Mars Petcare Europe to Launch Petfood Packaging with Food Safe Recycled Content

  • Mars Petcare is getting ready to deploy petfood pouches of SHEBA® containing recycled plastic from advanced recycling techniques
  • Deployment is set to begin in Europe in 2022
  • With this move, Mars Petcare becomes the first in pet food industry to deploy food safe recycled plastic as part of its wet petfood packaging
  • The initiative is the result of joint partnership with SABIC and Huhtamaki announced in November 2020

Brussels, December 142021 – Mars Petcare is getting ready to deploy food safe recycled plastic in wet petfood packaging as part of its global commitment to increase recycled content in its plastic packaging. Leading cat food brand SHEBA® will be the first to have the updated packaging formats available in Europe in 2022 as part of Mars Petcare’s efforts to give pet parents more sustainable choices.

The move comes in the context of a joint partnership of Mars Petcare with SABIC and Huhtamaki to develop and deploy recycled plastic in pet food pouches using advanced recycling technologies (also called ‘chemical recycling’). Only with advanced recycled materials and their ability to be food safe has this development been possible, and it is an excellent example of how this technology is essential to help close the gap in enabling plastic waste to become truly circular.

Barry Parkin, Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer at Mars, Incorporated, said: “We are pleased to share this progress in our sustainable petfood packaging journey. Over the past year, we have been closely working with SABIC and Huhtamaki, continually testing-and-learning and scaling up the recycled plastic content in our petfood packs. As part of our Sustainable in a Generation plan, we are committed to doing our part to help drive a circular economy, which includes redesigning our packages for circularity. The fact that we are now able to introduce recycled content into our SHEBA® pouches helps accelerate our journey to achieve 30% average recycled content in our plastic packaging and to reduce by 25% our use of virgin plastic.”

Petfood packaging is considered to be a very challenging packaging format to utilize recycled content due to thermal processing needed to create the highest quality. By using ISCC PLUS certified recycled material, Mars Petcare brings to life a technology that can provide a step-change in the sustainability journey of the pet-food industry. Mars Petcare has been working towards this circularity objective in plastic packaging through the application of advanced recycling technology with its partners, SABIC and Huhtamaki. SABIC is a pioneer in this area via its TRUCIRCLE plastic portfolio and services which showcase circular innovations, including certified circular products which are produced using a feedstock derived from previously difficult-to-recycle used plastic household packaging. SABIC’s ability to process flexible plastic packaging waste back into polypropylene for this direct food contact and challenging application is a first. With Huhtamaki’s technical expertise in formulating and producing easy tear sterilizable polypropylene films such as Terolen®, SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE polymers can be used in wet petfood packaging like the SHEBA® pouch that is being launched. Through innovations such as these, advanced recycling techniques which process flexible plastic packaging waste will develop further and allow food contact recycled packaging solutions to grow at the scale required to have critical impact on the environment.

Lada Kurelec, General Manager PP, PET, PS, PVC, PU & Elastomers Businesses for Petrochemicals at SABIC said: “We are very pleased about the ongoing strategic efforts with Mars and Huhtamaki. The transformation of the industry towards a circular economy requires unprecedented innovation and intensive collaboration across the value chain. Together, we have set another milestone on this exciting journey.”

Marco Hilty, President of Huhtamaki’s Flexible Packaging business segment said: “We are fully committed to partnering with global leaders to develop solutions which drive the transition to a circular economy. We are proud to work with Mars and SABIC on a concrete solution which can be used globally. Successfully processing recycled polymers into high-quality, easy tear films for wet retort packaging at an industrial scale is a significant milestone in delivering on our ambition to have more than 80% of our raw materials renewable or recycled. This is important for consumers and in line with our ambitious 2030 strategy.”

Deri Watkins, Regional President at Mars Pet Nutrition Europe, said: “At Mars Petcare, everything we do is focused on our Purpose: A Better World For Pets – one that’s sustainable for pets, people, and for the planet. As we get prepared to deploy food safe recycled content in wet pet food pouches, it’s only fitting that it’s with our iconic SHEBA® brand, which through its work on ocean health strives to make a meaningful and measurable difference in the world. Our consumers want more than just quality food for their pets, and we are pleased that this innovation enables us to provide pet parents with more environmentally sustainable products.”

Today, all of SHEBA® aluminium trays, cans and cardboard sleeves are commonly recycled in key markets and with the deployment of this new wet petfood packaging, the Mars Petcare brand is taking another step forward in meeting its global goal of designing bag and pouch materials for recyclability.

This work is part of Mars, Incorporated’s mission to help create a healthy planet where all can thrive – a belief that’s at the heart of its $1 billion Sustainable in a Generation Plan.


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