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More than 300 million pounds of flexible plastic packaging is created in North America by the companion pet industry each year, impacting around 66% of households that own pets across the United States. 99% 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 August 23 in Las Vegas at the Superzoo trade show, 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 commitments that will improve the sustainability of their packaging. 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 other sustainable packaging successes led by the Pet Sustainability Coalition including Flex Forward, the return-to-retail pilot program that collected over 8,000 lbs of post-consumer packaging for recycling trials, completed in 2022. Testing trials resulted in a better understanding of the challenges presented by the current composition of most pet food packaging including the wide variation of packaging types, various multi-material closures, food grade barriers, metallic layers, and wide color assortments. 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 packaging, recommending the use of clear consumer labeling, testing end-of-life possibilities and retail collections, and now 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 their public commitment. 

Background:

The current composition of pet food packaging presents a myriad of obstacles to achieve circularity including the wide variation of packaging types, various multi-material closures, food grade barriers, metallic layers, and wide color assortments. 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. Companies often turn to existing packaging suppliers for education, and suppliers currently recommend a variety of solutions that are biased toward their abilities and solutions. 

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. Now 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. 

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 PSC Packaging Pledge provides a unique opportunity for the pet industry to unite around a sustainability topic, drive substantial change, and wouldn’t be possible without the programs founding donors, Earth Animal, Tyler Packaging, and Thanh Phu Plastic Packaging Co. 

Is Success Feasible? 

A recent feasibility study commissioned by PSC suggests that the pet food industry which predominantly uses multi-laminate flexible plastic packaging could expect rapid adoption using existing packaging technologies between 2023 and 2025 with almost 80% of multi-laminate packaging transitioning to recycle-ready by 2030. With additional advancements in compostable packaging and refillable solutions, the majority of pet food packaging can make sustainability advancements starting today. 

The Pet Sustainability Coalition is proud to launch the PSC Packaging Pledge at SuperZoo 2022. This program works directly with pet companies to make and help them meet voluntary, public, and time-bound commitments that would improve the sustainability of their packaging. 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. 

What the industry is saying:

“The pet industry produces 300 million pounds of food and treats packaging that ends up in landfills each year, just in the US. The PSC Plastics Pledge represents a powerful opportunity for us all to collaborate in significantly reducing the industry’s impact on the environment. We are proud to sponsor and participate in this initiative and help drive more sustainable and successful business in our industry.” – Stephie Volo, Chief Marketing Officer, Earth Animal

“Tyler Packaging is incredibly proud to be a part of the PSC Packaging Pledge, it represents the need for change in our industry, and to be part of this movement is truly inspiring. We look forward to continuing to support brands in this transition to recyclable and compostable packaging”. – Adam Kay, Sales and Technical Director, Tyler Packaging 

Becoming a founding member of the Pet Sustainability Packaging Pledge continues our commitment towards a circular economy focusing on sustainable practices and resource efficiency, for a better future. Because it matters”. – Alex Dam, Executive Vice President, Thanh Phu Plastic Packaging Co.

Signatory Benefits:

In exchange for this commitment, PSC is developing exclusive signatory tools including: 

  • A vetted marketplace housing pre-qualified packaging suppliers that meet Ellen MacArthur requirements.
  • Marketing assets including signatory badges, social media and exclusive promotion opportunities.
  • Tools including packaging life cycle analysis, the Recycling Partnership’s Plastic IQ, How2Recycle labeling support, and packaging design guidelines.
  • Ongoing and consistent legislative updates and education.
  • Business case data set designed to pitch to company decision makers.
  • Peer working groups to share successes and challenges for accelerated progress.

How to Sign the PSC Packaging Pledge

The PSC Packaging Pledge is open to any company in the pet industry and asks companies to make measurable progress towards refillable, compostable, and/or recyclable packaging solutions by the end of 2025. All pet companies are encouraged to fill out this form to learn more and get started.

About the Pet Sustainability Coalition

The Pet Sustainability Coalition advances business through profitable environmental and social business practices. Founded in 2013 by eight companies, PSC now serves more than 200 member companies across the pet industry, helping them to progress on their sustainability practices, set and strive for ambitious goals, and report on their achievements. Additionally the PSC leads retailers, distributors, brands and suppliers in pursuing collaborative solutions to some of the largest industry-wide issues, such as sustainable packaging and protein sourcing. Connect with us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

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