Cute Kitten Inspires new Packaging

How Munchkin the cat sparked change

Cute Kitten Inspires new Packaging | How Munchkin the cat sparked change

Good news for the planet! According to Munchkin’s 2022 Sustainability Report, the baby-product retailer is reimagining its packaging design. Munchkin has pledged to partner with Smart Plastic Technologies, to create packaging with zero plastic waste.

Behind the environmental significance of the redesign, which Munchkin maintains will remove 15 million pounds of plastic waste annually, is the heartwarming story of one cute kitten who inspired a green movement. 

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Meet the loveable kitten rescued by Itty Bitty Kitty City
In this video, posted by Munchkin, you can watch the story of a fluffy orange tabby kitten who loves to cuddle. He lives in the small town of Ellington, Missouri and made headlines after the Ellington-based Itty Bitty Kitty City rescued him.

Packaging Strategies reports that the Itty Bitty Kitty City received a tip that there was an injured kitten, trapped in plastic packaging. When Laura Baker, founder of the rescue center, tracked down the kitten, she found a plastic ring from a Munchkin Any Angle sippy cup package stuck around his body. It was stuck on so tightly, that the plastic had dug into the kitten’s skin.

Baker immediately brought the tabby to a vet for emergency surgery. Then, according to ABC 10 News San Diego, the shelter sent an email to the Munchkin company to let them know about the consequences of their packaging.

Munchkin responds
Shelter volunteer, Mama Shirley, explained in the video that she didn’t think a large company like Munchkin would care so much about an injured kitten. She was overwhelmed by the company’s response. 

ABC 10 News reports that after hearing about what happened to the kitten (who was later named Munchkin), the baby-product retailer volunteered to cover the cost of the surgery. It also sent an additional 2,500 dollars as a donation to the shelter.

A package redesign

But the company didn’t stop there. Diana Barnes, Munchkin’s Chief Brand Officer explained that “it was soul-crushing to read Laura’s note and look at the photos of that sweet kitten, both personally because I’m a passionate advocate for animals and a pet parent myself of two cats, and professionally.” 

Barnes realized the company had an opportunity to do better. Under Barnes’s direction, the company launched a redesign of the packaging for nearly 500 of their sippy cup products. The new packaging eliminated the plastic used previously. This means that not only will plastic waste be reduced, but if animals get stuck in the package in the future, it will degrade on its own, freeing the animal.

In addition, the company cut back on paper waste by replacing the product manuals that they had previously included inside their cups, with a scannable QR code that allows customers to find it online. 

According to the Munchkin 2022 sustainability report this will significantly reduce paper waste. The report explains that if all the printed manuals were placed end to end, they would be one and a half times as long as the state of California! 

According to the report, removing the plastic from their packaging will cut back on the equivalent of 4,000 cars’ weight in plastic annually. The new packaging will reflect the company’s mission to create a better world. It will read, “This packaging was created with love to do no harm to animals or the planet.”

Meanwhile, Munchkin the kitten, who inspired a massive environmental overhaul, has made a full recovery and is growing up happy, healthy, and plastic-free! 

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