Towards Circularity of Pet Food Packaging

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FEDIAF Position Paper, February 2021

The Role of Pet Food Packaging

Pet food packaging is critical to ensure pet food is kept safe and retains its nutritional quality. Packaging also provides pet owners with important factual and legal information about the food they are purchasing for their pet.

 Pet food packaging comes in a variety of formats including: pouches, cans, bags and trays. There are different materials used in their formulation ranging from paper and cardboard to plastic and aluminium. Manufacturers carefully select the best option in order to ensure freshness, hygiene, safety and sustainability.

Sustainable Packaging

Members of the European Pet Food Association FEDIAF are fully committed to reducing the environmental impact of pet food packaging. The pet food industry has been making progress to reduce and optimise the use of packaging materials, find sustainable alternatives to non-recyclable plastic and increase the use of recycled content. These efforts are part of our active contribution to tackling climate change and reducing waste.

Steps towards a Circular Economy

As a pet food industry, we believe that ensuring a high level of pet food safety and preventing waste should be central objectives in the transition towards a circular economy.

1. Life-cycle approach

We support measures to reduce and improve packaging that are based on scientific evidence and follow a lifecycle approach, recognising the role of packaging to protect pet food safety and reduce waste.

2. Definition of recyclability

A number of innovations are taking place to simplify packaging in order to improve its recycling performance.

There is a need for a common EU definition of recyclability, based on the potential of the packaging material
to be recycled and considering existing and emerging technologies and infrastructure.

3. Infrastructure for sorting and recycling plastics

Collection, sorting and recycling technologies and infrastructure should be further developed across the EU to meet common minimum quality requirements. Rules should also be established for the safe recycling of plastic materials other than PET into food contact materials. Empowering consumers for a more circular economy can be helped by waste management. The pet food industry welcomes the proposal to develop an EU labeling scheme to improve the sorting of packaging waste as it will help to further engage consumers.

4. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes are in place in a number of EU countries. Producers under these schemes are responsible for the management of waste, which includes the collection of used goods,
sorting and treatment of their recycling. EPR schemes should be enhanced to increase packaging waste collection and sorting.

5. Recycled plastics in pet food packaging

Increasing recycled content of products is key for a circular economy. It is therefore necessary to ensure that
recycled plastic materials for use in packaging that are in contact with food are safe and readily available to the
pet food industry.

6. Environmental claims

Product environmental claims should be transparent, reliable and, wherever possible, based on the Product Environmental Footprint methodologies. In 2018, FEDIAF developed the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for pet food, which was endorsed by the European Commission. This officially adopted methodology gives clear guidelines for calculating the product environmental footprint of prepared pet food for cats and dogs – from ‘cradle to grave’.