NEW YORK — On March 15, rePurpose Global announced that its efforts have recovered 2,000 tons of plastic waste from the environment, which is equivalent to about 111 million plastic bottles or 1 billion plastic bags. About 20 pet food brands aided rePurpose Global, joining forces to tackle plastic pollution by reducing plastic in their packaging and the overall supply chain and financing rePurpose Global’s waste projects.
It’s estimated that about 300 million pounds of plastic waste is produced annually by the pet food industry, in just the United States alone. According to the industry, much of the plastic packaging is made of non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle materials, which equates to about 99% of pet food packaging ending in landfills or oceans.
Earth Animal, one of the brands taking part in rePurpose Global’s efforts, is committed to reducing its plastic footprint. In remaining plastic neutral, Earth Animal was a key partner in the Pet Sustainability Coalition’s (PSC) Flex Forward recycling program and has also financed the removal of plastic waste from the environment.
“Plastic is a huge problem in the pet food industry,” said Stewart Shanley, chief executive officer of Earth Animal. “While we are making strides to reduce plastic waste from our packaging and supply chain, we wanted to make an impact right now. Through our partnership with rePurpose Global, we are taking the first step to systemic environmental change – financing waste management infrastructure and empowering marginalized workers fighting the plastic waste crisis on the frontlines. This is just one step in our journey to reducing our environmental footprint and we call on others in our industry to do the same.”
In partnership with the 20 pet food companies, rePurpose Global is currently financing the recovery of critical plastics, diverting them from waterways, landfills or destruction via burning in countries like Colombia, Kenya, Indonesia and India. These countries currently have the highest rate of plastics in nature, according to rePurpose Global.
"The Pet Sustainability Coalition has identified packaging pollution as one of our industry's greatest environmental challenges,” said Melissa Bauer, director of strategic initiatives and sustainability at PSC. “We are excited to see many of our members are working with rePurpose Global to offset their packaging footprint while also investing in socially equitable environmental solutions directly within the global communities most heavily impacted.”
The partnerships rePurpose Global has forged with the 20 pet food companies have helped the company expand its waste collection efforts where infrastructure is severely limited, and has also created additional income for about 4,594 waste workers.
“Globally, 380 million tons of plastic is produced every year, the majority ending up in nature,” said Svanika Balasubramanian, co-founder and chief executive officer, rePurpose Global. “We are currently living in a plastic epidemic and the collective sense of urgency among pet owners and the larger pet industry is palpable. Now more than ever, there is a critical need for meaningful partnerships to tackle plastic pollution the world over. Our coalition of brands and consumers are moving the needle forward and spearheading action before it is too late.”
Currently, 230 brands, including pet food companies, across 26 countries are working with rePurpose Global to offset their plastic waste, removing an estimated 14 million pounds of plastic annually.
Read more about sustainability in the pet food and treat industry.