Earth Friendly, sustainability practices and initiatives

Pets First is intent on living up to our corporately driven high standards. These standards not only include the ingredients we use or where these are sourced but in addition how we can help the environment survive the onslaught that many other businesses produce on a day to day basis.

The process is ongoing and we are proud of all of our practices and initiatives no matter how modest they may appear.

Paper Products

Pets First does not use excess paper in our day to day operations. We use a minimal amount in any advertising efforts opting instead to offer potential customers direct access to our web sites.  These sites offer online versions of our literature in a PDF format. This gives consumers the opportunity to view a soft copy without causing any paper waste. Communications can easily happen over email or over more traditional telephone conversations. We even offer a text service so there is no real need to print anything unless a good reason exists.

We try and minimize our corporate reporting structures by  viewing soft copies of all reports only printing those absolutely necessary.

We only purchase and use 100% recycled paper. It’s not as white BUT it helps the environment by using less trees and less bleaching agents used to make that paper bright white!

Recycling paper products

We send ALL paper waste for recycling to a company named Urban Impact. This includes:

  • All office paper
  • All Unusable Mail Items
  • All Envelopes
  • All paper backing from our bag labels (this is a considerable amount of paper) that’s over 2000 labels used per container.

We started this process in 2010 and from 2011 to the end of 2017, we have saved over:

40,671L of Water

36 Trees

8,258 kW of Electricity

We have earned 5.7 tonnes of carbon credit and have recycled 1824 kg of paper.



Cardboard products

Boxes

We only purchase our cardboard boxes from Great Little Box company . An excellent company that is committed to certified sourcing and is part of the sustainable forest initiative.

Their quality is exceptional and their prices are fair. We have been buying boxes from GLB since 1994.

During that time we have purchased an estimated ???

Assorted cardboard recycling

Each skid that we receive from our manufacturing facility is encased in a heavy cardboard gaylord type product as well these are wrapped in plastic shrink wrap (more on that later) and several sheets of a light industrial  cardboard material for additional product protection. Early in 1997 we began a recycling project with GLB that sees them take back approximately 7 skids a year with each skid weighing approximately 300 pounds.

Extrapolating these numbers we have recycled

21,000 pounds of cardboard products.

Depending on the market conditions this material could be sent anywhere in the world – it’s up to the local supplier to determine where they ship the clippings. Primarily it has been sent to Seattle or China.  

Our Earth Options bags

This was a tough decision. Early in our history we used a four layer paper with an additional  plastic film bag for all of our larger bags. We decided in 2011 to try and save some trees. The alternative was a great bag for the product in that it kept our food fresher than the previous bags as well as being  safe from harmful UV rays. Freshness is a paramount concern for our company and that made the decision to move to these bags a little easier.

The downside was that this bag is close to the style that is currently used as a primary packaging source in the pet industry as a whole. It is not entirely environmentally friendly. It is NOT recyclable. Consumers can certainly put our bag in the blue bin BUT it will eventually find its way to a landfill. We don’t want our bags in a landfill.

How could we help our furry families as well as the environment?

We began by offering a free bag to all customers that would return 15 empty bags to our head office.  To be clear this offer is not a loyalty offer ( we have one of those as well) – it is a way for our customers to also  help the environment by keeping our bags out of the landfills. We appreciate that our customers send us the empty bags and we truly appreciate their caring for the environment.   This initiative is currently only available in Canada.

Since 2011 we have recycled 29 skids or approximately 39,000 of empty bags and counting!

Our first 2 shipments using Blue Planet  were sent to a plant to be ground down into a powder which was then reused into new products. Somehow this became too costly for the recyclers and the option became unavailable.

All remaining shipments have since been  been incinerated in a “waste-to-energy” plant.


What is waste to energy?


Waste-to-energy (WTE) / Incineration Plants

Incineration plants are also known as waste-to-energy (WTE) plants. The heat from the combustion process is used to generate superheated steam in boilers. The steam is in turn used to drive turbo generators to produce electricity.

  • Refuse collection vehicles transport incinerable waste to the WTE plants. The vehicles are weighed on a weighbridge before and after they discharge their loads into large refuse bunkers. This weighing process enables the WTE to keep track of the amount of waste disposed of by each vehicle.
  • To prevent odours from escaping into the environment, the air in the refuse bunker is kept below atmospheric pressure.
  • High-capacity rotary crushers are used to break down bulky wastes so that they are suitable for incineration. The waste from the bunker is fed into the incinerator by a grab crane. As the incinerator is operated at temperatures of between 850 and 1,000 degrees Celsius, a lining of refractory material protects the incinerator walls from the extreme heat and corrosion. After incineration, the waste is reduced to ash which is about 10% of its original volume.
  • An efficient flue gas cleaning system comprising electrostatic precipitators, lime powder dosing equipment and catalytic bag filters remove dust and pollutants from the flue gas before it is released into the atmosphere via 150m tall chimneys.
  • Ferrous scrap metal contained in the ash is recovered and sold to a local steel mill for recycling. The ash is sent to the Tuas Marine Transfer Station for disposal at the offshore Semakau Landfill


Earth Options bags are unique

In addition to keeping our bags out of landfills we do NOT have a separate bag for each of our recipes. Instead we put all the pertinent information for each recipe on the back of the bag. The addition of an individually color matched label on the front of the bag assures that the correct recipe is labelled.

Each bag is electronically stamped at the manufacturing facility.  Each stamp (on the back of all our 25 pound bags contains the Product ID as well as the Date of Manufacture. In addition each bag has a Batch ID which tells us exactly what number this bag came from which batch.  We use this ID if ever there are issues once the product is delivered to our customers.

Why is this important?

Quite simply it means that we only have to print a small number of bags at a time.  Instead of one bag for each recipe we have one bag for all recipes. Less waste occurs this way while still providing the safeguards of knowing exactly what’s in each bag.

Plastic Recycling

We have been sending all our shrink wrap to West Coast Recycling for over 7 years.

We try as much as possible to be good plastic stewards. . So throughout the last 7 years we have had 2-3 soft bale bags of plastics picked up for recycling each year. This is enough shrink wrap to fill a semi truck from top to bottom, front to back. Due to our actions the plastics do NOT find their way to a landfill, they are recycled and then remanufactured as other products.
Keeping plastic out of our oceans is becoming paramount to good environmental stewardship.

How this works

  • Plastics are collected from a variety of industrial based businesses from Metro Vancouver and western Canada.

  • Film & Rigid plastics are first collected loosely or baled in one of our compactor trucks, bins or 5-ton trucks. They are then brought back to our facility where the truck is dumped into a bunker. West coast then hand sorts the material to ensure that we get the best quality bales possible. Next, the material is shipped to a secondary processor where the bales are broken open, film is washed then shredded. After that, the plastic is pelletized and sold to manufacturers where they may use the recycled plastic pellets for new products.

  • Plastic products made from recycled film include decking, recycled bags, some pipe, pots and park benches.

Award Winning Service

7 year winner of the Consumer Choice Award for “Best Recycling Centers and Services” in the Metro Vancouver area. West coast Plastic Recycling offers a low cost plastic recycling service, and is a waste management specialist. West coast services Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Langley, Delta, Abbotsford, Port Coquitlam, and Chilliwack

Licensed Metro Vancouver Facility

They are regulated by the the regional district of Metro Vancouver and are required to adhere to Metro Vancouver’s Solid Waste and Recyclable Material Regulatory Bylaw. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Regular audits performed by Metro Vancouver.
  • Quarterly reports provided to Metro Vancouver.
  • Proper waste water treatment and management.
  • Approved operating procedures.
  • Proper fire and safety procedures.

What other green initiatives are part of Pets First?

  • Our foods are railed in by container which is substantially less polluting than using trucks and the highway system.
  • Our concept is direct with very few middle men so there are less miles on every bag. Many of the courier companies have less polluting vehicles.
  • All empty toner cartridges are returned for recycling
  • All in house plastic and glass (coffee cup lids, bottles) are separated from the garbage and taken for recycling
  • Use wind to cool the office (we just keep the doors open) – only use A/C in extreme conditions.
  • Lights are turned off when offices and warehouse not in use.

In each of these initiatives there is a cost. This cost is absorbed by Pets First. We take environmental protection and all of these actions as a corporate responsibility.