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Mars reviews recycling program two years after its launch

Mars Thailand is reviewing its novel recycling program, SWAP Recycling Program, two years on from its launch. The program enables pet owners to swap empty bags of dry or wet petfood of any brand for a discount on the purchase of their petfood brands including Pedigree, Whiskas, Sheba, and others.

The company reports “an impressive level of engagement” with Thai consumers, having observed a rapid increase in return rates in recent months. To date, more than 150,000 bags of used plastic packaging have been used and converted into useful products. Waste plastic has been turned into cat-shaped paving blocks, for example, to pave outdoor areas of the company’s new petfood manufacturing plant in Chonburi.

Marking World Environment Day – which is celebrated annually on June 5 – Mars joined forces with Second Life, which is a enterprise supporting companies to develop recycling solutions for packaging that would otherwise be discarded as waste.

From this came the SWAP Recycling app, which enables users to ship any flexible plastic waste for recycling in return for reward points and discounts on Mars’ products and other brands.

“This app will enable thousands more Thai citizens to return their used flexible plastic packaging for recycling: packaging that would otherwise have ended up as waste due to a lack of local recycling infrastructure,” explains Joel Cockcroft, Mars Global Petcare Packaging Sustainable Program Lead.

“We’ll be closely monitoring the data and insights from the app to improve the program and engage even more participants,” he adds.

The SWAP Recycling app. Image credit: Mars Petcare

The program is currently underway in Thailand with future plans to release it in other countries in Asia.

“We’re pleased that our collaboration with Mars Petcare has reached its second phase,” says Tristan Lecomte, Director for Second Life. “Mars Petcare has been working side by side with us to sponsor the development of a digital application for smartphones which encourages consumers to send their flexible and complex plastic waste to recycling centres and earn rewards. We share a vision for a future in which no packaging becomes waste.” 

Mars Petcare is not the first petfood brand to be thinking carefully about the impact of plastic packaging and waste. More recently, Purina launched their “designed to be recycled” petfood pouches – depending on the company’s particular recycling infrastructure – and Mondi won an award for its recyclable packaging solutions. You can read about those stories HERE and HERE.

Both companies use polypropylene mono-material in their packaging, which can be recycled while offering petfood the best protection.

For more information on Mars Petcare visit their website, HERE.

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