PRODUCED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ROYAL CANIN
With more than 3 million cats and dogs in New Zealand, it’s no secret that Kiwis have a soft spot for their furry friends.
However, much of our pets’ food packaging cannot be recycled through kerbside recycling collection, therefore ending up in landfill.
In an effort to reduce waste and provide a sustainable future for pets, people and the planet, premium pet nutrition brand, Royal Canin, has joined forces with TerraCycle to launch the Royal Canin Recycling Program. Pet owners can now recycle their ROYAL CANIN® and Eukanuba pouches and pet food bags at veterinary practices across New Zealand.
While this doesn’t make much difference to Fido, pet owners can now continue to feed their pets fresh and nutritious food without contributing to landfill.
We spoke to cat lover and Royal Canin veterinarian, Corey Regnerus to find out more about this initiative.
Tell us about the existing packaging used for pet food and why it’s difficult to use sustainable alternatives?
Our Royal Canin and Eukanuba packaging is made from a mix of soft plastics that help to retain the freshness and nutritional quality of our food items, which is crucial for premium products such as ours.
However, we know that these materials are hard to recycle in many countries, including New Zealand, due to the local recycling infrastructure available. As of next year, we are taking steps forward with our dry bags, moving to packaging made from mono-material PE. This will enable them to be recycled in locations that have existing soft plastic recycling capability, whilst maintaining the nutritional quality and freshness of our products.
How did you come up with the idea to partner with TerraCycle?
We had goal of having 100% of our packaging being either recyclable, reusable or
compostable by 2025 and while we are innovating alternative packaging options, we wanted
to take the right steps forward to minimise the footprint we’re having on the environment.
We have now achieved this goal through our partnership with TerraCycle who specialise in recycling typically hard-to-recycle packaging. We also like their closed loop economy of turning packaging into hard goods such as dog agility equipment and frisbees.
Why did you choose to partner with vet clinics for collection points?
Supporting the building of a strong relationship between a pet owner and their vet is an
important step in making a better world for pets, so it seemed logical to start with veterinary clinics as our collection points for this programme.
How have both vets and consumers reacted to the initiative?
The response from vet clinics, pet owners and the pet industry has been extremely positive, with many pet owners saying they’ve been waiting for a programme like this for such a long time. Others were surprised to learn, despite their best intentions of including pet food packaging in existing soft plastic collections that it still unfortunately ended up in landfill.
We’re proud to be playing our part in trying to reduce the environmental footprint, however, we know we have a long way to go and our Royal Canin Recycling Program is just the first step. We’re looking forward to expanding our programme and working together with other pet food brands to collectively tackle this issue.