Bioplastic, compostable bags: pet food packaging’s future?

Pet owners want to know that their dog, cat or other pet’s food bag won’t end up floating in the Pacific, among other environmental concerns.

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Sustainability has grown into a major force in pet food packaging. Pet owners want to know that their dog, cat or other pet’s food bag won’t end up floating in the Pacific, among other environmental concerns. While some sustainable packaging innovations are only available in other industries, recyclable and compostable packaging materials are available for pet food and treat makers. Meanwhile sustainable packaging innovations are being developed that could make their way into the pet space.

Bioplastic packaging wins awards

Earlier this year, ProAmpac won the AmeriStar Award for packaging made from plant-based bioplastic, which was used for Scotts MiracleGro Performance Organics growing media.

The material used to make those bags is a renewable resin made from primarily sugarcane- or corn-based bioplastic, Kristy Paulin, commercial communications manager for ProAmpac, told Petfood Industry in an email.

“The cultivation of sugarcane utilizes carbon dioxide (CO2) and releases oxygen (02) to give bioplastic a negative carbon footprint,” she said.

As the sugarcane or corn grows, it draws in carbon dioxide from the air. Some of the carbon from the air ends up in the plant’s roots, which remain in the soil after the cane or stalk is cut.

“It is our goal to have the widest breath of sustainable packaging offerings in the industry,” Paulin said.

Compostable, recyclable pet food food packaging possibilities

Currently the company offers four lines marketed as sustainable: ProActive Compostable; Recyclable; Renewable and PCR. For ProActive Compostable packaging, ProAmpac has focused on industrial composting standards (ASTM6400), she said.

“We are working with some materials that may be suitable for backyard compostable, but there is no North American certification standard, including Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI),” said Paulin. “As for paper, the majority of papers are known to be compostable, so certification is seldom sought out.”

Not all of these plastics would be ideal for pet food application though. Paulin recommended some of the company’s recyclable products specifically for the pet food industry.

“ProActive Recyclable R-1000 is a great solution for dry treats,” she said. “This material is available in rollstock for FFS applications or in pre-made pouches… The new ProActive Sustainability film is qualified by How2Recycle for in-store drop off and available in matte, gloss or with ProAmpac’s Signature Surfaces Paper Touch tactile enhancement…Another solution is our ProActive Recyclable Quadflex flat bottom pouch, with optional clear side gussets to provide product visibility.”

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