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Purina leads effort to recycle plastic feed tubs used by livestock

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Purina is spearheading a campaign with other retailers and customers in the agricultural industry to collect used feed tubs and recycle them into eco-friendly options that give back to the community, such as smarter fencing, benches and more

Feed tubs are a staple in the animal nutrition industry — they house nutritional supplements for livestock, and once those tubs are licked clean, farmers and ranchers end up using them for things such as storage or as planters. Or the tubs end up stacked high in the some out-of-the-way spot on the farm, collecting dust.

That’s what Purina hopes to change.

“As our feed tub product line continues to grow, we are increasingly aware of the responsibility and opportunity to create more of a closed loop system,” says Dave Hoogmoed, president, Purina Animal Nutrition and executive vice president or Land O’Lakes Inc. “We will strive to walk the walk on sustainability.”

Image courtesy of Purina

Here’s how it works:

Purina partnered with a retailer in the Northwest and piloted a “Tub Return Program” in conjunction with Check-R-Board Days this past September, during which they offered customers discounts on new feed tubs if they brought back any old ones — including competitors’ — to be recycled. Working with Northstar Recycling, it was organized to have the used tubs sent to a plastic lumber manufacturer, Bedford Technology in Southwest Minnesota, to be recycled into lumber used in items like smarter fencing, benches, rails, and more.

The tubs from the pilot are chipped, melted, extruded into various sizes and shapes. (Fun fact: Every linear foot included in a 2-inch by 6-inch plastic lumber board contains more than 3 pounds of recycled material.)

The aim going into 2020 is to expand the recycling program to California, as well as the Southwest and Northeast U.S.

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