There are more than 8 million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans every year with more than 100,000 marine animals dying as a consequence. (Science, 2015). In 2050 there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish (World Economic Forum, 2016). This crisis extends to waterways and our land, threatening natural ecosystems, as well as the wildlife and humankind who depend upon it (Philos. Trans. R. Soc, 2009)
AniPal is a social enterprise designed to repurpose plastics while educating veterinary clients and partners about the impact of plastics and the importance of clean-up initiatives. The ultimate aim of AniPal is to help the veterinary and animal communities transition to more sustainable practices, lowering their environmental impact. As a starting point, AniPal provides recycled plastic alternatives for a number of animal products that are made from virgin plastic.
To achieve this, AniPal has partnered with local and international clean up organisations, recycling companies and manufacturers. The next line of products will be manufactured in Melbourne from ocean plastic debris removed during global clean-up efforts. Initially, it was discovered that Australia lacks a key element in locally manufacturing recycled products, namely spinning yarn from plastic pellets. As an intermediary step, AniPal sources an ethical international alternative.
Alongside its partners, AniPal is helping build local recycling capacity so that the full recycling supply-chain can be provided within Australia. This organisation demonstrates the opportunity for the veterinary profession to lead from the front with social enterprises that protect the health and welfare of natural ecosystems and all that depend on it.