This September 23, Clean will be speaking at Petfood 2.0, an annual event focused on the science behind the formulation, packaging and distribution of pet food. Clean’s presentation will focus on the “Science of Sustainable Packaging”, and we will discuss trends and best practices in sustainable pet food packaging.
To prepare attendees for what to expect from our presentation, we put together a short article featuring 3 sustainable packaging “tips” for pet food companies.
3 Tips for Creating More Sustainable Pet Food Packaging
Sustainable packaging is one of the hottest areas of corporate sustainability today. Brands that aren’t capitalizing on sustainability risk being left behind as a new generation of pet owners looks for more sustainable options on their store shelves. But how do you go about making your packaging more sustainable? Here are 3 tips to for those looking to create more sustainable pet food packaging.
Tip #1: Assess the impacts of your current packaging
Without knowing the environmental impacts of your packaging today, you won’t be able to tell if your sustainability efforts are making any impact. A lot of the major pet food companies are using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to understand the environmental impacts of their packaging. LCA involves gathering data from your suppliers and analyzing the impacts of your packages through their full life cycles (i.e., extracting the raw materials, making the package, filling it, distributing it, using it, and recycling or disposing of it).
Once you have a better sense of the environmental impacts of your current packaging, you’ll be better able to identify priorities and strategies for improvement. LCAs are also a great way to compare different packages against each other, in order to determine which is the more environmentally responsible choice.
Tip #2: Ask your suppliers a lot of questions
There are a lot of new packaging materials and formats showing up in the pet food aisle, from flexible packaging to plant-based plastics. To evaluate the sustainability of new materials and technologies, you’ll need to ask your suppliers some specific questions about sustainability. What you ask them will differ depending on the type of material or technology you’re evaluating. For example, if you’re considering a plant-based plastic, you’ll want to ask things like: What’s the source of the plant material? Where and how it was grown or farmed? Is it recyclable, compostable, or destined for landfill?
Once you have a material or technology that seems like a sustainable choice, performing a life cycle assessment will allow you to confirm its environmental benefits and provide you with the substantiation you need to make on-pack sustainability claims.
Tip #3: Communicate clearly with your consumer
Consumers want to see more, and clearer, sustainability messaging on packaging. They especially want to know what the package is made of and how to dispose of it. Engaging on-pack sustainability communications are a great way to build your company’s reputation as a trusted, environmentally-responsible pet food brand.