Can You Recycle Empty Purina Cat Food Bags? The Answer May Surprise You


With pet ownership on the rise in recent years, it’s natural for pet parents to have questions about what happens to pet food packaging after use. Specifically, many wonder whether Purina cat food bags can be recycled. This article provides an overview of the recyclability of Purina cat food bags, including details on the materials used, preparation needed, and options for curbside pickup, drop-off locations, and upcycling. We’ll also touch on the environmental impact and efforts by pet food companies like Purina to increase sustainability. The goal is to leave readers informed on how to responsibly dispose of used cat food bags.

Materials Used in Purina Bags

Most Purina bags are made from a combination of materials including plastic, paper, and metal. The exact materials vary depending on the type of food and packaging.
According to Purina, many of their dry food bags use a combination of paper and plastic, while wet food often comes in plastic or aluminum pouches and cans.

The outer layer of Purina’s dry food bags is typically made from paper or cardboard. This provides strength to hold the kibble as well as a surface for printing logos, product information, and graphics. The inner layer that directly contacts the food is made from polyethylene plastic. This seals in freshness and prevents the food from going stale. In between the paper and plastic layers there may be a thin layer of foil.

For wet cat foods like pates or gravies, Purina uses multilayer aseptic pouches made from a combination of plastic and aluminum. The innermost layer touching the food is polyethylene, with the outer layers being polyester, aluminum, and polyethylene in turn. The aluminum barrier helps keep out oxygen to maintain freshness and product quality.

By understanding the different materials that go into Purina’s pet food packaging, we can evaluate how readily recyclable or reusable each component is. The paper layers can typically be recycled through standard paper/cardboard recycling programs. The fate of the plastic and metal layers is more nuanced depending on your local recycling capabilities.


Purina has made commitments to make their packaging more sustainable and recyclable. Starting in 2023, some of their small pet food bags will be recyclable at store drop-off locations ( By 2024, Purina plans to transition their paper bags to also be recyclable (

To determine if your specific Purina pet food bag is recyclable, check the label for the How2Recycle logo and instructions. The bags made from polypropylene #5 plastic are accepted for recycling at many grocery stores. Purina aims for all their packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2025 (


Properly preparing Purina cat food bags is an important first step before recycling. Most cat food bags consist of multiple layers of materials like plastic, foil, and paper which need to be separated. According to Go! Solutions, start by neatly cutting open the top of the bag and emptying out any remaining food. Then, peel apart the different layers of the bag to separate the plastic, foil, and paper materials. The plastic components can typically be recycled, while foil lined bags will need to go in the trash. Any paper layers may be able to be recycled depending on if they are waxed or coated. It’s recommended to check with your local recycling center on their specifications for recycling paper from pet food bags.

Curbside Pickup

Many major pet retailers like Petco and PetSmart offer curbside pickup services that allow you to conveniently buy pet food online and pick it up at the store without having to go inside. This makes it easy to recycle pet food bags by dropping them off when picking up your order.

For example, Petco offers Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPUS) for online orders over $35. You can select curbside pickup when checking out online, then call the store when you arrive and an associate will bring out your order. This allows you to easily drop off any empty pet food bags to recycle when picking up your pet supplies (1).

Similarly, PetSmart offers curbside pickup for online orders. You can select “Pick Up Curbside” during checkout, drive to the store, park in a designated spot, and call to have an associate bring out your order. This gives you the ability to return recyclable pet food bags at the same time (2).

Checking if your local pet retailer offers curbside pickup can make recycling pet food bags much more convenient.

Drop-off Locations

If curbside recycling pickup is not available in your area, you can bring empty Purina cat food bags to drop-off locations that accept pet food bag recycling.

Many pet supply stores have collection bins on site. For example, Pet Supplies Plus stores across the country have bins where customers can drop off empty pet food bags to be recycled. According to their website, “Drop off your empty bags in our dedicated collection bins, located in all our local neighborhood stores. The Recycling Journey.”

You can also look for TerraCycle collection sites in your area that participate in their Wellness Pet Food Recycling Program. This allows you to drop off flexible plastic pet food packaging to be recycled. As noted on their site, “Send in your flexible plastic pet food packaging waste, and we’ll recycle it.” There are thousands of public drop-off locations across the country that accept pet food bags and packaging.

Check online to find specific drop-off locations near you that accept empty pet food bags for recycling. Many pet stores, vet offices, shelters, community centers, and recycling depots can serve as convenient drop-off points.

Upcycling Ideas

There are many creative ways to reuse Purina pet food bags rather than simply throwing them away. Here are some fun DIY projects to give the bags new life:

Grow bags – Cut the bag open, remove any plastic liner, and fill with soil to plant flowers, herbs or vegetables. The bags make convenient, portable grow bags. Just be sure to poke drainage holes in the bottom.2

Lunch bags – Craft cute lunch bags for kids by cutting the bag into a square shape, folding over the top and adding a handle. Decorate with markers, stickers or iron-on patches.

Christmas stockings – Fold the bottom corner of the bag and cut a stocking shape. Decorate with holiday trims like fur, bells and pom poms.

Wallets – Fuse two bags together, then use the outer print sides as the wallet exterior. Add card slots, a pocket and wrist strap.

Thorn protection – Slip hands into cut arm holes in the bag to protect against thorns when gardening. Bags can also cover sharp garden waste.

Leaf collection – Bag leaves, grass clippings and garden debris by using the intact bag. Poke air holes if leaving outdoors.

Environmental Impact

Recycling pet food bags like those from Purina provides important environmental benefits. Plastic bags and packaging make up a significant portion of landfill waste. Recycling reduces the amount of plastic ending up in landfills, which helps conserve landfill space. It also decreases litter and plastic pollution.

Recycling pet food bags also reduces the need for new plastic production. Creating new plastic from raw materials like oil requires energy and emits greenhouse gases. Recycling existing plastic consumes less energy and lower emissions. This helps combat climate change.

Further, recycling allows plastic bags to be remade into new products, closing the loop on plastic waste. This supports the circular economy and more sustainable use of plastic resources. Overall, recycling pet food bags like Purina’s is an easy way for pet owners to minimize waste and environmental impact.

Pet Food Companies

Many pet food companies are taking steps to use more sustainable and recyclable packaging. For example, Purina launched an initiative encouraging pet owners to recycle pet food cans, stating that “Pet food cans are 100 percent recyclable, but consumers’ help is required to ensure they make it into the recycling bin.”

Wellness Pet Food has also partnered with TerraCycle to offer a free recycling program for flexible plastic pet food packaging. As pet owners become more environmentally conscious, initiatives like these allow companies to show their commitment to sustainability.

According to Pet Food Processing, pet food brands are starting to respond to calls for more recyclable packaging. By using recyclable materials, companies can attract customers who care about reducing waste. While progress is being made, there is still room for improvement in developing packaging that is easily recyclable or compostable.


In conclusion, most Purina cat food bags can be recycled, but it depends on the specific materials used in the bag. Preparing the bags properly by rinsing, drying, and flattening them can help increase the chance they will be accepted by local recycling programs. While curbside pickup or drop-off locations are good options, upcycling the bags into other useful items is also environmentally friendly. Pet food companies like Purina should aim to increase recyclability and educate consumers on proper disposal. With some effort, we can keep these pet food bags out of landfills. The best next step is to check with your local municipality to find the most suitable recycling options in your area.

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