A cat only veterinary practice in Houghton-le-Spring has launched an innovative recycling scheme that is one of the first in the North East and will prevent thousands of cat food pouches ending up in landfill each month.
Cat owners throughout the region are being urged to bring in their empty pet food pouches to SimplyCats Vet Clinic in Fencehouses. The practice has joined forces with TerraCycle, a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle materials, which has the technology to turn them into a wide range of plastic products including fence posts and benches.
Registered veterinary nurse Lucy Rose-Smith, of independently owned SimplyCats Vet Clinic, kick-started the campaign after discovering her cat loving team throw away more than 4,300 plastic food pouches a year, which can’t be recycled via domestic recycling bins.
Instead of them going to landfill, she decided to set up one of only three collection points in the North East of England.
Lucy said: “Our team absolutely love cats and between us we have 16, but until recently it had never really struck me how much of our pet food packaging goes to landfill.
“I’m conscious that we need to look after our environment and at SimplyCats Vet Clinic we always strive to limit our carbon footprint. By making some simple changes, we can all make a difference.
“Our team members have more than the usual number of pet cats, but I counted the amount of pet food packaging we get through at home and our cats consume 84 wet-food packets in a week – that’s a whopping 4,368 each year!”
Lucy’s colleagues at the practice on Front Street in Fencehouses, which has achieved the highest possible gold cat friendly clinic status for six years running, were keen to get behind her campaign to dramatically reduce the waste.
Her pet food pouch collecting station is now up and running and cat owners throughout the area can now drop off rinsed out and dried packaging to be sent for recycling.
Lucy said: “Cats provide wonderful companionship but the amount of waste going to landfill from their food is shocking. We had to act to give cat owners a more sustainable choice.
“We’re now regularly delivering large volumes of used pouches to TerraCycle where they are processed and made into a wide range of new plastic goods.”
In the first week of launching the campaign Lucy and the SimplyCats Vet Clinic team collected a kilo of cat food pouches and it’s now continually increasing.