Royal Canin pays it ‘paw-ward’ for pets and planet

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  • Endearing campaign where recycling consumers prompt pet food donation of 10 000kg

Pet nutrition expert, Royal Canin has partnered with Imagined Earth – the company that introduced reverse vending machines to South Africa last year, in a unique CSI initiative. The duo has launched an endearing marketing campaign that encourages consumers to recycle with a reward. For every one item recycled, Royal Canin SA will donate one kilogram of pet food to animal shelters across the Rainbow Nation.

“You may have heard of ‘pay it forward’ a movement encouraging acts of kindness that are passed forwards from one person to another. We’re taking that to the next level by introducing ‘pay it paw-ward’, where we hope to create a more caring society, and a better world for pets. We believe that this marketing campaign will do just that,” explained Ursula Ndhlovu, Corporate Affairs Director at Royal Canin SA, a MARS company.

The reverse vending machine is a first of its kind in South Africa, and consumers are rewarded for their earth-friendly behaviours when recycling. Royal Canin has a goal to feed as many shelter animals as possible by collecting 10 000kg of pet food. The food will be distributed to animal shelters including Kitty & Puppy Haven, Friends of Rescued Animals (F.O.R.A), Fallen Angels, Langebaan Animal Care and Pietermaritzburg Animal Rescue.

“We’re urging consumers to take plastic, glass, Tetra Pak and metal items to the reverse vending machines. For every item that you recycle with us a pet shelter will receive one kilogram of Royal Canin food. Your act of goodness means we can pay it forward to animals in shelters.”

The colourful red recycling machines are easy to spot: they’re branded ‘paw-ward’ and have a black and white kitten image – both synonymous with the Royal Canin brand. They are located as follows: East Rand Mall, (Johannesburg); Cornubia Mall, close to Umhlanga (Durban); and Willowbridge Centre, Tyger Valley (Cape Town).

“Our campaign has attracted overwhelming warmth and positive feedback from South Africans, and as such we are extending the campaign and adding more locations. Our goal is to have 10 000 items recycled which will mean ten tonnes of much needed food will go a long way to help alleviate the strain on our country’s pet shelters,” said Ndhlovu. 

The reverse vending machines (RVM’s) accept most barcoded glass, plastic, Tetra Pak, and metal items that are no larger than two liters, and are in a solid form i.e., hard plastic, not packets or bags. A complete list of accepted items is available on the Imagined Earth mobile app for ease of reference and can be downloaded on Apple or Android.

“We are calling on all South Africans to recycle; not only will it help desperately needy pets in this case, but we believe it’s our shared responsibility to promote a greener, healthier planet for all. Our brand is globally

committed to sustainability, and this campaign is aligned to our strategy of becoming ‘Sustainable in a Generation’, focusing on a healthy planet, thriving people, and nourishing wellbeing for pets,” concluded Ndhlovu.

Learn more about the campaign:

Get in on the social action: | Read about MARS’ Sustainable in a Generation plan: