Which Types of Pet Food Containers Can Be Recycled?

As any pet owner can tell you, owning a pet is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in this world. However, it can be a lot of work.

Not only do you have to clean your pet regularly but you also have to feed them healthily. And if you are trying to live sustainably, you also have to think about the recyclability of the packaging your pet food comes in.

So, what type of pet food containers can be recycled?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.

Types of pet food containers and their recyclability

Foil cat food pouches

Many cat food manufacturers use foil pouches because they are resealable and keep the food fresh. You can simply open them when you need to pour out some food and seal them up when you’re done. Moreover, they are easy to transport and store.

Unfortunately, though, foil food pouches can’t be recycled.

Pet food cans

Pet food, particularly wet food, has been packaged in cans for years.

Not only are these cans convenient, but they are also recyclable. This is because they are usually made of steel or aluminum – materials that can be recycled. In fact, aluminum can be infinitely recycled.

Also, recycling aluminum keeps a lot of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

This particularly comes into play when using recycled aluminum to make new cans – this takes 95% less energy and can go a long way in reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.

Interestingly, recycling your aluminum/steel pet food cans is easy – just toss them in your metals recycling bin.

Although you can rinse them to get rid of any pet food smell beforehand, no preparation is usually required. And if you’re not sure if this applies in your community, check with your local authorities.

Dry food pet bags

When it comes to dry pet food, the most popular packaging materials are bags. However, not all food pet bags can be recycled.

While plastic pet food bags can usually be recycled by your local recycling program, those that are lined or have multiple layers of different materials can’t. Their layers are usually sealed in a way that makes it hard for most recycling programs to separate them.

There is some good news though – some companies have teamed up with Terracycle to recycle such bags. These include Open Farm and Purina.

In fact, Purina’s website claims that 80% of its packaging is recyclable and that it even includes recycling instructions on each one.

As for Open Fam, they have a simple recycling process for their bags. It involves:

  1. Signing up for an account on Terracycle.
  2. Requesting for a shipping label and having it emailed to you.
  3. Printing out your label, securing it to your box of bags, and using UPS (Pre-Paid Return Ship) to send it to Terracycle.

Just ensure that your bags are empty and dry before shipping and they will be delivered to Terracycle without a hitch.

Once they collect these bags, they wash them, melt them, then use the resulting hard plastic to create new products.

They also give you some Terracycle rewards for shipments of above 2 pounds in weight.

If you can’t recycle, reuse!

Just because you can’t recycle a particular type of pet food packaging doesn’t mean you should throw it out.

You can reuse it for crafts, gardening, or even home organization.

Ultimately, the longer you can use it, the better!


  1. Can you recycle aluminum beverage cans with aluminum cat food cans & aluminum foil?

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