With fewer customers in pet stores, the Pet Sustainability Coalition and its program partners Earth Animal and Petfood Experts have officially delayed the launch date of Flex Forward. As a pilot program aimed at testing the success of a national recycling program for pet food and treat packaging, launching too soon before retail stores have similar pre-COVID-19 traffic would deliver inaccurate results about collection rates and customer participation.
While independent pet stores have faired better than retailers in other industries, many are still protecting pet parents through limited store hours, encouraging curb-side pickup, and promoting free delivery. For Flex Forward, the first collaborative in-store plastic recycling program in the pet industry, COVID-19 has created logistical issues hindering collections, as well as a new opportunity to provide positivity as retailers begin to open their doors.
As stores open, independent retailers will be eager to bring in pet parents to offer a tailored shopping experience and customer service in a way that on-line shopping can’t. Flex Forward will be an unprecedented opportunity for consumers to be able to recycle pet packaging at-last. And, with current, Covid-19 data showing a continuous increase in demand for sustainability even through the pandemic: it will be advantageous for retailers to offer this zero-cost in-store recycling solution for all types and all brands of packaging to their customers.