The Environmental Impact of Dog Food Packaging

Read about our stance on the sustainability of dog food packaging below or click here to take you to the original article on the Pet Food Manufacturing Association website.

Bags – the Past, the Present and the Future

Only recently has the sustainability of pet food product packaging become a mandatory part of the project.

Generally, the environmental legacy of pet food packaging has not been a question in the forefront of people’s minds at the time of packaging design. How many people have asked the question, “Is this bag going to outlive me?”  Whilst the choosing of fonts, colours and images takes precedence. We live in a ‘throw away’ society but as an industry, we have to ask ourselves how many tens of thousands of tons of plastic pet food packaging are filling landfill sites up and down the country?

Recycling has been a buzz word for the last few years. However, it is not a word that bears as much importance as the word ‘profit’. All too often aesthetics will take priority. Do you ever think of the footprint you have personally left behind as a manufacturer, supplier or user of dog food?  It is something that my father, James Chester, Founder of Judge’s Choice Petfood Ltd considered in 2010, over a decade ago when he decided to switch all his bagged pet food products to a recyclable bag made by Tyler Packaging.

This has since become the basis of our approach at Judge’s Choice with every new design and re-design of packaging across our brands.

As a business these are the key considerations we use when designing our packaging:

Can we make a smaller environmental impact?

Can we reduce the amount of packaging we are using?

Can we make our packaging more sustainable?

Can we create a better product and still be profitable?

“I do not want to be outlived by anything other than my reputation!”

Chieko Chester, Judge’s Choice CEO and daughter of James and Hiroko Chester (Founders)

When I took over Judge’s Choice from my father in 2018, I was determined to ensure that his environmental legacy was sustained going forward.  The board began by conducting a thorough review and audit of all the packaging used across all the Judge’s Choice brands. We explored and implemented solutions that could further reduce the environmental footprint we made as a company. It has taken over a year, but we are now fully primed to ensure that the company is not just ticking the ‘environmental box’ but leading the way and equipped for the next decade.

The next phase, soon to be implemented will be to replace all our small packaging with compostable bags.   In addition, Judge’s Choice now invests in carbon exchange programs and we are acutely aware of how we transport our goods and how this can also affect everything around us.  Focus has been directed towards the use of electric vehicles, and our warehouses, wherever possible are powered by solar panels.

Ten years is a long time in our industry, hundreds of thousands of tons of plastics that will take lifetimes to degrade, just thrown away, buried in landfill.

All of us at Judge’s Choice are passionate about leaving a legacy which positively effects our environment.  We are in the process of starting a program called ‘Remove the PET from the Pet Trade’, that we hope all manufacturers can be a part of, to agree and to understand, that there is no alternative other than to use recyclable products for all our packaging going forward.

“We have a duty as manufacturers to make the change, take responsibility and change the future.”

Chieko Chester is the CEO of Judge’s Choice Petfood Ltd

For more information on industry wide packaging initiatives, visit Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association website

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