PLASTICS recently hosted the first annual PLASTICS Packaging Summit, featuring more than 30 expert speakers and attended by hundreds of professionals throughout the manufacturing sector who have a vested interest in the future of plastics as a key material for a broad range of packaging solutions.

The Summit began on November 3rd with a keynote address by Eric Roegner, President of Amcor Rigid Plastics. A long-time veteran of the aluminum industry, Roegner made the switch to a plastics career when he became convinced that plastic is the sustainable, environmentally friendly material that outdoes all the rest.

Roegner stressed that the sustainability and recyclability facts are on plastic’s side and that the industry needs to be bold about proclaiming them. He also emphasized the need to make the market and, in particular, the public, understand that the industry detests plastics waste as much as anyone, and that we are dedicated to helping build a recycling infrastructure that keeps plastic waste out of the environment.

The keynote set the stage for three days of compelling, informative content. Other highlights included:

  • Industry communications and marketing specialists Kristin Kelley (Amcor), David McLain (Printpack) and David Greely (LyondellBasell) participated in a panel discussion on effective ways to get the message out about the benefits and sustainability of plastics, an especially timely discussion given the communications rallying call in the keynote address.
  • United States Senator, Shelley Moore Capito, joined Matt Seaholm, PLASTICS VP for Government Affairs, for a revealing look into largely unreported cooperation on Capitol Hill, specifically bipartisan support that exists for better solutions to waste in the environment.
  • PLASTICS Chief Economist, Perc Pineda, provided an exclusive overview of the PLASTICS Global Trends report. Covering the state of the plastics industry worldwide, it is the only report of its kind and just one of the many insightful data publications from PLASTICS.
  • As part of the Summit’s focus on forward-thinking and innovation, research & development experts Colin Kerr (Unilever) and Clarence Sequeira (PepsiCo) briefed attendees on corporate support for advanced recycling—non-mechanical processes that break plastics down to their essential components which are then used to create new plastic for a circular economy.
  • Articles and TV news stories about essential products being stranded on container ships due to a lack of port capacity and/or stranded on land due to the lack of trucking capacity, have supply chain logistics high on the minds of both manufacturers and consumers. Bill Sullivan (American Trucking Association) and Robert Handfield (professor of Supply Chain Management at North Carolina State university) participated in a discussion on the changing face of the packaging supply chain.
  • Another top item on the list of corporate concerns these days is the shortage of skilled labor to fill the many jobs that remain open across the country. Summit attendees heard Virginia Márquez Coley (Printpack HR) and labor researcher Ron Hetrick (Emsi), discuss ways for employers to secure and retain employees.

The above is only a fraction of the world-class content attendees experienced during the PLASTICS Packaging Summit, which was held online this year. Plans are under way for the second annual Summit, which be held in-person in November 2022.