STOCKTON Heath based Pets Pantry have successfuly launched a zero-waste pet food refill station, where customers can come in with their own containers and fill up their favourite pet and wildlife foods.
As the family run business prepares to celebrate 40 years of trading Karen Hodgkins was decided to launch the new refill station after being inspired by lots of zero waste human food shops popping up throughout the UK.
She believes Pets Pantry based on London Road in the village are the first pet store to introduce a zero-waste refill option for pet food.
She said: “Even though we have for many years recycled and reused our waste plastic, we now want to go that step further and ultimately try to reduce all our single use plastic.
“Our refill station is now available in store and the response from customers has been amazing. We have even had people pop in that don’t have pets congratulating us on such a good concept and thanking us for introducing it.
“As a small family business, it has been quite an investment to install these dispensers along with the zero waste scales, however it is an expense, well worth it for the damage that plastic does to our oceans and wildlife.
“So, if we can be part of reducing single use plastic, we would be delighted. Originally, we chose 18 starter food dispensers with a food for every pet, but we have had so many requests for other foods that we currently stock in packaging, that we can see that we will be increasing our range in the dispensers; as more people come along to use them.
“Already customers are bringing in their own containers, or using our £1 container deposit scheme, for those people who haven’t got as suitable container, and these are already being brought back for refilling.
“Customers of all ages are using the refill station, little ones are coming in quite excited to refilling their containers with swan and duck food to feed the local ducks. Every, single use plastic bag we save is Fantastic!!
“As someone who has been trying for many years to reduce plastic packaging and waste in my own household; it seems a natural progression to spread this into the business. I realise Pets Pantry isn’t going to save the world on its own, but it is these little steps, that we all make, that change the world. For me and our team watching and listening to customers engage with the refill station, is so heartening.
“At the beginning of this year I volunteered to join a coastal conservation programme in Thailand and along with beach cleans, micro plastic data collection and educating young people on protecting their wildlife, I was also involved in turtle conservation.
“Some of the older turtles had been so damaged and deformed by plastic waste in our seas, that they would never recover. Such a sad thing to see and I hope in some way we are helping by doing our bit to help prevent such scenes.”
For more information visit www.petspantry.uk