When pet adoptions soared in the wake of COVID-19, there was an increased demand for pet food, resulting in a large volume of pet food packaging waste.
According to the Pet Sustainability Coalition, 300 million pounds of pet food and treat bags are generated in the United States every year and over 99% of those bags are not recycled. Walmart Inc., in collaboration with international recycling leader, TerraCycle, is doing something to reduce these numbers.
"Pet food packaging is an often overlooked waste stream," said Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle. " Most are not aware that pet food packaging usually consists of multiple materials, in most cases aluminum and plastic, which excludes it from curbside recycling. That's why this waste stream was included in the Walmart Hub Recycling Program - to offer pet parents an easy way to provide the animals in their lives the best nutritionally, without the guilt over the waste the food packaging produces."
Through the Walmart Hub Recycling Program, consumers are invited to bring all brands of pet food packaging to the participating retail locations in Springdale, Arkansas, and Broken Arrow Walmart Supercenters, as well as at the Fayetteville, Arkansas, Sam's Club. In addition to pet food packaging, the Walmart Hubs are collecting waste streams including skincare and beauty products, soft plastic food packaging, oral care products, food and drink pouches, home and garden supplies packaging, coffee capsules, water filters, plastic bottles, clothing, pet food packaging, plastic bags and shipping materials, plastic toys, ink cartridges, and office supplies
To participate, shoppers can bring their accepted waste that is not curbside recyclable to the designated recycling hubs positioned outside the participating Walmart Supercenters and Sam's Club locations. When the hub station is full, TerraCycle will pick up and transport the waste to regional material recovery facilities where the waste will be sorted by material type and recycled into raw materials that can be used to make new products, like playgrounds and park benches.
The Walmart Community Recycling Hub is open to any interested individual, school, office, or community organization.