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Animal Essentials, a Phoenix-based natural pet supplement manufacturer, is now certified Plastic Neutral by Plastic Credit Platform rePurpose Global. In partnership with rePurpose Global, the company will fund the recovery of as much nature-bound plastic waste as it uses across its packaging and distribution, company officials said. This bold commitment by Animal Essentials is part of a wider plastic waste action strategy that includes plastic waste reduction and public awareness of the global plastic waste crisis, officials added.

By contributing a percentage of every product purchase to plastic reduction efforts, Animal Essentials is enabling the removal of more than 6,630pounds of plastic waste otherwise landfilled, burned or flushed into the oceans every year. Through its partnership with rePurpose Global, the company is supporting vetted waste management projects in Aurangabad, India to collect and process hard-to-recycle waste streams otherwise too low value to be reclaimed from the environment, such as chocolate wrappers, chips packets, and similar flexible packaging items, officials said.

By going Plastic Neutral, Animal Essentials is not only tackling a $30 billion per year funding gap that plagues recycling supply chains worldwide, but is also adding a crucial income stream for more than 40 waste workers and their families in Aurangabad, India, officials said. Today, informal waste workers often earn less than $5 a day, work in precarious conditions and face severe discrimination despite providing a crucial societal service for cities across the developing world. Through this initiative, the company is boosting these waste workers’ income by attaching value to hard-to-recycle plastics, while supporting experienced recycling social enterprises who holistically uplift waste workers through occupational safety, health insurance, and skills training.

Animal Essentials recognizes the grave threat that plastic pollution poses to the future of our planet and is planning to take further action against this epidemic, officials said. The U.S pet industry was responsible for an estimated 300 million pounds of plastic waste in 2020 alone, according to the company.

“We have seen the devastating amount of waste generated every day by our industry, so to us, the urgency of this crisis was impossible to ignore and we decided to step up. Our planet needs us and Animal Essentials is taking strong strides to do our part,” said Greg Tilford, CEO of Animal Essentials. “This is only the beginning, as we continue to search for more sustainable, Earth-friendly packaging materials for all of our products.

“Our mission has always been to offer our customers the highest quality product experience while creating a deep impact on society. We truly believe in the power of brands to affect long-lasting change,” Tilford added.

Animal Essentials’ commitment to society can be traced back to its inception in 1995, when the company set its policy to utilize ingredients that are sustainably produced in ways that support organic farming and deep-ecological resource stewardship practices, officials said.

“Environmental protection is at the core of Animal Essentials. It’s so refreshing to see them push the boundaries on tackling the plastic waste problem. Forward-thinking brands like Animal Essentials are the need of the hour. We hope this pioneering move pushes more brands to take responsibility for their own plastic waste,” said Aditya Siroya, co-founder and chief impact officer of rePurpose Global.