A company with established roots in Melton has launched a unique recycling scheme to transform pet food packaging into useful items such as furniture, park benches and fence posts.
Mars Petcare, which has a food production factory on Mill Street in the town and a pet nutrition research centre at Waltham, has joined forces for the initiative with TerraCycle, which specialises in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable consumer waste.
In the first venture of its kind in Europe, pet owners are invited to return packaging, such as Whiskas cat wet food pouches, which are produced in Melton, for processing.
The company is opening up the scheme further by inviting other pet food manufacturers to collaborate with it to develop it further.
Deri Watkins, managing director of Mars Petcare UK, said: “The Petcare category is a uniquely emotive one and we know that pet owners are some of the most engaged and passionate consumers when it comes to issues that affect animals and our planet.
“That’s why it is critical that the petfood industry responds to the challenges around recycling and plastic waste.
“Businesses like ours need to pioneer new responses to this problem and our new partnership with TerraCycle is an important part of this.”
He stressed, though, that Mars Petcare could not effect the change they want by recycling packaging on their own.
“As an industry, we are stronger when we work together to tackle common problems,” said Mr Watkins.
“That’s why we want to open up this programme and are inviting other pet food manufacturers to partner with us and TerraCycle to develop the Pet Food Recycling Programme and expand its impact through wider collaboration.
“Together, we can develop innovative packaging solutions and dramatically reduce the environmental impact of the pet food industry.”
Through the scheme, pet owners can drop off their used pet food packaging at a number of designated public drop-off locations or free-post them directly to TerraCycle for recycling.
Once the pouches have been collected, they will be sorted, cleaned and shredded.
Any food residue is composted, and the packaging material is turned into small plastic pellets which can be converted into useful plastic items, such as park benches, furniture, fence posts or construction applications.
Other pet food packaging which canve returned for recycling are Whiskas Dentabites and Dry Complete cat food, together with James Wellbeloved’s dog pouches, Cracker Jacks and Grain Free products.
Laure Cucuron, general manager at TerraCycle Europe, said: “It’s vital that we work to reduce the amount of packaging that goes to landfill, and making this programme open to any eligible packaging in the market is a significant step towards achieving this.”
To post packaging for the scheme, go online and sign up at www.terracycle.co.uk/en-GB/brigades/petfood to download a free UPS label from your account, attach it to your shipment and then order a free pick-up via UPS by calling 03457 877877 or book a collection on the website.
The company will then collect from your location free of charge and you also drop-off your parcel at your closest UPS drop-off point.