The Most Flexible Name In Packaging

I just hate it when I come to the bottom of a bag of dog food. It seems like the eyes of the dog on the glossy pouch get a little more soulful as I reluctantly stuff the pouch in my trashcan. Oh the guilt of a non-recyclable package!

Fortunately, I work for a company that’s about to assuage my guilt. Gateway Packaging has just introduced the packaging industry’s first totally recyclable Totani-style bag, the Pro-Recyclable Pouch.

Yup, no more throwing away my pups’ food packages. We can go green and proud!

Gateway’s Pro-Recyclable Pouch is the brainchild of Vance Fortenberry, vice president of Product Development. A growing number of our customers – actually the entire petfood industry – are clamoring for more packaging that can be recycled. Since Totani-style pouches are among our customers’ favorite package, Vance and his development team decided to start there.

“The most popular flexible package today among pet food companies is the Totani-style pouch with its box footprint and big shelf presence,” shared Vance. “It was a natural starting place for Gateway as we expand our recyclable flexible packaging portfolio.

Vance is a pretty confident guy – he’s been in the flexible packaging industry for 35 years – but he admits creating a totally recyclable Totani-style pouch was no walk in the park. Not only did Gateway have to develop a new material, we had to develop a totally new converting process!

Undeterred, Vance started by working with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to discuss testing protocols for recyclable flexible packaging.

“Existing recycling infrastructure is primarily in paper and rigid plastics, not so much flexible packaging,” says Vance. “Until recently, flexible packaging protocols had not been clearly defined to establish recyclability.”

After five months of development time, the Gateway team presented the Pro-Recyclable Pouch to the leadership team. First they developed the material – primarily of polyethylene (PE) with no more than five percent EVOH for oxygen barrier – and then they perfected the converting process.

The latter was particularly challenging, said Vance. ”To successfully convert a Totani-style pouch, you need a material with high heat resistance differential. Without that, we’d have problems with sealing and the gussets.”

The Gateway development team ultimately succeeded in developing a new Totani converting process and is now finalizing a patent on the new process.

Fast-forward to the Pro-Recyclable Pouch launch. What can petfood makers get with their recyclable Totani pouch? Take a look:

  • Sizes from 2 to 40 pounds
  • Reclose features
  • Single web or two-ply lamination
  • Clear gussets for product visibility

Vance says petfood manufacturers aren’t the only ones interested in the Pro-Recyclable Pouch. Gateway’s talking to companies regarding applications for cereal, snacks and lawn and garden. products. The Pro-Recyclable Pouch also aligns well with organic and natural food products. Recyclability combined with super shelf presence is a powerful combination for pet and human food marketers.

Currently, consumers simply take their empty pouches to retail recycling collection bins. They’re easy to find, too. Go to www.How2Recycle.com, enter a zip code and stores in your area come up. Vance says the bags likely will be accepted in curbside recycling bins in the not so distant future.

And me? I’m looking forward to my pups’ petfood maker to get their product in Gateway’s Pro-Recyclable Pouch ASAP. I’m ready to go green and guilt-free!


Vance Fortenberry
Vice President of Product Development
Gateway Packaging