During National Recycling Week (19-25 September), a feed company has shared how it is working to help reduce its environmental impact and has explained why moving away from plastic isn’t always the most eco-friendly option.

Dengie says there is “no viable alternative” to packaging its feeds in plastic due to the nature of its product. The feeds include ingredient such as rapeseed oil “at much higher levels” than typically found in cereal-based feeds and paper packaging would not be suitable, they said.

In addition, they say paper isn’t strong enough to withstand the force of packing machines at the size and scale of packaging used for horse feed currently.

“The plastic packaging is vital for ensuring Dengie’s feeds remain fresh and protected from the elements as well as reducing the risk of contamination – a particularly important consideration for those feeding competition or racehorses,” said Katie Williams, Dengie’s Technical Manger. “To achieve this with paper packaging it is often coated with wax or lacquer which prevents the packaging from being recycled after use.”

Although paper is often perceived to be more environmentally friendly, reports show that manufacturing and distribution of the same quantity of paper bags produces 70 times more air pollution and 50 times more water pollution compared to plastic. Paper also takes 91 times more energy to recycle compared to plastic.

In 2020, Dengie introduced recycled plastic into their packaging at the maximum level it is currently possible to include, which can itself be recycled where facilities exist.

The company uses around 60 tons of recycled material in its packaging each year, which equates to 150,000 four-pint milk bottles.

“We are now able to send the waste plastic generated during the bagging of the horse feeds back to our supplier who will recycle it on our behalf, which is closing the loop in terms of managing waste plastic,” added Katie. “Whilst we can’t take plastic back from customers yet, there are opportunities to recycle through council sites and collection services.”

We want to hear how your yard reduces its waste and works to protect the environment. Please share your tips via email to rachaelmaryturnerhook@gmail.com 

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