Meet the Speakers: Kara Pochiro, VP of Communications and Public Affairs, The Association of Plastic Recyclers
As we get within a few weeks of the 2020 Plastics Recycling Conference and Trade Show, we’re pleased to introduce you to another expert set to take the conference stage.
Kara Pochiro, communications head at APR, will be leading a critical session next month in Nashville focused on messaging around plastics recycling. China’s import ban and other market shifts have made recycling economics a major mainstream news topic. And marine debris and other plastic pollution concerns remain global talking points.
How can the North American plastics recycling industry ensure it’s portrayed as a strong, sustainable sector that is helping to keep materials in circulation? In the “Getting the Word Out” session, Pochiro will help analyze the situation and offer up various strategies attendees can use to strengthen the image of their individual companies and the industry as a whole.
Why do you think there’s a need for consistent and persuasive messaging in the plastics recycling industry right now?
Kara Porchiro: People don’t have to look any further than their local newspaper, TV news program, or Facebook newsfeed to see that negative coverage of plastic and plastic recycling is pervasive. Much of that negative coverage can be attributed to fundamental misunderstandings about how the plastic recycling industry works. There has never been a more important time to explain to the media, policymakers and the public how our industry works and how they can contribute to an effective circular economy.
“At APR, we are working to be more nimble, reaching people where they are with the information they need in a format that works for them.”
What have been the barriers in the past to delivering this kind of unified message?
In recent years, APR and our members have been steadily communicating the good news about plastic recycling. At the same time, communication channels have become more diffused. For instance, an ever-growing number of people are steering away from traditional news platforms and instead getting their news updates from sources like podcasts and social media. At APR, we are working to be more nimble, reaching people where they are with the information they need in a format that works for them. In the coming weeks, we are launching a podcast – something we will discuss during the conference session – as one effort to enhance and grow our strategies for reaching the wide range of audiences who care about our issues.
What can attendees expect to walk away with from the “Getting the Word Out” session?
Attendees should expect useful tools and practical advice for strengthening their skills as industry advocates. At APR, we always say that our members are in the best position to talk about plastic recycling – they are doing it every day! During the session, we will share the many resources APR has developed from talking points and op-ed templates to infographics and videos. We’ll provide some interactive opportunities to demonstrate how to best utilize these tools with the media and during presentations. Importantly, we’ll also be collecting feedback from participants, giving them the opportunity to vote on which tools they need to best tell our industry story.
“The most important message about plastic recycling is also the most simple one: Recycling works.”
When you think about the many positive stories the industry has to tell, what stands out as the most important message the rest of the world needs to hear?
The most important message about plastic recycling is also the most simple one: Recycling works. Plastic recycling is happening right now, and in high volumes. A few things are critical for spurring growth in plastic recycling in the U.S.: package design for recyclability, increased demand for recycled content from consumers and brands, and a significant investment in the American recycling infrastructure. Investment in recycling infrastructure today will position the industry to process more volume, more efficiently, well into the future. Recycling is working – and it can work even better if we all play our part.
Kara Pochiro will be speaking on the “Getting the Word Out” session alongside Caitlin Sickles, director of government affairs at Bracewell LLP. The session is taking place Wednesday, February 19 at 11 a.m.
Complete details for the whole lineup of conference sessions are available now.