Pet food manufacturers in the UK are being encouraged to join a new recycling scheme created by Mars Petcare and recycling experts, TerraCycle, believed to be the first of its kind in Europe.

The nationwide scheme offers pet owners a free solution to transform waste packaging into useful items like park benches and fence posts. Led by Mars Petcare brands Whiskas® and James Wellbeloved®, other members of the pet care industry are being invited to join the new partnership to expand the scheme’s impact.

The Pet Food Recycling Programme

Commenting on the programme Deri Watkins, Managing Director Mars Petcare UK, said, “The Petcare category is a uniquely emotive one and we know that pet owners are some of the most engaged and passionate consumers when it comes to issues that affect animals and our planet. That’s why it is critical that the petfood industry responds to the challenges around recycling and plastic waste. Businesses like ours need to pioneer new responses to this problem and our new partnership with TerraCycle is an important part of this.

However, if we want lasting change we cannot do it alone. As an industry, we are stronger when we work together to tackle common problems. That’s why we want to open up this programme and are inviting other pet food manufacturers to partner with us and TerraCycle to develop the Pet Food Recycling Programme and expand its impact through wider collaboration. Together, we can develop innovative packaging solutions and dramatically reduce the environmental impact of the pet food industry.”

Through the scheme, customers can return eligible packaging for processing by dropping off their used pet food packaging at a number of designated public drop-off locations around the country or free-post them directly to Terracycle. Pouches will then be sorted, cleaned and shredded, and once any food residue has been composted, and the packaging has been turned into small plastic pellets, they will be made into useful plastic items. 

From yesterday, pet owners can return packaging products in the following formats:

  • Wet petfood pouches, for example, WHISKAS® Cat Pouches or JAMES WELLBELOVED® Dog Pouches
  • Flexible plastic packaging for care and treats products, such as JAMES WELLBELOVED® Cracker Jacks or WHISKAS® Dentabites
  • Flexible plastic packaging for dry pet food, including WHISKAS® Dry Complete cat food and JAMES WELLBELOVED® Grain Free range

Current accepted packaging includes wet pet food pouches, pet treat flexible plastic packaging and all dry pet food packaging

The move is a short-term solution and is part of Mars Inc’s global commitment to ensure that 100% of its packaging is recyclable by 2025. TerraCycle specialises in hard to recycle materials and currently works with over one hundred major brands in twenty-one countries.

Laure Cucuron, General Manager, TerraCycle Europe adds, “We’re excited to be working with Mars Petcare brands Whiskas® and James Wellbeloved® to launch the UK – and Europe’s – first nationwide recycling programme for pet food packaging. It’s vital that we work to reduce the amount of packaging that goes to landfill, and making this programme open to any eligible packaging in the market is a significant step towards achieving this.”


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