ST. LOUIS — Nestlé Purina PetCare is launching a campaign to incentivize its consumers to recycle their aluminum and steel cans after use. The #PurinaRecyclesChallenge encourages pet owners to take aim at the recycling bin — rather than the trash can — when disposing of their used pet food cans.

According to the Can Manufacturers Institute, the pet food industry utilizes roughly 7 million metal food cans annually. Approximately 25% of these are steel and typically used for dog food, and 75% are aluminum and normally used for cat food. While these cans are infinitely recyclable, there is ample room for improvement in their recycling rates, including among pet owners.

An estimated 32% of American consumers recycle, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2019 American Community Survey. The US Energy Information Administration claims the use of recycled aluminum cans to manufacture new cans requires 95% less energy than creating new cans from raw materials.

“We launched the #PurinaRecyclesChallenge to show just how easy it is to make an impact, and to help break down some of the barriers that keep people from recycling their pet food cans,” said Gopi Sandhu, vice president of environmental sustainability at Purina. “Aluminum and steel are infinitely recyclable, and given the billions of cans produced in the United States each year, a seemingly small act of recycling can make a big difference.”

The challenge invites pet owners to film a “trick shot” of them banking a pet food can into the recycling bin and share on Instagram and/or TikTok with the hashtag #PurinaRecyclesChallenge. The company will donate $10 for every original post and $1 for every like, share or comment on those posts to The Recycling Partnership to support recycling education and infrastructure across the United States.

The campaign will run through Dec. 15.

Aside from this can recycling initiative, Purina has also committed to improving packaging sustainability across its entire portfolio. According to the company, almost 90% of its plastic packages used for pet food are designed to be recycled, a figure it hopes to increase to 95% by 2025.

Read more about sustainability efforts in the pet food and treat industry.