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The Importance of Listening and Learning

We at FPI know a lot about foodservice packaging. After all, we are the self-proclaimed "leading authority on foodservice packaging." We spend a lot of our time talking about foodservice packaging, but sometimes we need to sit back, listen and learn from others.

Thatís been the case with FPIís recovery work through the Paper Recovery Alliance, Plastics Recovery Group and Foam Recycling Coalition. We may be the experts on foodservice packaging, but not on the recovery of it. At least not when we started these projects. That has lead us to many conversations over the last few years with key stakeholders in the recovery process, including foodservice operators, communities, material recovery facilities, end markets for recycled materials and composters.

Itís been through these many conversations that we've learned about their businesses and listened to their concerns about including more foodservice packaging. We know that unless thereís a benefit to adding this material, they may not want to include it.

Take, for example, my recent participation in the Southeast Recycling Conference. Over three days, I met with a number of brokers, consultants, mills and MRFs. Just about everyone shared how difficult the recycling business is today. I know, I know. We could not have picked a worst time to ask our potential recovery partners to add new materials into their programs. But frankly, listening to their honest comments just helps us learn what their concerns are and how to address them.

All this outreach has helped to shape our ongoing recovery work, and we're pleased to help address many of the questions and concerns folks have through our new "Foodservice Packaging Recovery Toolkit" website, found at

While some of the material was taken from our previous iteration, we've incorporated a brand new section for foodservice operators interested in adding an in-store recycling and/or composting collection program (a big thanks to the National Restaurant Association for their support on this project!). We've included new case studies highlighting successful foodservice packaging and are currently drafting a new section specifically for composting and AD facility operators.

Of course, it's not a static website, and we'll be updating it as we continue to listen and learn more about recycling and composting. It's through those conversations and budding relationships that weíll succeed in getting more of our products recycled and composted.

If you'd like to learn more about our toolkit, please join our free webinar on us on April 21 at 2:00 p.m. EDT for a webinar. Click here for more details.

Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 3/29/2016 3:47:37 PM