Discontinuing Single-Use Plastic Cat Food Pouches

Sustainability and reducing our plastic use is a very important goal at The Happy Beast. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task to accomplish in the pet food industry. However, we still feel strongly that it is an important goal to strive towards, which is why we are discontinuing our single-use plastic cat food pouches.

Single-use plastic pouches have been growing in popularity over the past 5 years as an alternative to canned foods. This is because pouches are supposed to retain the flavor of the food better than a typical aluminum can since no heat is used in the sterilization process. However, this relatively small benefit to flavor has come at a significant cost to our environment.

The problem with these types of single-use plastic pouches is that they are made up of several different kinds of plastic and cannot be easily separated and recycled by most recycling facilities. In fact, the only way we’ve found to recycle these pouches is to send them to a New Jersey based company called TerraCycle that specializes in hard-to-recycle materials. 

While TerraCycle is a great option, many people can’t afford to implement a similar program into their homes, or just do not have the means to do so (e.g. Living in an apartment complex, restrictive HOA, etc.). Even with TerraCycle as an option, these pouches often create more wasted resources because they need to be thoroughly cleaned out, rinsed, and dried in order to recycle them. 

And all that effort is just for the pouches that are recycled! Unfortunately, the vast majority of single-use pouches are simply thrown into the trash where they end up in landfills or in the environment. can clog storm drains, harm wildlife, and even end up in our food as we consume animals that have ingested plastic products.

According to the UN, “plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste globally.” and it is estimated that 79% of all plastic waste produced is now in landfills, 12% has been incinerated, and 9% has been recycled.

Conversely, aluminum cans are 100% recyclable and can be recycled almost indefinitely. Unfortunately, as a society, we currently only recycle about 50% of the aluminum used in consumer products, but that’s primarily due to a lack of education and infrastructure rather than a limitation of the material. What’s more, in Boulder County, all of the aluminum pet food cans we carry at The Happy Beast can be recycled through single-stream recycling services, which are available to nearly all residential and commercial buildings.

Overall, we feel that discontinuing single-use plastic pet food pouches in favor of aluminum cans is simply our next step towards reaching our sustainability goals. We plan to discontinue carrying all pouches by Earth Day 2020. We will continue to provide a variety of food and packaging alternatives for our customers to try, in order to help you find the best option for your pet. As always, we want to help provide the best possible nutrition options for your pets, and simply want to do our part to lessen the impact on the environment and improve our sustainability.

Feel free to reach out to us at with any questions or concerns. Thanks!

Additional Resources

Easy Tips for Low-Waste Living

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”  – Anne Marie Bonneau

This year, in honor of Earth Day, we’re once again taking the opportunity to review our sustainability efforts and find ways to improve. The planet needs us and there are lots of ways that we can help. The problems and solutions can often seem overwhelming and unattainable. However, the reality is that small changes in our awareness, attitudes, and lifestyles can have huge impacts on our environment and make a world of difference. Movements start with people (and now our pets!), and we want to encourage everyone to join us in our efforts to reduce waste and become more sustainable in everything we do. Because the choices we make matter.

We’re also working on a new Sustainability page on our website, which will help keep track of our efforts and share everything we’ve learned to date. We’ve also a compiled a list of resources that have helped us reduce our waste and make choices that put the planet first. We are nowhere near perfect, but try to make  progress everyday, and are encouraged by all the wonderful information and resources available on low-waste living.

From a business perspective, we have a lot of exciting goals for 2019 and beyond. So far this year we have:

  • Stopped using printed receipts in favor of emailed receipts
  • Stopped offering single-use shopping bags in favor of reused boxes or reusable shopping bags
  • Offset 100% of our electricity use with Xcel Energy’s Windsource program
  • Continued to expand our partnership with Eco-cycle and Terracycle in responsibly disposing of our customers’ plastic pet food packaging.
  • Significantly expanded our bulk food and treat options, including The Beast Feast, our own line of dehydrated treats for cats and dogs.
  • Started working with the City of Lafayette and Boulder County to implement dog waste composting at The Great Bark Dog Park.

Stop by the store during Earth Week for special deals and stay tuned for our “Sustainability” page for a full list of our existing efforts and a list of our friends and partners. For now, we’re including a list below of some of our favorite sustainability-related websites and experts.

Lastly, we always welcome your input and commitment to helping us achieve our sustainability goals – let us know if you ever have any questions or ideas on how we can keep getting better. Happy Earth Day everyone!


A Greener Beast

We’re preparing for a greener 2019 and we can achieve our sustainability goals with your support:

  • Beginning January 1, 2019, we will be eliminating paper shopping bags in the store and encouraging the use of reusable tote bags and boxes instead. If you have a stockpile of reusable tote bags at home, please consider donating them to our bag “lending tree.”
  • To decrease packaging, we will be offering more treats in bulk. We are also requesting our vendors to use less plastic and styrofoam.
  • When selecting beef products, we are choosing more grass-fed and finished sources. Anderson’s Natural Pet Food, The Beast Feast, and Answers all use responsibly sourced beef.
  • Members of The Happy Beast Team are working diligently at home to reduce plastic waste and make more informed decisions as consumers. Check out some of our favorite resources:
Happy Earth Day from The Happy Beast: Celebrating the Lafayette Green Business Program

Happy Earth Day: Celebrating the Lafayette Green Business Program

In honor of Earth Day, we’re thrilled to announce The Happy Beast has received gold certification as part of the 2017 Lafayette Green Business Program!

This is our third year in the program, and along with 93 other Lafayette Green Businesses, is one of the ways we work to exemplify the best of Lafayette, help shape a vibrant green economy, and champion a more sustainable future for our customers and residents. Overall, the sustainability upgrades Lafayette businesses have made are saving over $50,000 per year on utility bills and are equivalent to taking 100 cars off the road.

Click here for a full list of participating Lafayette businesses and remember to support them by shopping locally.

At The Happy Beast, we are extremely proud to achieve the highest award for waste diversion, water conservation, and energy efficiency, and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing customers! You can read more about our dedication to sustainability on our blog, but here’s a quick list of our current initiatives:

  • Environmentally-Friendly Purchasing Policy: Toys, treats, and foods made from reputable manufacturers with high environmental standards as well as eliminating products containing palm oil, which contribute to deforestation
  • Recycling: Cardboard, paper, and plastic single-stream recycling
  • Composting: Food waste and scraps
  • Zero Waste Boxes: Customers are invited to bring empty pet food packaging back to The Happy Beast for recycling through our partnership with TerraCycle
  • Water Efficiency: Low-flow aerators on faucets and upgraded dog wash sprayers with efficient flow and auto-off functionality
  • LED Lighting: Replaced old incandescent lights with new LED lights acquired through Xcel Energy and PACE rebate programs
  • Reusable Shopping Bags: Provide $.10 bag credits and reusable shopping bags for purchase
  • Smart Electronics Policy: Smart power strips and automatic sleep functionality for all computers
  • Energy Efficient Appliances: EnergyStart certified washer and dryer and automatic thermostat programming
  • Pet Food Donations: Reusing and donating pet food items for local animal shelters and rescues

In addition to these efforts, to further support the Lafayette Green Business Program, I’ll be leading two Green Business Marketing Workshops on May 1 at Confluence Small Business Collective. See below for more info or contact to learn more.

Lastly, thanks to all of the organizations who collaborate to help make this program happen: the City of Lafayette, the Lafayette Energy Sustainable Advisory Committee (LESAC), the Lafayette Waste Reduction Advisory Committee (WRAC), Xcel Energy, and Boulder County’s Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) have partnered to offer the recognition opportunity.



Totnes Transition Town - The Happy Beast

Transition Town Totnes and the Path to Sustainability

Totnes in the United Kingdom is my dream town. Well, at least when it comes to sustainability it is. In terms of weather, I’ll take beautiful Lafayette over dreary ol’ England any day. But with a little work, we can make our community just as sustainable.

I had never heard of Totnes until recently, when I was listening to a TED Radio Hour about finite resources. It is one (and the first) of 350 towns and cities across the world participating in the Transition Town Movement. The Transition Town Movement is a model of sustainability created by Rob Hopkins. The purpose of this social movement is for communities to begin shifting away from their reliance on fossil fuels and to begin focusing on manufacturing and purchasing local goods and commodities in order to increase their resilience and insulate them from any negative effects of a rapidly changing global economic system. The people of Totnes have developed an Energy Descent Action Plan that provides a guide for their own town and others to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and lower our carbon footprints.

So what does my sustainable dream town have to do with pet food and supplies? Well, to us, sustainability is the foundation of everything we do. We love living and working in Lafayette and we’re dedicated to constantly analyzing how our own actions impact our community. Because sustainability issues are quite complex, we continue to be a part of the Lafayette Green Business Program and look for ways to strengthen our commitment year after year. Check out our progress so far by reading our previous blog posts (links below).

This year, we’ve been looking even more critically at what we throw away, including assessing the effects of packaging and diverting more waste away from landfills by using Eco-Cycle’s CHaRM facility and Terracycle. Here’s a bit more about these great organizations:

  • CHaRM or the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials and is run by Eco-Cycle, a local nonprofit organization out of Boulder that’s been in business for over 40 years! At the CHaRM facility Eco-Cycle recycles materials that typically are sent to landfills, but don’t need to be, including cooking oil, cement, small appliances, yoga mats, and all types of plastics. At The Happy Beast, we use CHARM to recycle the clear plastic packaging that wraps larger shipments of canned pet food and bulk treats. Eco-Cycle charges a $3 fee for every vehicle, in addition to the recycling fees that apply to specific materials like electronics, bike tires, and porcelain, but there is no additional fee for most plastics. And if you’re planning to use CHaRM on a regular basis, we recommend setting up a business account, which reduces the $3 trip fee.
  • Terracycle is a global waste management company based in New Jersey that aims to reuse, upcycle, and recycle almost every form of waste, including such diverse waste streams as industrial byproducts, toy action figures, styrofoam, and scraps of hair from salons – they literally recycle almost everything! At The Happy Beast, we have Terracycle Zero Waste Boxes for all our pet food packaging and personal packaging such as chip bags and to-go food containers. Earthborn, one of the great natural pet food brands we carry, even has their own program and Zero Waste Boxes with Terracycle. We encourage all our customers to return their clean, empty pet food bags to us at the store and so far we’ve collected over 1,500 bags for recycling!

Our next projects include:

  • Reducing our electricity and natural gas use with Xcel Energy by implementing additional energy efficiency measures including replacement of our existing fluorescent light bulbs and fixtures with more energy efficient LED options.
  • Identifying new opportunities through the Lafayette Green Business Program. If you own a business in Lafayette (or know someone who does) you can apply for free through the City of Lafayette website.
  • Offsetting our carbon footprint through Terrapass through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).. By purchasing RECs, we will be investing in projects that promost renewable energy like wind and solar while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Look for our implementation of this project this fall.

All the steps we are implementing at the store, we are also doing in our own homes. We want to spread the word about these amazing companies and what we can all do to make this world a healthier place for future generations.

Stay tuned for future sustainability updates and let us know if you have any other ideas or suggestions to improve our collective sustainability. And check out the links below for more information on the Transition Town Movement – perhaps Lafayette could be next!