elm.
Our dry dog and cat food packaging
We serve cats and dogs and that means designing our recipes to deliver against taste AND health.
Our complete dry dog food and dry cat food products are high in meat – up to 77%. A lot of meat requires a strong moisture barrier which means compostable paper based options aren’t suitable.
We’ve explored existing options for compostable packaging but the moisture barrier limitations can turn the meat rancid. Additionally as the packaging degrades over time it can cause other issues impacting on product quality. For example we’ve spotted ink leakage/seepage on other products in the market.
We’ve therefore opted for a mono PE bag which is fully recyclable, provides the perfect barrier and keeps the food fresh. Recycle with your plastic bags at supermarkets to avoid contributing to landfill.
Our wet dog food packaging
Like the packaging of our treats, the sleeve of our wet food is fully recyclable. We use responsible FSC certified paper, helping keep forests alive for future generations. Just pop it in with your normal paper for recycling. The tray itself is made from PP5 – as it’s white rather than black this allows it to be recyclable. Did you know black trays can’t be detected by recycling sorters? That’s why our trays are white. Whilst PP5 is accepted by most councils for curbside recycling, it’s always best to check with your local council.
Why don’t we use tins?
When we consider our impact, we look at the full supply chain – packaging plays just one part. That’s why we make everything in the UK and Ireland to reduce food miles and minimise our carbon footprint and where possible source our ingredients locally.
So why don’t we use tins and avoid plastic fully for our trays? Yes tins are more readily recyclable BUT there are two issues which make them less eco friendly than trays. Firstly due to the size and shape, significantly fewer can’s fit in vehicles than trays so you can transport a lot more trays than tins. More efficient logistics = fewer travels = better for the planet! ? Secondly, one of our biggest bug bears is that the machinery required to make small cat and dog tins, trays and pouches isn’t available in the UK. So most of those tins you’re buying for your kitty or single trays/pouches for your pooch travels hundreds if not thousands of miles across the globe from Eastern Europe or sadly a huge volume come as far as Thailand.
A broader view of the supply chain
With the tin example in mind, it’s important not to consider packaging in isolation but to view the overall supply chain. Working closely with the University of Bath we’ve conducted a life cycle assessment to determine which areas of the chain hold the biggest impact. That’s how we understood that food miles has a greater impact than packaging. The allows us to make informed decisions to minimise our environmental impact and we’re hoping to challenge some much needed conversations in the industry.
The future of packaging
We’ve recently heard that in 10 years, sugar beet and potato starch will be used for packaging. We can’t wait to hear about more exciting sustainability discoveries and want to make sure we’re always acting as ambassadors within our industry.
We’re always on the lookout for ways to be innovative and sustainable. Have you come across anything exciting that you think we should consider? Let us know in the comments or pop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, for ideas about how you can do your bit and be a conscious consumer, check out our earth day tips.