Award Winning Natural Planet Organics

It’s Feeding Time with Ecoterah

Located in Franklin, WI, noticed that conscientious consumers committed to green initiatives have moved beyond recyclable packaging to seeking out packaging derived from renewable sources. PCG is introducing an industry-first line of pet food packaging that does not use petrochemicals. The patent-pending food bags have a paper exterior and biopolymer film lining made from corn.

Minnesota-based Tuffy’s Pet Foods Inc., a 45-year-old company, is PCG’s first customer to use Ecoterah packaging. Tuffy’s decided to introduce the Ecoterah packaging for its line of Natural Planet Organics dog foods.

“We felt this packaging was the right thing to do for the environment,” says Jim Farrell, sales and marketing manager at Tuffy’s. “But we also expect it will help boost sales. Customers who want organically grown dog food are the same type of customers who are attracted to earth-friendly packaging.”

Eco-friendly, politically correct

To produce Ecoterah packaging, PCG uses EarthFirst PLA (polylactic acid) film, an earth-friendly alternative to petrochemical-based films. This clear, compostable lining is a carbon-neutral biopolymer manufactured under the trademarked resin trade name of Ingeo. Because PLA is FDA-compliant for food contact, Ecoterah packaging offers consumer and pet food manufacturers a number of benefits:
• By offering a better barrier than traditional plastic liners, it keeps foods fresh longer.
• Because it does not contain petrochemicals, it is safe for recycling, composting, and landfills.
• EarthFirst PLA Film consumes less energy during production, resulting in less greenhouse emission.
• Because it is grown, processed, and produced domestically, PCG has more control over the supply chain.

A natural growth industry

“We’re very excited to be the first to introduce compostable, earth-friendly pet food packaging to the market,” says John Goeden, PCG president. “I tell my customers that they won’t have to sacrifice on their design or printing to use environmentally friendly packaging,” he adds. Ecoterah products are suitable for various printing processes and inks, including soy-based inks.

Goeden encourages customers to showcase their dedication to the environment with their packaging and POP displays. “Consumers who are committed to green initiatives actively look for businesses that share their values,” he explains. “By providing this information, you help boost your reputation—and your bottom line.”

Compared with the new packaging, the previous flexible film pouch package was actually more expensive to produce. PCG tested and retested the new packaging format for durability and for the shelf life of the product inside. The new format equaled or surpassed the shelf life of the old packaging, there was no wicking or spotting from the fat content of the dog food, and it actually provided a better moisture barrier. The final touches were finding a water-based adhesive to seal the package and reducing a 10-color print run to seven colors, with a final pass of water-based varnish for the matte finish.

Plans are to use the new packaging for cat food next, and then market it for packaging with human food for retail. “We don’t have two levels of packaging,” explains Dan Brulz, v.p. of packaging at PCG. “Everything we do is human grade.”

Tuffy’s introduced this packaging on their branded dog food to make a strong first statement about the new packaging, and retailers have shown great interest. In addition to the eco advantages, all materials and production occur domestically in the U.S. “Their packaging is giving them a new story to tell,” Brulz concludes.

Animal Rights Awareness Week

“It is written in our own hearts – more clearly than in any book – that we should take pity on animals in the same way as we do on humans.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

Albert Einstein. Leonardo Da Vinci. Abraham Lincoln. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Mark Twain. All of them great people in history from various backgrounds. They also all had at least one thing in common: A deep concern for the rights and well-being of animals.

Animals are more than resources for humanity’s use. They are conscious beings, individuals with needs and emotions. The animal rights movement has been a vehicle for seeking justice and compassion for the animals consumed or threatened by people, even brought to extinction by humanity’s destructive impacts on the environment.

Animal Rights Awareness Week, observed this year from June 19 through 25, is a celebration of the unique relationship humans have with animals. It was created to educate the public about ways by which people can bring about a more fair and kind world for the many creatures that live on it. Animal Rights Awareness Week advances the conviction that animal rights and human rights are complementary, not contradictory, and explores the many options for lifestyles and choices which benefit both animals and humans.

Upholding animal rights influences American life beyond regular citizens simply providing pets with food, water, shelter and exercise. The welfare of animals that make it into the food chain can have an enormous impact on human health. Chickens raised in unsanitary or overcrowded conditions contribute to food borne illnesses like salmonella and E. coli. Stress and poor welfare often results in sick animals. Unscrupulous, profit-driven animal abusers try to sneak ill livestock into the food chain, passing contaminants like mad cow disease and even hepatitis A to unsuspecting consumers. Animals should not have to suffer on their way to our dinner plates.

Animals’ rights extend to wildlife as well. As humans develop more and more land, other species are being pushed out when their habitats are taken over by subdivision. Some creatures are even being pushed to the brink of extinction, if not utter annihilation. When the number of predators like wolves, mountain lions and lynx are reduced, it’s necessary for humans to manage populations of grazing animals through hunting, opening up a whole new can of worms regarding sportsmanship. Additionally, when species like the honey bee or brown bat are threatened as a result of human activity, people could be at risk, too: One species pollinates most of our crops while the other keeps insect populations in check.

Fortunately for animals, more and more people are becoming concerned about their welfare. Friends to creatures big and small are fighting for their welfare, whether it’s striving for their right to a loving home or the liberty to live wild without human encroachment.

Animal Rights Awareness Week is an excellent time to acknowledge their hard work and sacrifice. Maybe it’s even the right moment to learn about what is being done in the Minneapolis, Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota areas and what volunteer opportunities might exist. The Animal Humane Society of the Twin Cities is often involved in activities that ensure the welfare of pets.

Pet Memorial Day

World Pet Memorial Day 2011

Each year in the second week of June, pet owners and advocates around the world take time to remember their furry, feathered and finned friends that have died.

Losing a pet is a painful event. World Pet Memorial Day, observed on June 12 this year, is designated to honor, remember and celebrate the much-loved animal companions who have passed on. This is a day when people who have lost a pet can pay their respects to their departed friends and remember the times once shared together.

Not so long ago, dogs and cats were mostly kept for practical purposes. They served as hunting assistants, security and pest control. Even when they had the dual role as family pet, they were kept outside and only the luckiest had access to the shelter of outbuildings or dog houses. They were fed whatever leftover food was available and veterinary care was minimal, if they received it at all.

Things have changed. Today, pets in the United States are valued differently. Most companion animals are sheltered in homes, eat food specially designed for them and receive regular veterinary care. Some owners will spend thousands of dollars to treat a family pet for a life-threatening illness. Some dogs even go to day care.

Having a pet adds joy to a household. A bond develops as time unfolds. Some people even consider their animal companions to be part of the family. But the price to pay for a pet’s unconditional love is their relatively short life spans. In the case of most animals, humans outlive their pets by many years.

The loss of a pet is as real as any other. Though not everyone considers them to be family members, most at least consider them to be friends or companions, making their loss a significant event. Though they will be missed, they will be remembered fondly for the rest of our lives.

World Pet Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. Individuals and families can hold a memorial in honor of a lost pet. Minneapolis residents can participate in the World Pet Memorial Day by donating money, food and pet supplies to the Pet Project, which is collecting those items to assist victims of the tornado that hit the Twin Cities in May. People who have lost a pet but think they are ready to adopt another, there are many deserving animals available in local shelters, including the Animal Humane Society shelter, the Minneapolis Care & Control facility or any of the many pet rescues in the area.

Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month

Top 10 Things To Do Before You Bring Your New Cat Home

Congratulations, the cat’s out of the bag! You’ve just entered into a wonderful relationship that’s bound to be filled with fun and affection. By starting off on the right foot—that is, by being well-prepared for your new arrival—you can move through that rocky adjustment period most new relationships go through and get right down to the lovin’!

1. Make Sure Everyone In The House Is Prepared To Have A Cat

Talk to your family members before bringing a new cat home. Make sure everyone knows that the fun begins only after kitty feels safe and her needs are met. Once you’re sure everyone is ready for feeding, litter changing and grooming, you can divvy up chores among family members so everyone is prepared to care for kitty before she arrives.

2. Do You Know What Your Cat Is Trying To Tell You?

The average cat has a vocabulary of more than 16 different sounds, including purring, howling, hissing and meowing—not to mention a wide-range of playful and serious body language. Taking a glance at our Cat Care section will help you understand your cat’s behavior before you’re faced with her mysterious cat calls, pouncing and nocturnal romps.

3. Stock Up On Supplies Before Kitty Arrives

Have all of your cat’s needs ready so she can get right down to the business of making herself at home. Kitty will need:

  • A litter box and the brand of litter she’s been using
  • Food and water bowls and the food she’s used to eating
  • A sturdy, rough-textured scratching post—at least three feet high—that allows her to stretch completely while scratching
  • Safe, stimulating toys. Hint: If you give her toys that make noises, you’ll know when she’s playing.
  • A bed lined with a soft, warm blanket or towel
  • Grooming tools: a high-quality brush and nail clipper are a good start

4. Identity Is Key

Proper identification is a necessity. If your kitty is indoors-only, an ID tag or implanted microchip will help ensure she’ll be returned to you if she gets out and can’t find her way home. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. We caution against letting cats outdoors, but if you do—or if a window or door is left open—a safety collar and an ID tag may be what bring your missing cat home.

5. A Room Of One’s Own

Choose a low-traffic room your kids and other pets don’t frequent—this will be your cat’s safe space to sniff, eat, scratch and play while she gets her bearings. Arrange her food and water bowls, bed and litter box—and scatter her toys around. You can even clean off a windowsill for her and have soft music playing. She’ll appreciate the chance to feel out her new family from inside her haven.

6. Routine Behavior

Give your cat a little structure to lean on. For the first few weeks, provide him with the same kind of food and feeding schedule he had before living with you—and give him the same brand of litter, too, for a familiar scent and feel on his paws. Later on, if you wish to switch to different products, you can make a slow transition.

7. What’s New, Pussycat?

With a whole new life in store for her, Kitty will need some time and space to check out her surroundings and all of her new play things. Give her time alone in her room to get comfortable before you come in to play with her. If you have other pets, it’s a good idea to leave your new cat in her own room for a few days will allow the other animals in the house to get used to her sounds and scent. (Hint: Watch from the door to see how she leaves her carrier. Whether she pussyfoots into a dark corner or zooms out into the room, you’ll know how she feels about her new surroundings.)

8. Introducing Kitty To The Pack

Go slow at first. A cat may need seven to fourteen days to relax into her new environment. If you have kids, let them introduce themselves one at a time. Hold up on the meet-and-greets with friends, neighbors and relatives until your kitty is eating and eliminating on a normal schedule. If you have other pets, don’t let your new addition have free run of the house. This is the territory of the animals who have lived with you already. Allow all of your pets to meet in the new cat’s territory—and make sure you’re there to supervise.

9. Cat-Proof Your Home

When your cat is ready to explore the rest of her new home (for short excursions at first), be sure to get rid of stray items she might chew on or swallow, like toilet paper, tissues and paper towels. Pens and pencils may need to be kept in drawers. You may also have to tape wires to baseboards and put caps on outlets.

Put away harsh cleaning products, human medications and household poisons, and rehome any houseplants that might be toxic to her. Make sure foods that aren’t healthy for a cat’s tummy are placed securely out of reach.

10. Visit The Vet Within Her First Week

Last but not least, bring your new feline to a caring veterinarian for a wellness exam within one week after adoption. Make this appointment even before you bring your kitty home.