How Pet Owners Can Make a Difference When Recycling | Pets
Owhile most Americans can say they are environmentally conscious and recycling conscious, their daily habits have not caught up with their good intentions. In fact, the EPA reports that the recycling rate is currently only about 32%. This is partly due to confusion over what and how to recycle. If you’re one of the growing number of people with pets in the home, your recycling habits can be even more complex by adding pet product packaging to the mix. With so much packaging being produced today, your choice between the recycling bin and the trash can may seem inconsequential in the grand scheme. But the truth is that every day consumers play a crucial role in reducing waste.
In an ideal world, we would operate in a “circular economy,” where the materials we now consider waste serve a secondary purpose instead. Some companies are committed to the environment by opting for more sustainable manufacturing processes and using recyclable – and recycled – materials in their packaging. But it takes more than companies can do alone; companies rely on consumers to recycle properly, fueling the supply of materials used to produce more environmentally friendly packaging.
“Many consumers engage in the ‘wish to recycle’ – throwing an item in the trash and hoping it will be recycled,” said Nida Bockert, Senior Director, Portfolio Innovation, Optimization and Sustainability at Purina. “At Purina, which makes some of the most popular pet care products, not only are we focused on empowering pet owners to choose the recycling bin instead of the trash, but we also work to educate people to engage in thoughtful recycling that avoids contaminating the waste stream.
What a company is doing to improve its packaging
More than 80% of Purina packaging is already made with recyclable materials. Aluminum, infinitely recyclable, makes up a large part of the brand’s product packaging and is accepted for single-line recycling which is picked up at the curb. However, only a fraction of the aluminum cans manufactured are made from recycled materials, due to a lack of supply. This is where consumers play an important role in closing the loop. When consumers rinse and recycle aluminum pet food cans, it creates a supply of second-life aluminum that is reused from scrap metal, which generates far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the new aluminum. By creating a system that reuses existing resources instead of following a one-time-use method, the damage done to the planet by consumerism and manufacturing can be dramatically reduced.
what you can do
First, support eco-conscious brands when shopping. Purina is also making strides in recyclability beyond aluminum. The company is working hard to make all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
Confused about what can be recycled when it comes to pet product packaging and how to recycle it? First, check with your local recycling center to make sure you’re following their guidelines.
Here are some basic tips for preparing pet product packaging for recycling:
• Metal cans: rinse and deposit in your single-stream recycling bin.
• Plastic Bins: Rinse and deposit in your single-stream recycling bin.
• Tidy Cats containers: empty and deposit in your single-stream recycling bin.
• Cardboard from various packaging: Place it in your single-stream recycling bin.
• Shrink wrap for miscellaneous packaging: Drop it off at your local grocery store, if available. To find your region, visit plasticfilmrecycling.org.
You can also always look for the “How2Recycle” label on any Purina brand packaging for help with recycling. If the packaging does not include this label, it is safe to say that the product is not recyclable.