Industry professionals meet in Louisville
By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling
Nearly 500 recycling professionals from 37 states, four Canadian provinces and eight countries convened in Louisville, Kentucky last week for the fourth annual Resource Recycling Conference and Trade Show.
The conference opened with a look forward at the current and future role of packaging in recycling, with the speakers specifically focusing on the role of business in product stewardship. Moderated by Craig Cookson, director of sustainability and recycling for the American Chemistry Council, the session featured an overview of ways to boost recycling rates for packaging and printed paper from Nestle Waters North America chairman Kim Jeffrey, an evaluation of new end-of-life collection and recycling options for packaging from Alan Blake of PAC NEXT, as well as a look at the regulatory and stewardship situation from AMERIPEN executive director Donna Dempsey.
"We're problem solvers, and at the end of the day, industry needs to have skin in the game for recycling to get the results that it needs," said Jeffrey, speaking to the morning session's attendees. "If you're a CEO of a consumer packaging company, and you don't think that over the next 10-20 years there is going to be tremendous competition for virgin material from Asian manufacturers, you're living under a rock."
"This is a $20 billion-per-year opportunity," said Blake, referring to the potential value of recovered materials discarded in the U.S. annually. "In Canada, we've found that the most effective programs are the ones where everyone has a voice, and we need to be taking an integrated approach to waste management today."
The conference also featured sessions on market trends for a variety of recycled commodities, stewardship and collection best practices, as well as details about China's Green Fence.
The 2014 Resource Recycling Conference will be held September 16-17 at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans.