For some companies, like Nova Chemicals, participating in Petfood Forum was out of their normal “zone,” but in a good way. Nova normally focuses on resin production, but the rapidly evolving pet food industry presented an opportunity for collaboration with Emmerson Packaging. The two companies worked together to develop a recyclable pet food bag by engineering one material to do the job of two. Nancy Conley, technical service representative with Nova, and Dawn MacDonald, manager of innovation, research and development with Emmerson, shared the story in a video from Petfood Forum 2019 (below).

Many trends in the industry have combined that push materials suppliers to constantly come up with better performing products, Conley said. Material formulations have become more complex over the years. Simultaneously, people seek to reduce pet food packaging’s effects on the Earth’s ecosystems and landfills.

“We're constantly being asked to come up with ways that people can take weight out of packaging or get better performance and lower cost and all of that combined,” she said.

Recyclable pet food bag development

The designs of pet food bags themselves have become more complex, MacDonald said.

“What was traditionally just a pillow package, just a simple square package, has now become premade packages with a lot of panels for graphics display,” she said. “They've become very beautiful. The graphics have become more complicated. It looks like a photo on the front of the package. There's many features. There's different types of closures. There's different types of fitment. There's a lot of choice that 10 years ago wasn't available. We're seeing it evolve very quickly.”

Along with all those features, pet owners can recycle a bag developed by the two companies using linear low-density polyethylene.

“It doesn't have to go to the landfill,” MacDonald said. “It replaces what was traditionally a combination of two polymers, polyester and polyethylene. We've removed the polyester, so this can be recycled.”

“From the material side, we've got our packaging engineers that have really worked hard to come up with a way that we can take a single material and replace what was a multi-material package,” Conley said. “That leads to recyclability, which is what people are looking for.”

Petfood Forum CONNECT

Petfood Forum CONNECT includes opportunities to meet with industry professionals from all over the world, learn the latest pet food trends, access a full network of industry suppliers and collaborate in one-to-one partnership meetings to share ideas to conduct business. Petfood Forum CONNECT attendees will have access to the entire platform to watch 15+ live and on-demand educational sessions, build connections during virtual networking meetups and happy hours, participate in live Q&A discussions with speakers and chat with pet food professionals from around the world. Plus, there will be registration options for exclusive access to a directory of digital showrooms, allowing you to schedule one-to-one partnership meetings with key pet food industry suppliers.