In an industry noted for its consumables, the packaging industry is looking past simple recycling of materials into a sustainable and even circular packaging future.
In his overview of global packaging trends, Pierre Pienaar, president of the World Packaging Organisation, told a media luncheon that sustainability tops the list of major issues facing global package suppliers and customers. He also noted the efforts have gone beyond merely a tagline for a public relations effort.
“Sustainability is No. 1,” Pienaar said. “The word was spoken, but there was no action. The picture seems to be changing.”
That was echoed by PMMI president and CEO Jim Pittas. “At this show, we’ve really tried to focus on sustainability, workforce and automation. Sustainability has got to be the No. 2 most talked-about topic.”
Pack Expo’s Sustainability Stage at Booth N-9967 is featuring continuous presentations from major suppliers, equipment manufacturers and end-users around the topic of sustainability. The discussion was opened on Mon., Sept. 11 with a presentation from Dow, the official sustainability partner at this year’s Pack Expo on new ways to manage resources at every stage of packaging process, including post-usage management.
The concept of circular packaging—planning for material use and reuse on a continuing basis—will be the topic of two sessions during the Tuesday, Sept. 12 schedule at Pack Expo:
- Beyond Sustainability: Leading the Shift to Circular Packaging will be presented at 1p.m. at the Sustainability Stage by David Katz, founder and chairman of Plastic Bank, an enterprise focused on removing the estimated 24 million tons of plastic from the world’s oceans.
- Closing the Packaging Loop: Advancing the Circular Economy will be presented at 3 p.m. by Christopher Davidson, the vice president of sustainability at WestRock, a packaging company that also focuses on sustainable products and solutions.
The infographic below provided by PMMI offers some insights into the trends—and future needs—in a circular packaging ecostructure.