Food packaging

Biogas energy from sustainable pet food packaging

Most pet food packaging ends up in landfills – even the recyclable or store-returned types.

Although recycling is familiar and popular, the flexible materials used for recyclable pet food bags often go uncollected by curbside pickups.

Nina Wang, marketing specialist for Layfield Group, speaking at Petfood Forum 2022, said that while bags of pet food may technically be recyclable, the number that actually goes back into the resource stream may being weak.

The easiest thing for a pet owner to do is throw out their bag. Instead of trying to change pet owner behaviors, taking the path of least resistance means finding a way to make it okay to give up the bag. For several years, Layfield has been turning pet food packaging – with its biodegradable BioFlex material – into fuel for power generation. These bags of dog and cat food brands, like Annamaet, can be thrown away with household waste and will end up in electricity if they end up in a biogas landfill.

Wang said, “That’s the great thing, you don’t have to clean it, you don’t have to sort it. This is exactly in tune with consumer behavior. They throw it away anyway.

Fossil fuels, like natural gas, are literally fossil fuels. The combustible energy they contain was trapped inside dead plants and other organisms millions of years ago. According to the US Energy Information Administration, today’s modern, mobile biodegradable waste can skip eons and go directly into energy production through landfill gas recovery systems.

Biogas results from the breakdown of biomass in a landfill, which can include everything from grass clippings and leftovers to roadkill. In a purpose-built landfill, gas from decaying organic matter can be captured and burned much like its ancient relative, natural gas. Like soil gas, biogas mainly contains methane, as well as carbon dioxide, two greenhouse gases if they escape into the atmosphere. However, when trapped in a properly constructed landfill, the burners can use this biogas to heat boilers that spin turbines to generate electricity.

For example, biogas from landfills powers 1,000 homes in Kansas City, where the Petfood Forum was held, Wang said. If Kansas City-area pet owners throw away a bag of Annamaet dog or cat food, that bag could end up like someone else’s electricity.

Additionally, Annamaet lets consumers know that they use Layfield’s BioFlex material for pet food bags.

Wang explained, “They use it as a great marketing tool for themselves. They are very aware of the environment and the products and the footprint, the carbon input and the environmental footprint that they put. So they actually use it on their website, they have the BioFlex logo on their bags. They have it in their literature. They use it as a great opportunity to promote their business and their brand as good stewards of the environment. »