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Mars Petcare Thailand receives FMCG Asia Award for Eco-friendly Initiative of the Year

The SWAP Recycling Initiative is an eco-friendly solution to transform consumer behaviour in plastic waste management.

The Mars Petcare solution was first brought to life in Thailand, addressing the challenge of plastic waste management, and earned the FMCG Asia Award for Eco-friendly Initiative of the Year - Thailand.

The SWAP Recycling programme encourages consumers to bring back their plastic waste in exchange for discounts on Mars pet food brands. The collected packaging was re-purposed into innovative and sustainable products. This initiative has been inspired by Mars's aim to create a future where no plastic packaging becomes waste but is recycled, reused, or composted.

The programme's benefits extend beyond raising eco-consciousness amongst consumers, aiming to change culture and behaviour in plastic waste management. Mars Petcare Thailand launched the SWAP Recycling Initiative back in 2021. The first year went smoothly, with 55,848 pet owners swapping 35,000 packing bags. By the year 2022, it had gathered 655,000 bags or 7,262 kg of plastic waste. About 107,000 pet parents gave their complete support, paving the way for this extraordinary milestone to be accomplished.

As they successfully launched the second year of the SWAP Recycling Initiative in 2022, it enabled the collection and recycling of used plastic packaging into valuable goods. The initiative promotes waste management and environmental responsibility by rewarding participants with discounts on Mars pet food products, including PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, CESAR®, and SHEBA®, in exchange for empty and clean pet food bags of any brand.

The programme excels at encouraging and including pet parents in positive swapping, thus promoting the sustainability of pet ownership. The overwhelming response from 100,000+ participants reveals transforming consumer behaviour and a deeper understanding and care for environmental challenges, with 82.8% of members claiming they would continue to engage without discounts and 60% joining because of their ecological consciousness. In early 2023, the Thailand pilot programme extended to the Philippines, signifying another exciting step forward and a greater impact on Asian consumers’ plastic packaging waste management behaviours.

The plastic packaging collected within the SWAP Recycling initiative was sent to a plastic recycling plant, where it was transformed into valuable novel landscape objects like paving stones in cute shapes of cats' paws and bone-shaped park benches, all donated to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to increase the practicality and appeal of Thian Thale Phattana Phrueksa Phirom Park in Bangkok. 

By adopting a holistic approach that includes responsible waste management, Mars Petcare Thailand is setting a commendable example for reducing its plastic footprint. Another proof point is that bold thinking may open new opportunities for instilling responsible waste management habits amongst communities, including those of pet parents.

The FMCG Asia Awards is presented by Retail Asia Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2024 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's exceptional products or initiatives in the FMCG industry, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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