Friday, June 10th, 2016
I work at The Coca-Cola Company and am a director of closures and labels in the Global Sustainable Procurement group.
-Tell us a little about what your company does.
Coca-Cola is an over 22 billion-dollar beverage company with brands sold in every country in the world except two.
-How did you find yourself working in the plastics industry?
Very randomly. I have a Bachelor of Science in business and a Master of Business Administration, and was asked to take a role in global strategy development for plastics packaging at Procter & Gamble. I was hooked! I love how in packaging you have to balance product protection, shelf appeal, environmental impacts and much more. Plus, it’s amazing to see something you worked on in a store or in a consumer’s hand.
-Has anyone in the industry mentored you?
No official mentorships, but I have a lot of role models. For instance Shell Huang, who pioneered bioPET’s introduction into mainstream packaging. I also have many heroes in the recycling industry, including people who have led the way to improve the perception of plastics packaging by working hard to improve recycling.
-Describe in one sentence what you do on an average day.
I work with the external supply base and innovation network to improve the overall value of our plastic packaging while meeting internal and consumer requirements.
-What do you like most about working in the plastics industry?
We touch everything and we are always changing.
-What’s one thing about your personal life that you feel has been changed by having a career in plastics?
I see green-washing everywhere and try to help consumers and businesses make educated decisions on their plastic packaging choices.
-What are the major challenges you think are facing the plastics industry today? How do you think the industry can overcome them?
Green-washing is adding to the negative perception of plastics. Also consumers’ lack of recycling, and the lack of availability of recycling infrastructure, hurts the industry; this is what leads to plastics in the oceans, on the streets and in land-fills.
-Why do you think someone from your generation should consider a career in plastics?
We have the opportunity to positively impact perception in our industry and help to make consumers think differently about what matters. How do we make them think positively about plastics? How do we improve plastics’ carbon footprint? How do we leverage social media to improve recycling rates, explore new materials, and connect innovators/start-ups working on more sustainable plastics?
-What’s one plastic product you couldn’t live without?