Recycling dry dog food packaging.

How Do You Recycle Dry Dog Food Bags in Australia?

Written By Olivia De Santos | Canine Coach, Professional Writer & Video Content Creator.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | Double B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 24th March 2024

As a dog owner, being green can be tough. There is a huge amount of waste that comes from all of the stuff we need to buy for our pooches and the packaging. One common item that poses a recycling dilemma is dry dog food bags. How do you recycle dry dog food bags?

In this article, we’ll talk about the various ways you can recycle your dry dog food bags in your local area.

Let’s dive in!

The Different Ways To Recycle Dry Dog Food Bags in Australia

Studies show that Australia recycles just 18% of its plastic packaging. (1) And the waste report of 2022 showed that recycling rates have stagnated. (2)

So in short, we need to do better!

But you’re probably wondering, can you recycle dry dog food bags in your standard household recycling bin?

It depends on the material. Some pet brands are dedicated to sustainability and make their packaging easy to recycle. Others require more specialised programs.

Related: How To Make Recycled Dog Toys.

Below are all of the available options for recycling pet food bags to demystify all of this for you:

1. Use Terracycle programs

TerraCycle is a recycling program funded by brands to recycle harder-to-process items like pet food bags. Royal Canin, Eukanuba, Hill’s, and Open Farm have all pitched in to ensure their packaging is fully recyclable with TerraCycle. This program offers collection points for pet food bags in your local area. You can ask your local pet shops, veterinary clinics, and recycling depots to see if they are part of the program.

TerraCycle also has special zero waste boxes for pet food packaging. These boxes are designed to be filled up with empty packaging and shipped using the pre-paid UPS shipping label which is already affixed to the box. Simple and effective!

It’s worth noting that only plastic packaging can be recycled with TerraCycle. For woven or paper packaging, you need another solution.

2. Choose dog food brands with sustainable packaging

Prevention is the best cure! Consider choosing dog food brands that prioritise sustainability and use eco-friendly packaging. Some companies have transitioned to more easily recyclable materials, making it simpler for pet owners to dispose of the bags responsibly using their recycling bins at home. If you’re unsure if the packaging is fully recyclable, the brand will likely have information on their website.

Related: How To Make Homemade Dog Toothpaste.

3. Local recycling programs

Investigate whether your local government or recycling facility has specialised programs for challenging items like pet food bags. Some regions have specific drop-off locations or collection events for materials that aren't suitable for regular recycling. My advice is to contact your local independent pet stores as they’ll likely know more about these programs.

4. Upcycle and re-use dog food packaging

You can repurpose dry dog food bags for various purposes around the house. From makeshift storage solutions to DIY projects, upcycling can be an excellent way to extend the life of the packaging before you need to throw it away.

Let’s dive deeper in the next section.

How To Upcycle Dry Dog Food Bags

If you don’t want to recycle the dog food bags, or available facilities are too far away from you, upcycling is a great way to reduce waste.

You can upcycle dry dog food bags by turning them into:

  • Reusable tote bags
  • DIY pet placemats
  • Storage solutions
  • Gift wrapping
  • Garden waste bags

Here’s how:

Reusable tote bags

Transforming dry dog food bags into reusable tote bags is a practical and eco-friendly solution.

This goes especially for woven food bags that aren’t easy to recycle (even TerraCycle doesn’t accept woven food bags).

Related: How To Make Homemade Dog Shampoo.

To create your tote bag, eut the bag open, remove any remaining kibble crumbs, and carefully clean the interior.

Next, cut the bag into panels, ensuring to preserve any colourful or eye-catching designs. Sew the panels together to create a sturdy and unique tote bag.

DIY pet placemats

Protect your floors from dinner-time messes by creating a placemat for your pooch from old food bags. Dog food bags are perfect for placemats because they’re durable, malleable, waterproof and easy to clean. They’re also relatively easy to make. Cut the bag into the desired size, leaving enough space for your dog's food and water bowls, plus extra space for spills.

Clean the section thoroughly before affixing the placemat to the floor. If the bag has a cool design, consider keeping this part visible so a little extra flair. Repeat if you have other dogs or pets that could do with a cool upcycled placemat.

Storage solutions

Dry dog food bags can be repurposed into functional storage solutions because they are so sturdy. You can use them to store:

  • Pet supplies
  • Gardening tools
  • Camping gear
  • Seasonal clothing
  • Emergency kits
  • Rice, beans, or seeds
  • Beach gear
  • Winter gear (during summer months)

Simply cut the bags into desired shapes and sizes, secure the edges, and voila – you have a cost-effective and environmentally friendly storage solution that adds a touch of uniqueness to your space.

DIY gift wrapping

Ever though of using upcycled dog food bags as wrapping paper? A little unorthodox but it works! Because the packaging is so malleable and waterproof, it’s great for wrapping unusually shaped things. The colourful and eye-catching designs on some food bags can add a distinctive touch to your presents too. To make this work, cut the bags to size and clean the plastic thoroughly.

Wrap your gifts, and secure them with twine or ribbon. You can also use the food bag as a way of safely wrapping objects for mailing. So you can wrap your presents normally and then wrap again with the food bag for extra protection in transit.

Garden waste bag

Finally, empty dog food bags can easily be transformed into garden waste bags. They are strong, seal odours well, and don’t leak. This makes them the perfect candidate for garden waste before turning over to composting or local food waste programs.

Clean the bag thoroughly before filling it with any garden waste and make sure the seal is in tact. You can store it somewhere dark and cool as you fill the bag.

So that’s how to upcycle dry dog food bags.

How To Prepare Dry Dog Food Bags For Recycling

So that’s how to get started with recycling your dry dog food bags. But before you drop off the bag at a facility, you need to prepare it a little for processing.

1. Empty the food bag

Do dry dog food bags need to be completely clean before recycling? No. Even for recycling programs like TerraCycle, they don’t need to be spotless. But try to empty it of as many crumbs and residue as possible. If you do wash out the bags with water, make sure that the

2. Bend, squeeze, scrunch

You don’t need to cut up the packaging into smaller pieces. Instead, fold, bend, squeeze, or scrunch the packaging to make it smaller. This allows you fit more bags into your delivery bag.

Speaking of delivery bag…

3. Put all of the packaging in one plastic bag

Put all of the empty food packaging into a larger plastic bag to deliver to the recycling facility. The plastic bag you choose must be sealable. You could even use an empty dog food bag to store the other food bags and hand over the whole thing.

My Final Thoughts

If we want a greener future, every decision we make as consumers matters. Recycling dry dog food bags in Australia is one of the simpler things we can do to be greener dog owners.

Above all, we recommend choosing brands that prioritise sustainable materials and participate in specialised recycling programs like TerraCycle. You can also explore creative ways to reuse packaging if there aren’t many recycling options near you.

We hope this article helped you understand what options you have for recycling your dog’s food packaging.



How do you recycle dog food pouches?

To recycle dog food pouches, you need to empty them of any debris. You don’t need to wash them but if you do, make sure the pouches are completely dry before recycling. You can use recycling programs like TerraCycle. All you need to do is deliver the pouches in a sealed plastic bag to a recycling facility or local program.

Can dry pet food bags be recycled?

Yes! You can recycle dry pet food bags in a multitude of ways in Australia. First is the TerraCycle program. This is a recycling program that pet food brands sponsor. You can take your empty dog food bags to participating vets. Reach out to the local vets to see if they are part of the program. If TerraCycle is not an option, some local recycling programs will also accept pet food packaging. The best way to recycle pet food bags is to choose food brands that use sustainable packaging materials so you can process them in any recycling facility near you.


  1. Readfearn, G. April 20, 2023. “Australia recycles just 18% of plastic packaging and will not reach 2025 target, review finds”. Guardian. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  2. “Australia's latest waste figures in new report”. December 16, 2022. Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. Retrieved November 26, 2023.

Olivia De Santos

Olivia De Santos is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach, Professional Writer and Video Content Creator.

Olivia has over 10 years of experience writing professionally and is a dog Mum to Pip, her Podengo and Blue, her Flat-coated Retriever. She loves writing pieces to help people to be better dog owners.

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