By Anna Sekula Posted April 16, 2010, 1:46 PM EDT
NEW YORK To shed light on the recyclability of its packaging and commemorate the 40th annual Earth Day, Friskies and Fancy Feast invited pet owners to fashion art from used cat food cans and showcased the resulting collection of chandeliers, mosaics, and more than 100 other submissions at a feline-inspired gallery on Wednesday night. Littered with cat-scratching pedestals, messages about recycling, and eco-friendly decor, the event drew 100 cat lovers to Openhouse Gallery.
“Between the two brands, we produce more than three billion cans a year and only 20 percent of those cans are being recycled. So there's a huge opportunity for us to increase awareness and show that small changes can have a big impact,” explained Sara Howell, marketing associate for the Fancy Feast brand team.
The effort, part of “Together We Can,” a waste-reducing promotion launched by the Nestlé Purina-owned companies and benefiting environmental organization Keep America Beautiful, was also designed to reach consumers at a personal level and involve them in a visible way.
“We've done a significant amount of research around the topic of sustainability with our brand users and of all the various sustainability benefits that pet owners were seeking. Not surprisingly, recycling rose to the top. So not only do we have a significant opportunity to make an impact, given our scale in the marketplace, but it's a very relevant issue and one that consumers are telling us that we should be addressing,” said Mark Brodeur, director of environmental sustainability for Nestlé Purina.
To expand on that message, Friskies and Fancy Feast will auction the works off on eBay starting April 19, are donating $1 for every pledge made on the Together We Can Web site, and creating new displays at key retailers. “Clearly not everyone has the time or the inclination to create artwork, so we are engaging folks in other ways through the Keep America Beautiful partnership and through social media. It's going to be really interesting to see which platforms are going to be the most successful. It's a learning process and we'll build on that learning as we expand this program,” Brodeur said.