Mars has announced it will incorporate recycled polypropylene into the primary packaging for some of its most popular pet food brands, in a bid to reduce the use of virgin plastics across its portfolio.

Through its partnership with packaging supplier Huhtamaki and petrochemical company SABIC, Mars will use recycled plastic that has been manufactured using an advanced recycling process which, according to the company, means that the packs will not feel different from those made with virgin plastic.

The recycled material is certified under the ISCC PLUS (Institute of Sustainability & Carbon Certification) scheme, which uses a “mass balance” approach. This international sustainability certification scheme verifies the quality and authenticity of the recycled material along the supply chain from feedstock to the final product.

Mars is piloting this initiative in Europe in 2020 and will increase volumes used into 2021, with ambitions to eventually expand the use of recycled content to other brands. 

The partnership comes as part of Mars’ ambitions to use 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by 2025. The company believes that utilizing advanced recycling technology will help it to achieve its goals of using 30% recycled plastics and reducing its use of virgin plastic by 25%.

Barry Parkin, chief procurement and sustainability officer at Mars, Incorporated, said: “We need to reduce packaging we don’t need, redesign the remaining packaging to become circular, and invest to close the loop to help scale up recycling systems.

“Through our partnership with Huhtamaki and SABIC, we will test-and-learn, progressively scale up recycled plastic content in our packs, and ultimately help drive circular packaging systems.”

Mark Vester, global circular economy leader at SABIC, said: “We are proud to show how this collaboration with Mars and Huhtamaki reflects our trust and willingness for innovation and a shared constructive and pioneering spirit. At SABIC we are committed to developing new solutions to meet our customers’ demands for increasingly sustainable solutions.

“SABIC’s certified circular products from our TRUCIRCLE portfolio offer a carbon footprint reduction of 2kgs of CO2 for every kilogram of polymer produced diverted from incineration. Only through partnerships such as this can we prove the commercial viability and sustainability contribution of advanced recycling processes to help confront the challenges our society is facing today.”