A sustainable brand opting for plastic packaging: what’s the deal?
Plastic has a bad reputation: it pollutes the environment and oceans and is made of fossil raw materials. Clearly, we need to eliminate plastic, right?! And yet, organic pet food producer Yarrah chooses to use plastic packaging for its kibble. In fact, they started using new packaging made of plastic. But Yarrah is organic, aren’t they all about sustainability? Why opt for plastic packaging?
Yarrah chooses mono PE as a packaging material for our kibble. Mono PE is a plastic made of polyethylene, one of the most recyclable synthetics. Polyethylene is easy to melt down into new products. Yarrah considers this a top priority, because circularity is a great way to contribute to a cleaner planet.
How does it work?
Our new packaging is made of one type of plastic: mono PE. Which is important because recycling can only be done with materials made of a single type of plastic.
By recycling objects and packaging, the lifespan of raw materials is greatly extended. This is something that Yarrah is happy to get behind. The earth contains a limited amount of raw materials. By making our own packaging completely renewable, we contribute to circularity and limit the use of raw materials like oil and wood.
In Europe, three billion plastic bags are used for pet food every year. The majority ends up in incinerators, because it is made of multiple types of plastic. As a result, a huge amount of raw materials goes to waste.
What about paper?
Paper is often promoted as a clean alternative to plastic. There is truth to this, especially when it ends up in nature as waste. But there is another side to this coin. It takes more energy and water to make paper than to produce plastic. And you need more paper to guarantee the same shelf life of a product than with plastic packaging. As a result, paper causes a much higher rate of CO2 emissions than plastic. Plus, paper is limited in the number of times it can be recycled, while plastic can be recycled over and over again.
Vision for the future
Food legislation prohibits us from using recycled plastics ourselves, but there are other (non-food) industries that can use our recycled plastics. Our dream? We want our customers to be able to reuse our packaging themselves. We want them to refill the same bag at the store time and again. Sort of like Pieter Pot for pet food.
We all need to step up to the plate to fix environmental issues. This requires consumers to dispose of their plastics in the garbage bin and separate their waste. Once businesses start using recycled plastics only, this will be a major step in the right direction. We can only solve this problem together.
Unfortunately, every solution has its disadvantages. But with circularity in mind, mono PE remains the best solution for pet food (for now). We have a positive outlook on the future: there is plenty of innovation going on and increasingly clean alternatives are starting to pop up.
The world is always changing. We weigh every option. And once a cleaner alternative to mono PE shows up, we will be the first to adopt it.
Want to learn more about plastics? Read all about it here.