How can I reuse or recycle pet food pouches?

Our lovely old cat Boron has had the last of his teeth taken out this week – he’s always been prone to gum problems and while gummy, he seems happier now his mouth isn’t so inflamed.

Our vet says he might still be able to have dry food – which has made up the bulk of his diet for most of his life – but once he (Boron, not the vet) knows we’ll give him more wet food if it’s too painful/awkward for him to eat biscuits, I suspect he’ll made demands for that all the time.

When we had four cats, we used to feed them cat food from cans – a can per day between the four of them as a treat, alongside unlimited dry biscuits – but after losing two of them, cans were resulting in too much food waste and we had to switch onto pouches. It was a struggle for me, giving up easy-to-recycle cans in favour of annoying just-about-impossible pouches — a toss up between packaging waste and food waste.

Now Boron is going to be eating more wet food, we might be justified in moving back onto cans – or, sigh, we might just end up generating more pouches.

I’ve contacted a couple of cat food companies to see what they advise doing with the pouches – I’ll update this post when I hear back from them – but in the meantime, do you use pet food pouches?

Do you have any reuses or recycling ideas for them?

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13 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle pet food pouches?”

  1. bookstorebabe says:

    I can’t see a good reuse. They’re small, and despite much scrubbing, would smell fishy, I’m sure. But-what if you did buy canned cat food, and used an empty pouch to hold the leftover food until tomorrow? Close it at the top with a clothespin, and pop it in the fridge?

  2. Sorry, can’t find a reuse either. How about we try to lobby pet food manufacturers to switch to more easily recyclable, reusable or compostable single-use packaging while trying to rack our brains for a good reuse?

    My furry gang and I send Boron our love.

  3. This is a tough one but I think perhaps the trick here is to build up a large number of cleaned pouches (they cna store flat until you have enough). Once you have a decent number of them they could be mounted vertically on a board using stapes to make wall storage units for buttons, needles etc.

  4. Alice says:

    Mine gets biscuits in the morning and one third of a can of meat at night (she was overweight when I got her so she only gets “unlimited” water!).

    I keep the open can in the fridge with a can cover on it – if you don’t have anything to cover a can with then that’s a really good excuse to eat a jar of Nutella, which comes packaged in a plain reusable glass with a reusable plastic lid which is ideal for covering open cans of food.

    I still keep pouches for when I’m away, cos I think it’s much less hassle for my neighbours to give her a pouch than try to judge one third of a can, and that also means using them myself the day or two before I go away to avoid opening a can that’s not going to be finished.

    But cans are way cheaper per meal and I think I get the best of both worlds this way. Could do with suggestions for reusing the pouches I do have though, I’m a bit stumped!

  5. anna says:

    If they can be totally cleaned inside (and not leave any smell on them after), you could sew them together the same way they make those juice pouch bags, clothes etc. I’d love to make a nice, durable shopping bag or purse out of cat food pouches – they would be way more awesome than those made out of the juice pouches.

    I rarely use those pouches for our kitties. I’m not sure how much more ecological or recyclable the small cans are though – my cats love Purina’s Fancy Feist dishes, those are soft and with the gravy and come in the small cans (one feeds both for breakfast or dinner – other times they have dry food available). I guess those could be reused to hold small things – but what to do with dozens of empty cans? (The “recyclability” of anything in Texas: there is just trash.)

    By the way for anyone who uses the cat food in bigger size cans: there are some cat food can lids. I bought a set of two made of silicone, and those are awesome, colorful and distinctive enough in fridge so they won’t be used or confused with human cans.

  6. cathy moore says:

    I’m not familiar with the size of these pouches but I have been re purposing pouches from Raisinettes, Splenda, cookie mixes, etc. Many come with Zip-loc strips so they’re easy to reuse. Ones that don’t can be closed with a strip of adhesive Velcro. I use them to store crafting supplies, leftovers, anything you can use a Zip-loc to do. I stick a white label on the outside to write what’s in it – you can cross out & rewrite many times on one label.
    To clean I put in a little dish soap & HOT water, shake it up to get into the corners & let them sit, full of the soapy water, overnight in the sink. For kitty food baking soda might give you that extra boost you need.
    Hope this helps!!

  7. Sapharica says:

    I always wondered about sewing them together like the drink ‘sachets’ to make bags, but because you pull the top off instead of inserting a straw I can’t yet see a way of doing it.

    On another note, what is the best way to open a pet food sachet as I can never get the whole lot out and am fed up of wasting food.

    • JohnMan says:

      I find the sachets open perfectly if you tear from one side and when you’re most of the way across, tear from the other side. That way you don’t have an annoying flap dangling about while trying to serve the food!

  8. VICKI BENTU says:

    I find my 2 cats only like the food that comes in the pouches which is annoying as pouches are not recycable. If they put the same variety of food in cans I would definately buy the cans.

  9. Mark Holder says:

    There must be a way of maybe bundling them up and ethically disposing of thousands of small shiny meat scented pouches that will undoubtedly harm wildlife.
    They are electrically conductive if you scratch away the plastic coating. Battery cells and capacitive properties spring to mind for any tech geeks out there??

  10. Jill says:

    I feed 12 feral cats plus my own 2 cats.
    I’m given some donation food for the ferals which is usually pouches.
    My 2 also eat the pouch food.
    Our bins are only emptied once a month in Wales. That’s an awful lot of pouches!
    I really think that if companies can’t supply recyclable materials they shouldn’t be allowed to produce their products.
    It’s the only way a change can be made.

  11. Lily says:

    A company called Terracycle have a recycling scheme where you drop off pet food pouches and bags at their drop-off boxes throughout the UK and they recycle them, free of charge. Here’s a link

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