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Agenda

Smithers' is pleased to present the 2023 Sustainability in Packaging US agenda!

Beginning in the afternoon on Wednesday, March 8, Sustainability in Packaging US will kick-off with three pre-conference workshops follwed by two exciting days of general sessions on March 9 - 10. Hear from representatives from across the supply chain, and extend your learnings by choosing a ticket with one of the 2023 workshops.
 


 
Advanced Recycling Workshop
<Session Description>
This workshop will explore the landscape of chemical recycling, EPR’s potential impact for chemical recycling, circularity and climate change, and the future of policy.
Opening Remarks
The Plastic-Ban Fallacy
Great insights from Sheida R. Sahandy of ENCINA on the misinformation surrounding #plastics and #sustainability as well as the key role #advancedrecycling has to reduce waste and create a circular economy.
Sheida Sahandy | Chief Sustainability Officer , Encina
Size Does Matter: Advanced Recycling Using Modular Plants
Renewing the definition of Recycling
To address the world’s plastic waste crisis, we need every tool at our disposal. Many are focused on reduce, reduce, and recycle – however, recycling as we know it today may not be enough. Mechanical recycling is great for widely recycled plastics and should be used whenever possible. Molecular recycling is material-to-material recycling technologies that break hard-to-recycle waste plastics into building blocks to make new materials. Enter Biological Recycling or Composting that transforms both food and compostable packaging waste into soil-nurturing compost that can grow feedstock for new compostable plastics. We need the right materials for the right applications and recycling technologies. Learn about innovative certified compostable materials and how they may enable circularity for your organization.  
David Nelson | Director, Corporate Innovation, Eastman
Networking Break
Sponsored by
Panel: Benefits of Chemical Recycling – How can the benefits change the future of recycling?
How do we communicate the benefits of chemical recycling? Where are the gaps in knowledge? How do we get others in the industry to “buy in”? 

Panelists Include:
Using Advanced Recycling to Produce Mars Petcare Sheba Pouch
Presentations Coming Soon!
Advanced Recycling and How it Impacts Brands
Speaker coming soon!
Welcome Evening Reception
How Does Design for Circularity Link with Actual End-of-Life Workshop
<Session Description>
This workshop will give updates on the status of materials in recovery and recycling technologies. How does design for circularity link with actual end-of-life?
Opening Remarks
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Presentation
Presentation Coming Soon!
Is the world ready for sustainable packaging?
Raw material availability, performance and cost are some of the largest challenges facing manufacturers looking to transition to sustainable packaging. Sean Kohl, Global Product Line Director at Industrial Physics will share international research carried out with 255 companies. The results highlighted that almost half (49%) of 255 global packaging professionals surveyed reported that meeting testing standards was the biggest challenge in the adoption of sustainable packaging materials. Even more striking, was that 71% of those surveyed reported that they found quality control processes ‘significantly’ or ‘somewhat more difficult’ with sustainable packaging materials. Along with other illuminating findings, we will set out a roadmap to overcoming these sustainable packaging challenges.
Sean Kohl | Global Product Line Director, Industrial Physics
Networking Break
Sponsored by
Panel: Recycling Infrastructure Progress
This panel will cover legislative updates, more on infrastructure progress with cost models within the recycling stream, updates on progress with LCA's and more. Panelists will discuss end-of-life /waste management in packaging, how cities and recycling programs are helping with overall recycle rates and where infrastructure progress is still needed.
 
Moderator: Anne Germain, COO & SVP of Technical and Regulatory Affairs, National Waste & Recycling Association
 
Panelists Include:
Recycling: A Corner Stone of Circularity Infrastructure
Get a behind-the-scenes look at a materials recovery facility (MRF), one of the infrastructure cornerstones of a circular economy system. It will discuss how MRFs work today (including the latest technological innovations in sorting), opportunities and limitation, and what other value chain partners need to know about recyclability in residential programs. Brands and retailers will leave this presentation with a better understanding of the system that their packaging and products are entering into, and what they need to do to enable those materials to return back to the economy.
Lynn Hoffman | Co-President, Eureka Recycling
The Sustainable Journey
The roadmap to sustainability is a journey and not necessarily a prescribed path. Brand owners seeking to attain their targets and goals are scrambling to transform their product lines. Evidence of commercial success can be seen on the store shelves, but the pace is slower than anticipated. Possible contributors are the lack of material offerings which are unable to match performance attained with existing multi-material offerings and challenges with supply chains, infrastructure, litigation, and legislature which force brands to constantly reaffirm they are choosing the most prudent path. Is there a best strategy and how can we make progress with the speed bumps we encounter on a regular basis?
Jeff Travis | Manager of Innovation & Sustainability, American Packaging Corporation
Presentation Coming Soon!
Welcome Evening Reception
Innovative Packaging and the Circular Economy Workshop
<Session Description>
This workshop will cover flexible, plant-based and paper packaging – innovative solutions and the future of packaging. Speakers will address the circular economy, PCR use, market drivers, climate change and material sourcing, consumer education and more.  
Opening Remarks
Fighting Climate Change: How Businesses Can Support a Low-Carbon Economy
The pressure to make and meet climate-focused obligations is intense and multifaceted, which is why companies across all business sectors are refining their visions to fit into a greater scheme of sustainability. As consumers exercise purchasing powers to push industries in sustainable directions, competitors are communicating their efforts to raise industry standards for eco-friendly operations. In this session, Albert Douer, Chairman and Co-CEO of UBQ Materials, will discuss how businesses can work to support a low-carbon economy and reduce operational expenses while implementing environmentally friendly practices.
Albert Douer | Chairman and Co-CEO, UBQ Materials
Technology platform and process to transition from plastic to sustainable solutions
  • Current situation of plastic packaging in the food service and industrial segment
  • Single-use plastic ban around the world
  • New consumers trends worldwide
  • Cross-over innovation and strong partnerships
  • Product and process development approach
  • Next generation sustainable products

Martin Grandjean | Global Business Development Manager, Tembo Paper
Functionalization of fiber-based flexible packaging
We have developed groundbreaking PureBarrier™, an oxygen and gas barrier material made out of 100% cellulose fibers. This new generation of fiber-based materials rises to the challenges of the flexible packaging industry and offers brand owners and converters an alternative to nonrenewable or plastic based packaging. PureBarrier™ is a mono-material that offers outstanding sustainability credentials as it is produced from responsibly sourced and renewable wood pulp and is certified home compostable. PureBarrier™ also boasts features such as the absence of fibers, heat resistance, an absolute grease barrier without PFAS or other added chemicals. In addition, PureBarrier™ exhibits strong mechanical abilities even in a humid or wet environment. PureBarrier™ is also available in a heat sealable version. All of these remarkable properties allow applications in a multitude of industries like the food & beverage packaging industry, and also in the cosmetics and medical industry. This innovation is part of our ‘from Plastic to Purpose’ initiative which aims to educate the marketplace on the possibilities related to fiber and paper-based alternatives where plastic and non-renewable materials are used today.
Raphaël Bardet | Head of the Product Management and R&D, Ahlstrom
Networking Break
Sponsored by
Thermoform Circularity: Unlocking a New Source of Post-Consumer Recycled Material
There is no way to achieve true circularity without including thermoforms. The volume of thermoforms in the market presents a tremendous opportunity to build a novel source of Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) material. New sources of PCR will be needed to be cultivated for there to be enough supply for brands to meet their PCR commitments and legislated mandates. There’s simply not enough PCR recovered from bottles to satisfy the demand. This presentation from Plastic Ingenuity will provide insights into the current state of thermoform recycling, the challenges that lay ahead, and some examples of how brand owners are contributing to a circular system for this emerging PCR material.
Zach Muscato | Corporate Sustainability Champion, Plastic Ingenuity
Moving Toward a Sustainable Future in the Biopharmaceutical Industry
The biopharmaceutical industry is one of the most regulated industries and unique challenges exist to meet sustainability goals. We are all committed to a sustainable future and most major companies are moving toward a sustainable future. To provide how our industry is implementing new innovative solutions to meet our environmental sustainability goals. While some regulations facilitate transition to a more sustainable environment, other regulations are preventing the industry from moving forward. For example, the pharmaceutical industry and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) have been wanting to remove unnecessary paper copies of professional labeling that are required to accompany packages. These paper versions are outdated and create unnecessary waste. However, political barriers prevent the U.S. FDA and industry from eliminating these paper copies. In addition, due to the voluminous length of these paper inserts, packaging must be larger than needed. This panel discussion will discuss the environmental and other advantages in removing paper. Market drivers in the biopharmaceutical industry don’t exist as they do in most consumer segments. This affords an opportunity, but also comes with unique challenges. Developing sustainable packaging solutions (in the Biopharmaceutical industry) requires a measured and thoughtful approach to both design and implementation, balancing between the rapid adoption and implementation of broad environmentally focused regulation, and those regulations specific to the safety of our products. We must balance our desire to eliminate packaging waste with the implications and practicality of doing so.
Ryan Stolzenbach | Program Manager, Sustainability, Global Packaging, Abbvie
Panel: Improving packaging sustainability
This panel will address sustainable packaging supply chains, sustainability innovations, market drivers for sustainable packaging, experiences in consumer education and more. How are brands choosing their materials? What innovation solutions are they looking for? What innovations are their outside of just standard food & bev packaging?
 
Moderator: How Lau | Consultant, How Lab Consulting, LLC
 
Panelists Include:
LCA study comparing a traditional pouch vs a recyclable pouch
Henkel representative coming soon!
Panel: Packaging Design and Manufacturing, Recycling, or Corporate Sustainability – how to get involved
Packaging waste and environmental degradation are urgent and growing challenges. In the U.S., packaging and containers comprised more than 20 percent of the solid waste sent to landfills in 2018. Even when packaging is placed in recycling bins, mixed materials, labels, adhesives, and other attributes may result in packaging that is not recyclable and contaminates the recycling stream.
 
Manufacturers and consumer goods companies worldwide are prioritizing efforts to minimize single-use packaging, use more sustainable packaging materials, and reduce consumption of virgin materials after decades of growth.
 
Moderator: Doug Gatlin, CEO, Green Seal

Panelists coming soon!
Welcome Evening Reception
Registration and Welcome Breakfast
Registration Table Opens
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Brittany Onslow | Conference Producer, Smithers
Sustainability from a Hotel Perspective
Jeff Tverdek | Director Of Engineering, Swissôtel Chicago
State of the Packaging Industry – Where is Sustainability Going?
<Session Description>
This session will showcase how companies are progressing in their sustainability journeys – not only in packaging but helping with ESG goals and contributing to bettering our world.
Paper where possible, plastic when useful – Mondi supports brands & retailers to achieve their sustainability targets through packaging solutions
  • Brief intro about the sustainability journey in packaging.
  • How Mondi defines and develops sustainable packaging solutions to make them recyclable, reusable and compostable.
  • The challenges & benefits of paper vs plastic: will paper ever replace plastic?
  • Case study examples illustrating that there is more than one way to sustainability

Marco Macoratti | Head of Sustainable Solutions & Circularity for Retail Channel, Mondi
Thomas Kahl | Head of Sustainable Packaging Solutions Channel, Mondi
Fireside Chat: The Age of #Refillution
This panel will go over the successes and challenges of implementing real world examples of refill options for consumers. How are these options working in retail locations for pay and go? How willing are consumers to adapt and adopt? Where can the industry help push this further, globally?

Moderator: Brandon Frank | President, PPC Packaging

Panelists Include:
Keynote Presented by World Wildlife Fund
It has been one year since the United Nations made history by voting in favor of an international legally binding agreement to address the plastic pollution crisis. And with an expedited treaty drafting process underway until the end of 2024, there’s an unprecedented opportunity to rally private sector support and influence to ensure the final global treaty delivers the impact that the world needs. 
In this keynote Erin Simon, World Wildlife Fund's Head of Plastic Waste + Business, will provide an overview of what has been accomplished in the first year post-resolution, and where we still need to go from here. She’ll also share why—and how—we need corporate leaders to seize this critical moment to help rewrite this environmental crisis and design a circular system that works for business, people and the planet.
Erin Simon | Senior Program Manager, Packaging, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Achieving Packaging Sustainability Goals and the Critical Importance of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)
Achieving ambitious environmental sustainability goals is a priority for every member of the value chain as they face increased pressure from consumers, NGOs, lawmakers, as well as industry peers. This is particularly true in the pulp and paper packaging industry, which is characterized by high energy, water, and emission intensity throughout the production process. Companies can make great strides by conducting a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), which will help them better understand the total environmental impact of their packaging and provide a benchmark to set targets and make operational changes to improve sustainability metrics. This includes data on global warming potential, acidification, and water use – important reference points for all major stakeholders when evaluating potential partners.
Nate Pajka | Sustainability Specialist, Metsӓ Board, Americas
Networking Break
MRFs and Recycling
The Digital Transformation of Recycling
Digital transformation is rapidly driving changes in the industrial world, and recycling is now on this transformative journey. The real and digital worlds are beginning to intersect at upstream points on the recycling supply chain including at collection, sortation, and recovery. Emerging concepts unique to recycling, combined with technologies adopted from other industries, are introducing methods to track end-of-life packaging, control and automate at higher rates and speeds, and advance data-driven decision making into post-consumer material recovery. While this is an evolving and rapidly accelerating topic, and we might not have the complete picture until we look back 10 years from now, we will look at the technologies, trends, and companies that are driving this digital transformation right now.
Rob Writz | Director of Industry Relations and Strategic Partnership, AMP Robotics
Community Partnerships Increase Foodservice Packaging Recycling
In a city of 250,000 people, roughly 3,000 tons of cups, containers, boxes, and paper bags are generated annually. If we imagine a 10% recovery rate, that would mean 300 tons of material (230 tons of paper and 70 tons of plastic) going to a MRF instead of the landfill. Through collaborative efforts with communities, MRFs, and end markets, the Foodservice Packaging Institute has facilitated the increased acceptance of foodservice packaging in recycling programs. This includes items like paper and plastic cups, pizza boxes, and plastic takeout containers. FPI’s Community Partnership program conducts outreach to stakeholders (MRFs, haulers, end markets, composters, and communities), collects data on stream composition and program parameters, and develops strong communications components to increase residents’ understanding and participation in recycling. Additionally, FPI recently facilitated a statement of commitment from mills and end markets that represent 75% of mixed paper demand in the U.S. and Canada to accept paper cups in mixed paper bales (ISRI grade 54) and polycoat bales (ISRI grade 52). This session will provide details around the Community Partnership program, debunk myths around paper cup and pizza box recycling, and share resources communities can utilize to improve their recycling programs.
Ashley Elzinga | Director of Sustainability & Outreach, Foodservice Packaging Institute
Presentation Coming Soon!
Networking Lunch
Sponsorsed by
ORBIS
Alternative Materials, Recycling and Compostability
<Session Description>
This session will feature speakers talking about alternative materials, recyclability of alternative materials and compostable packaging.
Panel: Compostable Packaging
This panel will talk about the infrastructure for compostable packaging, stats and current availability of facilities, materials that are considered compostable, and the future of legislation. Panelists will also talk about applications of compostable packaging and consumer education.

Moderator: Savannah Seydel | Vice President of Sustainability, Better Earth

Panelists Include:
A Sustainable Packaging Supply Chain: The Molded Fiber Solution
From significant delays, to surging prices, global supply chain issues are disrupting industries worldwide. In this session, Zume’s Annette Groenink will discuss how technology enables a more sustainable packaging lifecycle from design and raw material selection to production, distribution, and disposal, and in turn solves supply chain woes. Annette will outline some technological breakthroughs that transform locally-sourced natural materials into high-performing molded fiber packaging, so compostable packaging can be localized to reduce stress on the supply chain, meet consumer demand, and help improve bottom lines.
Annette Groenink | EVP of North & Latin America, Zume Inc.
Packaging and Sustainability: Evolving Consumer Perceptions, Preferences and Behaviors
Please join NOVA Chemicals to learn more about consumer perceptions on plastics, packaging and sustainability.  We will be presenting the results from consumer surveys conducted over the past four years to understand and quantify consumer perceptions about plastic packaging, from pre-COVID-19 through the pandemic and until now - to gain insights about what matters most to consumers when it comes to packaging.  In this session, we’ll provide insights to help innovate sustainable products with consumer priorities in mind and how to communicate these innovations more effectively.  This will be a great opportunity to learn more about how consumers’ opinion of plastics has been influenced by the pandemic and how it continues to evolve and drive packaging changes.
Brant Wunderlich | Caps and Closures Market Manager, NOVA Chemicals, Inc.
Networking Break
Packaging Innovation – What is next?
<Session Description>
What materials are available and how can they be used? Where is packaging innovation going in the next 5-10 years? How is mixed use materials taking part in packaging innovation? This session will address these questions and more
Zero Waste and the Circular Economy
Achieving a circular economy for plastics
Tackling plastic pollution - in packaging and otherwise - begins with understanding a company's materials inventory, followed by taking actions within the value-chain to redesign products and processes to lessen impacts, and finally to mitigate residual footprints beyond the value chain investments. The talk will guide the audience through a three step process that can help us achieve a circular economy for plastics at the pace and scale required to meet the challenge: measure, manage, finance.
Irene Hofmeijer | Practice Lead Circular Economy, South Pole
Evening Networking Reception
How to Engage at the National Scale for Regulations
<Session Description>
This session will talk about how companies can engage at a national scale to have the same metrics and how to engage with government to support all the states and to go in the same direction.
Enabling the Circular Economy Through Proactive Policy
Would understanding the future of packaging ten years out help drive better policies and packaging system infrastructure? Enter the 10-Year Packaging Materials and Sustainability Compass, a report from AMERIPEN and PMMI. AMERIPEN Executive Director Dan Felton will discuss the report and current trends in today’s legislative environment and how all stakeholders in the packaging value chain can collaborate to design policy and system investments to proactively align with where sustainability in packaging is headed. Attendees will gain a deep understanding of the legislative environment for packaging and where some of the greatest opportunities for systems changes and a more circular economy could occur.
Dan Felton | Executive Director, AMERIPEN
Panel: Global Plastics Treaty
This panel will go over the recent Global Plastics Treaty, how this will affect the packaging industry and how will this look in the future. Each panelist will address how the treaty will be handled and discuss the obstacles that could be in the way as the treaty is implemented.
  • What do you think will be one of the biggest challenges of this treaty and its global implementation?
  • What can the packaging industry do to prepare themselves for this treaty in the coming years?
  • What needs to be solved locally before this treaty comes into effect?
 
Panelists Include:
Recycling and primary packaging for cosmetics and beauty products
Networking Break
Industry Trends Around Recyclable Packaging and Striving for Sustainability
<Session Description>
This session will cover trends around sustainability when it comes to recyclable packaging and how to help build circularity within your company
Panel: Reuse – How do we build circularity?
This panel will address reuse at scale – how can it be done? What will it cost? Do we build a new infrastructure? What is the policy support? What are the consumer trends, LCAs and data when it comes to reuse?

Moderator: Matt Prindiville | Chief Solutioneer and CEO, Upstream

Panelists Include:
Standardizing Recycling Requirements
Evening Networking Reception
Registration and Breakfast
Registration Table Opens
Panel: Brunching with Brands
Join brand representatives for breakfast as they discuss key topics, such as: How will the definition of sustainability change over the next 5-10 years? What does this mean for packaging and climate change? How will education on sustainability change for future generations?

Moderator: Lynn Dyer, Chief Sustainability & Public Affairs Officer, Pactiv Evergreen
 
Panelists Include:
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Brittany Onslow, Conference Producer, Smithers
Keynote Presentation Coming Soon!
Innovative Uses for Mixed Materials
<Session Description>
This session will go over different types of materials used in products or packaging that are not typically considered recyclable. Due to the nature of some products and packaging, sustainability can be slow to form or switch to other materials.
Achieving Circularity with Bio-Based Materials: Rethinking Hard-to-Recycle Plastic Packaging
In this session, we’ll discuss how circularity can be achieved for hard-to-recycle plastic packaging with bio-based alternatives. We will share actionable tips on how to choose the right material for different packaging and how to consider the overall environmental footprint in the evaluation process.
  • Current challenges in the sustainable packaging industry
  • How can we go beyond the 3 R’s of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?
  • How to choose the right packaging materials & product applications
  • The future of single-use plastic products

Nuha Siddiqui | CEO and Co-Founder, erthos
A Holistic Approach to Sustainability through Packaging Design
Re-Designing Packaging: Best Practices of Brands (and what labels had to do with it!)
It is an evolution that has been going on across the globe in the past years: re-designing packaging in the supermarket shelves ready for recycling! Although the label seems like a small part of the overall packaging – it can have a significant impact on reducing, re-using and recycling the packaging at the end-of-life. This session explores best practices on how brands have re-shaped their packaging by using new product decoration features – to boost recycling rates of different materials such as glass, HDPE and PET bottles. Small changes can have a huge effect!
Marika Knorr | Head of Sustainability, CCL Label
Networking Break
Building Sustainability from Within
How to tell your sustainable packaging story
Consumers are overwhelmed with eco-buzzwords, from “sustainability” to “carbon footprint.” But which ones resonate? More importantly, what are the right words — and the right communications approaches — to move consumers to prefer and buy a package or product based on its sustainability benefits? Suzanne Shelton will share her firm’s latest consumer surveying, as well as examples of real-world campaigns that have moved the needle with consumers, to help you better tell your sustainable packaging story.
Suzanne Shelton | President & CEO, Shelton Group
Navigating Sustainability Trade-Offs
Designers are often challenged by clients to seek "plastic-free" packaging solutions in pursuit of sustainability, but these solutions can incur higher carbon footprints and lead to increased failures such as food spoilage or breakage. How can packaging designers best navigate the complex trade-offs that go into designing sustainable packaging? And what does it really mean to design for sustainability? Use case studies from their sustainable packaging work for organizations across the CPG world, Ian Montgomery from Guacamole Airplane will break down their process and real world successes and failures as designers navigating the nuance of designing for sustainable packaging.
Ian Montgomery | Founder and Creative Director, Guacamole Airplane
Networking Lunch Break
Sponsored by 
Kuraray
Panel: Building Sustainability Through Packaging and Product Development
This panel will address the concept of tying packaging and product development together for purposes of enhanced sustainability. This is where the most beneficial decisions can be made, because you’re starting from a clean slate, and the benefits are both cumulative and multiplicative.

Moderator: Robert Lilienfeld | Executive Director, SPRING
 
Panelists Include:                                                                              
Working Together as an Industry
Fireside Chat: Challenges and Frustrations with Implementing EPR
Brands are struggling to tackle EPR. There are regulations, eco modulation and PCR levels. How can companies tackle new regulations successfully? With implementation across many different states and countries, what are the steps needed to accommodate?
 
What can companies plan for the future? Will other changes and requirements come down the pipeline? What are your hopes for the future of sustainable packaging and the circular economy?
 
Moderator: Lynn Dyer | Chief Sustainability & Public Affairs Officer, Pactiv Evergreen
 
Panelists Include:
Closing Keynote: What does the future of packaging look like?
Closing Remarks