Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

For SPI Recycling Committee, the Future to Zero Waste is Bright

By Kim Holmes, SPI’s Director, Recycling and Diversion

With an organization-wide mantra to pursue zero waste, last year SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association formed its newest committee to focus on recovery and recycling of scrap plastics, a program that further supports the zero waste initiative. The make-up of SPI’s membership, which represents the full plastics supply chain, gives the newly formed Recycling Committee a unique angle to approach the full lifecycle of discussions around recovery of plastics. Since the formal establishment of the committee in the fall of 2013, the group attracted nearly 50 member companies to become involved in a broad range of efforts.

“It’s truly exciting to see companies from across the supply chain, bringing together their knowledge, expertise and passion to help further plastic recovery. By efficiently leveraging these collective assets, we are on track to accomplish some exciting work this year,” noted Lori Carson, director of commercial operations at Phoenix Technologies International and chair of the SPI Recycling Committee.

The SPI Recycling Committee met March 10 in advance of the Plastics Recycling Conference to discuss projects that each subcommittee will undertake this year and to gather feedback from committee members on progress and the direction of the course that the group has charted. The meeting was widely attended by plastics industry leaders from processors and suppliers to brand owners as well as non SPI members.

Attendees heard from speakers including SPI President and CEO William Carteaux, who kicked-off the meeting with praise for the committee’s progress and leadership since its 2013 formation. Other discussions included global efforts and initiatives that members can become involved in. To that end, Michael Taylor, SPI’s senior international affairs, presented the group with information on a number of international opportunities from past SPI trade missions and planned 2014 missions.

Some of the activities that will be undertaken in 2014 include:

• Developing strategies for navigating the changing domestic and export markets
• Engaging federal regulators on key issues shaping the plastics recycling industry
• Providing tools and resources to members on changing packaging and labeling trends
• Mapping brand owner and processor needs for recycled plastics
• Technical projects that will help expand the use and recovery of scrap plastics

The committee will work on recycling issues taking place in all segments of the plastics industry value chain. The next meeting is scheduled for May. For more information about the committee contact Kim Holmes at kholmes@plasticsinudstry.org.

Monday, March 24th, 2014

RPPG Begins Setting Agenda for Future

By Patty Long, SPI Vice President, Industry Affairs

SPI and the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Plastics Division in 2013 agreed to partner to align the initiatives and programs of ACC’s Rigid Plastics Packaging Group (RPPG) with the resources and membership of SPI’s Thermoformers Committee. The group, which held its organizational meeting in early March, will advocate on behalf of rigid plastics packaging, work to advance their products as a sustainable choice for brand owners and retailers, advocate against unnecessary regulation, and work to increase access to collection and recycling.

Daniel F. Mohs and Greg Peters will lead the newly-formed Rigid Plastics Packaging Group (RPPG) as chairman and vice chairman, respectively. The two were elected to their posts during the group’s first organizational meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Others who will sit on the Executive Committee are:

• Brad Crosby, Airlite Plastics Co., Omaha, Neb., Executive Committee
• Brent Beeler, Berry Plastics Corp., Evansville, Ind., Executive Committee
• Holli Whitt, Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., Executive Committee
• Thomas J. Kuehn, Plastics Ingenuity Inc., Cross Plains, Wis., Executive Committee
• James A. Clark, Printpack Inc., Williamsburg, Va., Executive Committee
• Jordan Robertson, StackTeck Systems Inc., Brampton, ON, Canada, Executive Committee
• Mike Moran, The Dow Chemical Co., Houston, Executive Committee
• Mohs is employed by Placon Corp., Madison, Wis.
• Greg Peters is employed by Plastic Enterprises Corp. (IPL Inc.), Lees Summit, Mo.

Membership is open to all suppliers, plastic processors, converters and brand owners in the rigid plastic packaging supply chain. SPI’s new RPPG focuses on consumer product and food service packaging, and is a resin-neutral trade association group.

The RPPG will meet twice a year in person – once in the spring, with a golf tournament and an educational field trip, and once in the fall – with educational webinars and advocacy discussions in between the in-person meetings. Subcommittees on communicating the value of rigid plastic packaging and addressing end-of-life issues/opportunities provide additional engagement opportunities for interested members.

SPI RPPG members who attended the spring meeting helped lay the framework for the group, nevertheless there’s remains an opportunity to help shape this group by participating in the subcommittees and webinars. Projects for 2014 include writing two case studies on sun-setting projects (SPI/NAPCOR’s Thermoforming Project, and the SPI/ACC Virginia Peninsula Rigid Recycling Project); however, additional, new project ideas are still being discussed.

Plenty of good work and active discussions took place at the spring meeting, both in and out of the conference rooms. The meeting included a well-attended golf tournament, and a tour of The Walt Disney WorldTM Waste Management facilities, with time set aside to converse with Walt Disney staff on how the theme parks handles recycling, waste management and litter. The SPI RPPG mixes business with fun, interactive networking opportunities. We are working to unite the rigid plastic packaging industry. With the exciting partnership of the SPI and ACC in forming the SPI RPPG, I hope you will consider participating.

Attending companies included:

Polytainers, Berry Plastics, CBW Automation, Printpack, Airlite Plastics, Klockner Pentaplast, NatureWorks, Dow Chemical, Fabri-Kal, Fame Technology Solutions, Plastic Ingenuity, Plastic Package, Placon, LyondellBasell, Verstaete, IPL, StackTeck, Marbach Tool & Equipment, Eastman Chemical, and the Brueckner Group USA.




Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Product Sustainability Program Gains Momentum Throughout World

By Michael Taylor, SPI Senior Director International Affairs & Trade

Sustainability has received a great deal of attention from the public, media and the business community for a number of years. Yet, there are still those that believe that sustainability is more of a public relations ploy than an issue with real implications for business performance and resiliency.

For the business community, sustainability goes well beyond mere window-dressing. By adopting sustainable practices, companies can improve their competitive position, increase their market share, and boost shareholder value. Oftentimes business sustainability is defined as a process whereby companies manage their financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities. A shortened form of the impacts referred to here consists of profits, people and planet.

This accounting-based approach, however, does not take into full consideration the time element that is inherent within business sustainability. With time taken into consideration, a more appropriate definition of business sustainability is resiliency over time, thus those businesses that can survive shocks do so because they are connected to healthy economic, social and environmental systems.

There are a number of best practices that advance business sustainability and permit companies to establish themselves as leaders in this space.  These practices include stakeholder engagement, environmental management systems, reporting and disclosure, and life-cycle analysis.

Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) is an international product stewardship program designed to prevent resin pellet loss and help keep pellets out of the marine environment. The OCS program is administered by SPI:  The Plastics Industry Trade Association and the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division.

In the OCS program, every segment of the plastics industry has a role to play – including resin producers, transporters, bulk terminal operators and plastics processors – by implementing good housekeeping and pellet containment practices.

The goal: achieving zero pellet loss.

Zero Pellet Loss is a priority for the plastics industry—and a critical issue for the environment. Spilled pellets can make their way into local waterways and ultimately estuaries and the ocean. This isn’t just an eyesore and a litter issue; pellets, if accidentally mistaken for food by birds or marine animals, could harm them. That’s why the industry is behind Zero Pellet Loss—and it can only be achieved by everyone working together. The OCS Program was created to help businesses that handle pellets protect the environment and keep it clean.

OCS is not simply promoted at the company/facility level in the U.S. alone.  The program is also promoted by plastics industry associations around the world.  When a foreign association becomes an international partner, they promote OCS to their member companies and within their own country.  At this time, there are 14 country associations and one multi-country association signed on as international partners to promote the program.  The map below shows those parts of the globe that are already a part of ongoing OCS promotion and those that are considering joining the promotion effort

You can see just how much of the world’s coastlines are engaged currently, and just how much more we need to get on board.

Most recently, there was a surge in membership in the Americas with several associations joining along with the significant addition of PlasticsEurope.  In the Americas, associations in Brazil (ABIPLAST – Associação Brasileira da Indústria do Plástico), Chile (ASIPLA – Asociación Gremial de Industriales del Plástico de Chile), Colombia (ACOPLÁSTICOS), Costa Rica (ACIPLAST – La Asociación Costarricense de la Industria del Plástico) and Ecuador (ASEPLAS – La Asociación Ecuatoriana de Plásticos) are now set to promote the OCS program in their respective countries.  Of course, Europe has been a traditional leader in promoting the global environment and sustainability.  It is very good, however, to see the Latin and South American region showing leadership in these globally important areas too.

If you could take a simple step to help strengthen your company’s:

  • sustainability initiatives;
  • contribution to preserving water quality and wildlife;
  • compliance with federal and state regulations and avoidance of fines;
  • safety/housekeeping program;
  • employees’ well-being;
  • operational efficiency;
  • financial bottom line; and
  • reputation in the community…

…would you take it?

OCS as a product stewardship program is truly a no-brainer.  It is a proven program that is doing something positive about protecting the global environment.  As a best practice from a business sustainability perspective, it is equally a no-brainer. Business growth and environmental conservation can go hand in hand and there are tangible economic benefits derived from growing sustainably. For example, companies that are more sustainable are also more innovative and adaptive to their business environments which means more competitive.

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Canadian Plastics Industry Association Joins SPI’s Efforts to Recycle

By Kim Coghill, SPI Director, Communications

The Recycling Committee of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association said today the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) joined SPI’s effort to purse zero waste by participating in RecyclePlastics365.org, a recycling marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of scrap plastic materials and recycling services.

Carol Hochu

Carol Hochu

“The Canadian plastics industry is committed to continuing to increase plastics recycling across the country, and developing technologies and new markets for the recycled plastic,” said Carol Hochu, president and CEO of CPIA. “Through our relationships with associations like SPI and RecyclePlastics365.org, we are efficiently and effectively promoting and protecting plastics globally. CPIA will encourage Canadian plastics manufacturers and recyclers to join us in supporting and utilizing this tool.”

Kim Holmes, SPI’s director of recycling and diversion, said, “Canada’s interest in connecting to RecyclePlastics365.org demonstrates the success and market for the service we are providing. RecyclePlastics365.org helps bridge the supply and demand for recycled plastics and services, bringing value for both SPI members and the broader plastics industry.

“We look forward to expanding the database to include our Canadian partners in the industry, and to expanding the geographical scope of sourcing and selling recycled plastics in North America,” Holmes said. “This marketplace is just one area in which the plastics industry is working diligently to develop new recovery opportunities for plastics, which are too valuable to waste.”

Launched in June 2013, RecyclePlastics365.org is a tool accessible to association members and non-members. Firms may self-register for a free basic listing or they may purchase an enhanced listing that enables them to provide more information and self-promotion. All trade association proceeds generated through the enhanced listings and ad placements are being reinvested into the recycling industry to support SPI and CPIA recycling programs.

RecyclePlastics365.org features companies listed in categories such as Plastic Scrap Purchasers, Plastic Scrap Sellers, Post-Consumer Recycle Materials, Post-Industrial Recycle Materials, Recycling Equipment and Business Services/Logistics. Buyers, and those seeking recycle services, can search for suppliers via keyword search or by clicking on a category to find suppliers.

RecyclePlastics365.org also includes request for proposal (RFP) tools that enable buyers to reach out to selected suppliers based on search results, upload project specs and/or email a company RFP to selected vendors.

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) is the national voice of the national voice for plastics in Canada. With over 2400 companies employing nearly 80,000 workers, Canada’s $20-billion plastics industry is a sophisticated, multi-faceted sector encompassing plastic products manufacturing, machinery, moulds, and resins. CPIA is dedicated to post-use resource recovery leadership by working collaboratively with stakeholders to divert plastics from landfill through greater recycling and energy recovery of plastics.

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

SPI Steps Up to Advance Sustainability in Packaging

By Alan Carter, Director, Membership Services

To step-up efforts to promote its pursing zero waste strategies, SPI is supporting the manufacturing industry’s 2014 Sustainability in Packaging conference through sponsorship of the conference App.

The conference, scheduled March 5-7, in Orlando, Fla., will focus on the accomplishments and issues faced in developing “sustainable and profitable” packaging. Presentations will be made by companies and organizations including Coca-Cola, Safeway, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Waste Management, Zappos, Otterbox and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Pursing zero waste is at the core of the SPI Mission Statement: “To advance a pro-manufacturing agenda, strengthen global competitiveness, improve productivity and pursue zero-waste strategies for the U.S. plastics industry.”

Some of SPI programs in this area include the Recycling Committee, Operation Clean Sweep® and resinGEAR™.

SPI’s Recycling Committee is comprised of companies across the supply chain to include equipment manufacturers, processors, material suppliers and brand owners. The SPI Recycling Committee supports recycling efforts by working to identify and expand end-use opportunities for recycled plastics.

SPI’s Operation Clean Sweep®, a decades old, industry-led initiative designed to prevent resin pellet loss and help keep pellets out of the marine environment, continues to expand and is now being implemented in eight countries with the help of 12 industry associations. They include: the American Chemistry Council, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, PlasticsEurope, and in the Americas, associations in Brazil (ABIPLAST – Associação Brasileira da Indústria do Plástico), Chile (ASIPLA – Asociación Gremial de Industriales del Plástico de Chile), Colombia (ACOPLÁSTICOS), Costa Rica (ACIPLAST – La Asociación Costarricense de la Industria del Plástico) and Ecuador (ASEPLAS – La Asociación Ecuatoriana de Plásticos).

resinGEAR™ is SPI’s private line of corporate, industrial and promotional apparel all made from recycled plastics and refashioned into gear that is used again in business every day.

To learn how your company can take advantage of these and other programs at SPI, contact SPI membership at +1.202.974.5212.