At Pooch & Mutt our goal is to do the best for people, pets and the planet. We have been awarded Ethical Accreditation by The Ethical Companies Organisation every year for over a decade. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our business and to lessen our impact, and your pet’s impact, on the environment. We feel that it is important to do the right thing and to take into account all implications. We see quite a few brands involved in ‘Greenwashing’, making decisions that make the brand look like it’s doing the right thing, without actually doing what is best. Below shows where we are currently at, the projects that we have in progress and the reasons that we have chosen not to use certain packaging formats.
We launched our wet food in TetraPaks 3 years ago and were the first pet food company in the UK to actively promote the environmental benefits of this packaging format in spite of legal threats from the big can manufacturers. The TetraRecart format that we use has been proven to reduce CO2 emissions by over 80% Vs a can. You can read the full LCA study here. Alternatively, you can watch our video: TetraPak Cartons Vs Cans: The 5 Simple Truths.
TetraPak cartons are 100% recyclable, made from 70% renewable resources and recycled by 93% of UK local authorities
Not only are our mini-bones treats packaged in recyclable card, but the card itself is also made from recycled materials.... Including recycled TetraPaks.
The card is made from recycled card from many different sources, it isn’t currently possible to work out what % of the tubes is made from TetraPak, let alone from our TetraPaks, but this information is something we would love to be able to bring to you in the future.
Flexible films for dry food, supplements and some treats
This is the biggest area we are working on at the moment, and the hardest one to get right. Unfortunately, there is a big gap between what we would like to do and the capabilities of both packaging manufacturers and local authorities.
The majority of our current films fall under recycling code 7, which is not recycled in home-recycling in the majority of UK local authorities. This is far from ideal, but recycling is not the only factor to look at. It is very good at protecting the product, meaning less wastage and very efficient to transport, meaning less CO2 emissions in the supply chain.
Plant-based plastics. This is the area we are looking at, at the moment. We have found plant-based plastics made from sugar-cane waste. The sugar cane absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows and the waste is usually thrown away, so this is a double-positive. This product is made by Braskem and currently used in Allbirds shoes and Bulldog Cosmetics tubes. It has never been used in pet food. Our plan is to trial this at first in our supplement range, then, if successful look to adapt to our dry food range.
‘Recyclable’ plastic packaging. Some other pet food brands say ‘recyclable’ on plastic packaging. This tends to be PE/PE monostructure packaging. Whilst technically-speaking this is recyclable there will be a note on the back explaining that it is not recyclable in-home recycling, and needs to be taken to a supermarket to be recycled in their carrier bag recycling programme. We have not taken this route, as we think there is a potential problem with these bags contaminating home-recycling and very few people actually take them to the supermarket (many of which don’t actually have carrier bag recycling programmes). There is a small chance that local authorities will move to recycling this type of monostructure packaging and if they do it is something we will look at again, but that feels like it’s a long way off at the moment. The local authorities are already struggling to recycle the materials that they say they can.
Biodegradable packaging. ‘Biodegradable’ is a claim that we see on some packaging. This is rife with problems; Mostly this is industrially biodegradable packaging, not home-compostable, and the empty packs rarely make it to an industrial biodegrading plant. More often than not they get added to home-recycling, which contaminates the recycling. Some people may add to their food waste collections (if they have them) and this would be considered contamination by many local authorities. The other big problem is that these are often made food products like corn, we think it’s better to get food to people (and animals) that need food, rather than use it as packaging. Growing more crops also means more land used for crops, which means less bio-diversity and higher use of pesticides.
PurrCycle - Pouch recycling
When we launched our cat food range, Purr & Miaow, we worked with recycling company Enval to develop the post-in pouch recycling scheme, PurrCycle. We were successful in getting a lot of pouches recycled. Unfortunately, this scheme is on pause for now. We opened the scheme up to be able to recycle all brands of pet food pouches, but unfortunately, it isn’t viable for us to lose money to recycle pouches made by the Mars/Nestle-owned brands. We would love to bring this scheme back when we can.