Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s upcoming course in North Carolina’s Charlotte, from October 6-8, 2015 is going to be a big hit. The course is set to focus on several important measures being taken by the packaging industry in its bid to become more sustainable. According to Nina Goodrich – Executive Director of the (SPC), it would involve considerations for sustainable packaging such as materials sourcing, packaging designing, manufacturing, transportation, and disposal at the end.
According to Goodrich, there are three important categories from the packaging perspective. They are:
Source: refers to where the materials have been obtained from and considers if they are using certified polymers or recycled materials;
Optimization: refers to a balance between optimising the packaging and the product since it’s not about reduction of packaging; rather, it’s about avoiding damage to the product; and
Recovery: is about the recycle streams or checking if the materials can be recovered; an example could be getting municipal recycling facilities rid of plastics bags that can wrap around and stop operations.
Goodrich highlighted how SPC has evolved with sustainability since its establishment in 2004. The group’s nine founder members include NatureWorks, MWV, The Dow Chemical Company, Unilever and Starbucks Coffee Company. Almost 200 companies have joined the group, including big names like that of Amcor, 3M, Bemis, PepsiCo, The Kellogg Company, Crown Packaging, Mars, Sealed Air and Silgan.
According to Goodrich, the growth of SPC was driven by the industry’s need to share the best practices.
How Sustainable Packaging Professionals Will Benefit
The course will allow corporate sustainability decision-makers and packaging professionals learn about sustainability considerations for packaging. As more of these professionals are becoming aware of a product’s life-cycle and focusing on the circular economy, there’s a renewed interest in this course. Naturally, the uptake on the course is experiencing a steady rise.
Goodrich said technological improvements and developments, such as in optical sorters, are helping end of life sustainable packaging options. Though there’s still a lot of work that needs done, she was upbeat about the way different materials like biopolymers and anaerobic digestion are created with a focus on sustainability.
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