Natha and I were both on the road last week at several
different events, representing our members, the association and the industry. Here
are the highlights…
I was at the Keep America Beautiful National Conference. FPI
sponsored the keynote speaker, Rob Curnow, a community psychologist and leading
authority on human behavior in waste minimization. Following Rob’s presentation,
I spoke on a panel along with representatives from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the
University of Georgia. I discussed that while foodservice packaging was an
unfortunate part of the litter stream, packaging is not the problem. The real
problem is consumer behavior and the people who choose to litter their
single-use items. It was a good discussion with the panel and audience members,
and attending the conference gave me an opportunity to tout our “Being a Good
Neighbor: A Guide to Reducing and Managing Litter” resource we published last
year with the help of KAB and the National Restaurant Association. Besides the panel, there were many occasions
to network with hundreds of KAB affiliates from throughout the country and
answer their questions about foodservice packaging.
Later in the week, I attended Waste Management’s Executive
Sustainability Forum. I’d never been to the event before and wasn’t sure what
to expect. The speakers were fascinating, and I thoroughly appreciated one of
the panel discussions in which FPI was kindly mentioned not once, but twice, by
panelists Jim Hanna from Starbucks (active in FPI’s recovery work) and Keefe
Harrison of The Recycling Partnership (of which FPI is a sponsor). Rounding out
the event were breakout sessions, and I was asked to assist the EPA representative
in her discussions about wasted food (have you read my blog post from last
week?) As expected, the event also provided great networking opportunities,
helping to elevate FPI’s reputation as an association very engaged in key
issues like recycling and food waste recovery.
As for Natha’s travels, I’ll let her fill you in…
Hi everyone – Natha here.
It was a well-rounded week for me, doing double duty, first at the
Plastics Recycling Conference and next at the PSI Specifications Summit. Fortunately, both were in New Orleans and
hosted at the same venue – we can’t say enough for co-located events!
Having been to the Plastics Recycling Conference many times
before, I knew exactly what I was getting:
jam packed sessions on plastics, with many, many familiar faces. I love the opportunity to see so many of our
fellow association representatives, other allies, and even a few FPI members! With over 1700 attendees, can we say
networking?! I spent a lot of time talking to old friends and new faces. It was
a busy two and a half days, but I wasn’t done yet…
The last half of the week was a newer experience for
me. The Paper Scrap Industries (PSI)
Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) hosted a
specifications summit. ISRI is responsible
for setting scrap specifications and publishes them in a circular
each year. These specifications serve as
guidelines for those people buying scrap materials.
As a trade association, FPI is not eligible for membership
with this group, so it is a special occasion when non-members like me are
invited to the table to listen to the discussion. In this case, PSI has suggested some changes
to a few of the specifications for stock paper.
The reality is the types of paper in the recycling stream are
shifting. It doesn’t take an industry
expert to know that newspaper no longer makes up a large percentage of the
bin. What the proposed changes are
intending to do is alter a few of the current specifications to better reflect
the makeup of a recycled paper bale. The
two and a half days of meetings on this side were to discuss and debate those
proposed changes as well as several other topics and definitions related the
paper stock specifications.
Getting to listen and even participate a little bit in these
discussions was fascinating. In my
opinion, there isn’t a better way to be educated than to listen to a room full
of subject matter experts, and believe me, they were all there. The discussions were lively, if occasionally
a little heated as opinions were shared with the specifications committee and
the audience. Points were taken and received
as a part of the process and at the end of the week when the votes were cast,
some of the proposed changes were set to move on to the next level – in this
case, is a vote of the ISRI Paper Division at the ISRI Convention in April.
This was my second specifications summit and I truly hope
PSI chooses to host more. In the
meantime, I will be attending the aforementioned ISRI Convention in April, and
Lynn and I plan to make the Paper and Plastics Recycling Conference
a priority in October. I’m sure there
will be more to learn about the specifications at both of those events.
Lynn and I will be back out there on behalf of FPI in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I am still recovering after last week's road trip, but it was exhaustion well earned!
Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 2/9/2016 3:20:29 PM