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Episode 139: Delivering Hope Through Sustainable Packaging

In this week’s NothingWasted! podcast, we bring you a dynamic session from Waste360’s Sustainability Talks. The discussion covered the role of innovations in developing sustainable packaging; how Uber-style recycling companies are picking up the slack of local municipalities; why it's a good idea not to shift packaging-related responsibilities to the consumer, flexible packaging and more.

You will hear from Cory Connors, sustainable packaging consultant at Landsberg, and Jonathan Quinn, director of market development and sustainability at Pregis.

Here’s a sneak peek into the conversation:

Connors noted that, “It’s true that our customers and consumers want to be sustainable in packaging…” And yet, “only 38% of Americans have access to recycling; that’s a problem that we need to address.” He called out two exciting companies using an Uber-style method to pick up waste from houses, schools, and more: Ridwell and Recyclops. “They pick up plastic clamshells, and they actually recycle them—and that’s a huge deal for me.”

Connors also talked about circular packaging and noted that, “Companies like Loop Packaging are very interesting; they’re already using Häagen-Dazs ice cream in Europe as an example of a successful program. You buy the ice cream in an aluminum container and bring it back to the store; they wash it and refill it with more ice cream. To me, that makes a lot of sense.” He also mentioned a company called PakTech that takes old milk jugs and recycles them into carriers for beverage cans and other items. “Essentially what they’ve done is develop a closed loop, and they’ve already saved 600 million milk jugs from the waste steam.”

Then, Quinn talked about how, “Convenience is king when it comes to sustainable packaging, and packaging in general. And, product variety—flexible packaging can cater to all different types of products across the board; that’s the true benefit of flexible packaging and its packaging security and product integrity. ” He went on to note that, “Plastic packaging has a place” even though it is often has a negative impact on the environment—for reasons including shelf life and reduction in food waste.

Quinn went on to note that, “Flexible packaging is in its infancy on its sustainable journey. There is tremendous opportunity moving forward, when it comes to what flexible packaging can further become; the innovations taking place…you cannot ignore those.” He also spoke about how, “Everything we do at Pregis comes down to three things: protect (both products and the environment), preserve, and inspire.” The company also has the “focus and commitment to positively impact 25 million people’s lives…which we’re going to be able to do through the delivery of our sustainable and flexible packaging.” And, “At the end of the day, “We’re here to find solutions and work together because, at the end of the day, the sustainability conversation doesn’t have a silver bullet; it’s about collaboration and partnership.”

Listen to the full episode above.


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