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2015: Onward and Upward

At last month’s FPI Fall Meeting, our Board of Directors got together to make some important decisions. We elected new officers (congratulations to our new chair, Tracy Pearson, vice president and general manager of International Paper’s Foodservice business!), approved a new budget and perhaps most importantly, discussed what we will work on in 2015.

You see, FPI has a strategic plan we adopted in 2011, which identifies key goals and objectives in five buckets of work (public affairs, research, communications, business development and membership). While this drives our work from a high level, we look to focus on key areas of work each year. Here’s what we came up with for 2015.

#1: Facilitate & promote FPI’s recovery initiatives
Honestly, this focus area has been on our list for the last couple of years, but given that recovering more foodservice packaging is one of our industry’s greatest challenges, it made sense to keep it on the list another year. FPI’s Paper Recovery Alliance (PRA) and Plastics Recovery Group (PRG) will be moving into a new phase in 2015, with greater emphasis on communicating that yes, you can recycle and/or compost those paper and plastic items. We’ll be hitting the speaking circuit to reach key audiences and are looking forward to working with others in the Curbside Value Partnership, a group we are pleased to be joining. Meanwhile, our newly launched Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) will offer its inaugural grant program to increase recycling of, you guessed it, foam foodservice packaging. For more details, I encourage you to check out our Stewardship page.

#2: Develop resources for use with legislators and regulators
It’s no secret that foodservice packaging is a favorite target for legislators and regulators for a variety of reasons. We’ve seen product and material specific bans morph into threats to the entire industry. For this reason, we need to be proactive and be prepared as additional threats are posed that could limit the use of any foodservice package. One way we plan to do that is to update our economic impact data for not only our members, but for the entire foodservice packaging industry. We want to be able to share key data and make statements like “In X-State/Province the foodservice packaging industry has X-number of facilities employing X-number people with a payroll of $X-number while paying payroll, property and sales taxes of $X-amount.” You will for sure be hearing more from us on this.

#3: Identify opportunities for FPI and member companies to support litter/marine debris reduction initiatives targeting foodservice packaging
If increasing the recovery of foodservice packaging is our top challenge, certainly the unfortunate existence of our products in the litter stream (whether land or water based) is our industry’s next greatest challenge. It leads to a negative image about our products and gives legislators and environmentalists a reason to pursue us. While litter and marine debris is a people problem (not a packaging problem), there are steps that FPI and our members can do. Next year, with the help of Keep America Beautiful, we’ll launch a new resource for foodservice operators that can help reduce litter in and around their stores. We’ll also continue our dialogue with the Environmental Protection Agency and look for concrete projects at the national and regional levels through their Trash Free Waters program.

#4: Communicate the benefits and dispel myths about foodservice packaging to key target audiences
It seems there’s always more work to be done on the communications front at FPI. And we won’t stop until everyone understands the sanitary, economic, environmental and safety benefits of foodservice packaging. And dispel the many frustrating myths about our products. It’s time to update some of our resources so that we can better communicate with our target audiences, and spread our message through new channels, like social media.
We have our work cut out for us, but we are ready and excited to start the 82nd chapter of FPI.

Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 11/11/2014 1:35:32 PM