Meet our new recyclable packaging
At Gourmate HQ we believe in being transparent and straightforward, so here’s some info about our new packaging and why we ended up making a change.
In mid-2021 we started a big packaging review. We knew we were going to need to order more packaging soon, including for our new Salmon treat.
If you just want the facts, jump to our Recycling Guide.
At Gourmate we need packaging that does a few things - firstly, it must provide a good barrier against moisture and air, because these are the two things that can spoil freeze dried meat over time. It must also be tough enough to protect our treats during their lifetime - from the packing process, to getting shipped around the world, to being in stores and ultimately handled by dog parents of the world.
Another requirement for our packaging is that it has a resealable zip for freshness and to keep the rich and delicious seafood aroma in the pouch. We know our treats smell amazing, but not everyone wants their car, bag, or living room to smell like Hoki fresh from the Pacific Ocean.
You may know that we had previously used compostable packaging, and one of the reasons we had to make a change was that it wasn’t as reliable during shipping and handling, especially as we grew as a company and needed to export further away and under different situations (for example, we need packaging that is guaranteed to hold up if it got stuck on a container ship in a hot climate).
We were also learning more and more about how little compostable packaging actually ends up in the compost, and that it mucks up recycling schemes, most commercial composting operations don’t like it, and it releases about the same amount of greenhouse gases as plastic if it ends up in landfill.
In short, because recycling is more accessible than composting, it’s what consultants and jurisdictions recommend for a circular economy.
After talking to experts on four continents, doing a huge amount of our own research into packaging materials, and learning about packaging lifecycles around the world, we landed on getting a recyclable pouch made of layered plastic.
To get technical, our packaging is made of PET12/PA15/PE90 This means there are three layers of material: 12 microns of polyethylene terephthalate (polyester), 15 microns of polyamide (nylon), and 90 microns of polyethylene. It's made of 70% PE, which is important for recyclability.
We did try some unique packs that were 96% PE (the more homogenous the material, the easier it is to recycle) but it was really stretchy and impractical.
We also looked into bio-plastics, but it's still a new technology and we weren't happy with the information available to a small business like us.
In New Zealand and Australia our packaging fits the criteria for local flexible plastic recycling programs (that's the minimum 70% polyethelene thing).
The different programs for flexible food packaging recycling around the world can get pretty complicated, but we've tried to map it out for you.
We will keep following innovations in both packaging and recycling management so that Gourmate can continue to improve. We know there’s lots of work being done to create a more sustainable future and we want to be a part of it.
Laura & Steph