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Sustainability & Supplements: The SmartPaks Solution

Posted on: April 22, 2024 by SmartPak

From our birthplace in New England to the golden coast of California, making eco-friendly choices can be complicated as a horse person. Choosing all natural fly sprays or blankets made from recycled materials is one thing, but how do we feed our horses more sustainably?

With greener efforts gaining traction throughout the industry, an eco-friendly supplement feeding system is becoming less of a luxury and more of a priority. It’s more than a trend; it's about making responsible choices and considering the environmental hoofprint we leave behind.

What is the environmental impact of traditional supplement packaging?

Looking at traditional supplement-packaging processes reveals a heavier environmental impact than expected. Non-recyclable, virgin plastics- the kind most often used to manufacture the buckets supplements are stored in- make up a significant portion of landfills. Not only do these plastics take up anywhere from 100 to 400 years to decompose, but they can leak toxic substances back into the environment as they do.

Being aware of the consequences of traditional supplement packaging can help direct us to more sustainable practices and choose products that help us tread lightly on this earth we all share.

How do we, as a corporation and as individual riders inside (and outside) of a corporation make a difference? Enter, SmartPaks.

Can a greener supplement feeding system benefit more than just the planet?

When we look beyond the tradition we know, the large buckets supplying a month or more’s worth of supplements, we can see there are fundamental issues beyond even sustainability. Let’s start there.

  • Buckets are generic, they feed one supplement at a time. If the supplement is single-ingredient or single-purpose, it may only support one area of your horse’s health.
  • Buckets are heavy and can be quite large. They take up precious space in feed rooms and can be a hassle to lug from place to place if a horse is traveling.
  • Buckets retain air. Even the best packed bucket holds an amount of air that only increases as more of its contents are fed. That’s more air and more time for the supplement’s quality and potency to degrade.

If that’s just a start to the list, it can feel discouraging. What else can be done to feed our horses the support they deserve in a way that’s not causing undue harm to the planet? Consider SmartPaks and the problems they solve.

What makes SmartPaks a greener choice for feeding supplements?

While they are made of plastic, it’s true, the plastic used in each SmartPak well is comprised of already-recycled plastics, resulting in significantly less virgin plastic than buckets. The result is a thinner, #1 RPET plastic that is not only already recycled, but can be recycled again.

SmartPaks help to keep over 680,000 pounds of plastic out of the environment each year. As well as keeping 8 million buckets and 3.2 million pounds of new plastic out of production. This equates to over 37 million water bottles worth of plastic kept out of the environment.

One rider even put it to the test. She saved every SmartPak for an entire year, that’s seven days a week for 52 weeks of being fed one strip of pre-measured, pre-packaged supplements per day. It sounds like an overwhelming amount of plastic to be sure. However, when compared to the alternative, feeding the exact same supplements from their bucket or bag form, could a single-serve option possibly be better?

What does a year of recyclable SmartPaks look like compared to a year of non-recyclable buckets? The results speak for themselves.

Is recycling the only option? What else can we do with plastic from SmartPaks?

While recycling may be the most obvious choice for a previously recycled plastic designed to be recycled again, it’s not the only option. Yes, ‘Recycle’ is a main component of the Waste Management many riders are familiar with and, paired with ‘Reduce’, it’s a main pillar of the SmartPaks system. That said, there’s a third word in that familiar slogan, ‘Reuse’. The shape and lightweight structure of SmartPak wells make them ideal for a variety of projects. Some of the top uses riders have come up with include:

  • Seed starts: Fill each SmartPak well with healthy soil and plant a seed (or a few small seeds) in each one. When placed in a location with healthy sun and paired with frequent watering, SmartPak wells make a reusable way to start seeds each year.
  • Ice cube trays: Fill each SmartPak well with water, slices of apple, carrot, or other goodies your horse loves. Freeze and feed in a rubber pail on warm days for enrichment.
  • Paint cups: SmartPak wells can be used for small amounts of paint during projects from home touch ups to children’s projects. Rinse and reuse, or recycle them after use.
  • Donations: Oftentimes, school and daycare programs can find many uses for these wells (such as seed starters, paint cups, and more). Reaching out to local programs may result in an easy way to give SmartPaks another life before they’re recycled again.

How can riders consume more responsibly?

Choosing a more sustainable supplement feeding system empowers riders to take a more active role in ethical consumption. When you feed your horse supplements in SmartPaks, you’re voting with your wallet for a greener, better world.

Embracing our role as responsible riders, both in and out of the saddle, involves making well-informed choices that align with our individual needs and values. Choosing brands like SmartPak can help guarantee your purchasing power becomes part of the solution, helping creating a more sustainable future in the equine industry.

When you opt to feed supplements in SmartPaks, you’re peeling back the label of more thoughtful consumption. It’s not just about the convenience for you (though that’s a considerably nice perk), it’s about continuing to help support a healthy, happy horse in an environmentally conscious way.

At SmartPak, we’re continuing to push forward with eco-friendly solutions for our every day needs. We hope that every supplement your horse receives isn’t just a step towards their best performance or highest level of comfort, but also a step towards a happier, healthier planet.


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle | US Environmental Protection

AgencyWasteWise: Environmental Factoids | United States Environmental Protection

AgencyGen Z, Millennials Stand Out for Climate Change Activism, Social Media Engagement With Issue | Pew Research Center

Plastic pollution: harmful chemicals in our plastics | UN environmental programme