Sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty 101

Monday, May 20th
1:00pm to 5:00pm

Sustainability…it’s a lengthy, six-syllable word that has only been around since the early 1970’s and can have many interpretations.  Since its introduction, the concept has gone from fringe to mainstream, yet the definition can still be “elusive” and “vague.” In this half-day course, experts from the industry will discuss what sustainability means for plastics, including exploring the principles of triple bottom line, goal setting, benchmarking, sustainability reporting, standards, alternative materials and emerging technologies that are helping us bridge the gap to reduce impacts on manufacturing and products throughout their life.  Whether you are new to the plastics industry, new to a sustainability role within your company, or a seasoned sustainability professional who’d like to brush up on leading sustainability trends, this course has something for everyone.

Presentations include: 

  • Introduction: Defining "sustainability" for the plastics industry - Kim Holmes, Plastics Industry Association
  • Trendy terms: Comparing and contrasting "sustainable materials management" and "circular economy" - Gail Tavill, representing AMERIPEN
  • The big picture of mechanical recycling: How it works and the status of curbside recycling in the U.S.. - Dylan de Thomas, The Recycling Partnership 
  • Beyond mechanical: Introducing chemical recycling and energy recovery technologies - Craig Cookson, American Chemistry Council
  • Alternate materials: An introduction to bioplastics - Patrick Krieger, Plastics Industry Association
  • Standards: From resin ID codes to circular economy to chain of custody for recycled content, there's a standard for nearly everything - Patrick Krieger, Plastics Industry Association
  • Summing it up: A look at the various tools for reporting sustainability progress and goals - Cristian Barcan, Vinyl Institute 

Sustainable Materials Management in Action: Tour of Kent County's MRF + WTE Facilities

Monday, May 20th
1:00pm to 5:00pm

PLASTICS envisions a future where all plastics, and other recyclables are recognized and treated as the valuable resources that they are. Plastics are too valuable to lose to the landfill and should be put to their highest and best use, and Kent County is putting these philosophies into practice. Join us for a unique opportunity to see the future of materials management in action. This multi-stop tour will showcase how Kent County is putting the waste management tools into place that will eventually allow them to retire their landfill. Attendees will get a tour of the material recovery facility (MRF), the state-of-the-art waste to energy (WTE) facility, and learn about plans for an eco-industrial park with the goal of attracting plastics recyclers and manufacturers using locally-generated recycled materials. www.reimaginetrash.org/vision

SPEAKERS

A Triple Bottom Line Company: Tour of Cascade Engineering Facilities

Monday, May 20th
1:00pm to 5:00pm

Cascade Engineering (CE) is a global manufacturing company that specializes in plastic injection molding of large parts. CE is comprised of nine business units supporting a wide diversity of markets, including transportation, environmental services, office seating, material handling, polymer compounding and RFID asset management. This tour will showcase CE’s commitment to sustainability with visits to four facilities located across the Grand Rapids, MI campus: Starting at The Learning Community, a LEED Platinum Certified building housing their corporate offices, attendees will learn why CE is a Triple Bottom Line company. We’ll visit their Buursma plant, which molds 95, 64, and 32-gallon rolling containers used for solid waste, recycling and organics collection, and houses their 9000T Battenfeld molding machine - one of the largest presses in the world. The tour will include a stop at Noble Polymers, where the company provides thermoplastic solutions that are both high-performance and eco-friendly, and a final stop at CE’s 33rd street facility, which utilizes “Natural Work Teams.” These self-directed teams oversee the entire operation without management supervision. www.cascadeng.com

SPEAKERS

Welcome & Keynote: Eco- Luxury Packaging

Tuesday, May 21st
9:00am to 10:00am

Aveda has become a brand recognized not only for their quality products, but for their strong environmental and social commitments as well. They were the first beauty company to use 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) PET, and today more than 85% of their packaging portfolio contains 100% PCR.  In order to make this vision a reality, they adjusted the aesthetics of their packaging and successfully communicated those changes to their customers.  Aveda has proven that using PCR does not mean compromising your brand or your customer’s expectations.  Their inspirational story shows the new heights that can be achieved in sustainability when companies dare to think outside the box.   

Opening Plenary

Tuesday, May 21st
10:30am to 12:00pm

Our opening plenary, a series of rapid-fire presentations rolled into a cohesive whole, will feature truly disruptive efforts to advance collection and expand the use of recycled plastics. The plenary will push attendees to think outside the box and challenge their assumptions about the traditional models that need to change to take the life cycle of plastics into the next generation (note that the 2019 Re|focus Sustainability Innovation awards will also be announced during this session). 

Concurrent Session: Striving for Zero Net Waste in Manufacturing

Tuesday, May 21st
1:30pm to 3:00pm

Manufacturing creates byproducts, but these materials have value and should be managed as a resource.  Learn from leading companies who are achieving maximum diversion in manufacturing, including how they garnered support from management and employees, and selected the vendors that create a formula for success.

Concurrent Session: Using Additives to Expand the Horizons for Recycling

Tuesday, May 21st
1:30pm to 3:00pm

Additives are the newest tool being used to advance the use of recycled content. These materials can shift and enhance properties of recycled plastics, unlocking new opportunities for use in end-markets where recycled materials were not previously utilized.

Concurrent Session: Advances in Packaging for Food Contact

Tuesday, May 21st
3:30pm to 5:00pm

Packaging performs a number of important jobs, from ensuring food safety to extending shelf life and preventing food waste.  This session will explore new materials and methods for further reducing the environmental impact of packaging for food contact. 

Concurrent Session: Sustainable Innovations in 3D printing

Tuesday, May 21st
3:30pm to 5:00pm

We are just beginning to understand the potential of how additive manufacturing will change the structure of manufacturing and consumption.  This session will explore how sustainability intersects with this new technology, including how recycled content can be brought into the additive manufacturing process. 

Post-Reception Social Event at Founders Brewery

Tuesday, May 21st
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Join fellow Re|focus attendees, both old friends and new connections, at one of Grand Rapids' premier and iconic breweries for post-reception dinner and libations. Enjoy the ~15-minute stroll through downtown Grand Rapids or grab a colleague to share a ride and meet us on the second floor in the Centennial Room. Your event ticket includes a full buffet dinner and two drink tickets allowing you to experience Founders vast selection of IPAs, ales, stouts and lagers. Re|focus is proud to partner with a brewery who shares our sustainability values – read more about Founders’ goals here: https://foundersbrewing.com/brewery/about-founders/sustainability/

SPEAKERS

Concurrent Session: Making the Vertical Jump

Wednesday, May 22nd
9:00am to 10:30am

This session looks at how material suppliers are exploring the possibility of vertical integration by adding a recycling component to their traditional virgin material supply chains. This session examines the commitments chemical companies are making and the partnerships they have embarked on to assist them in reaching their goals to expand portfolios and offer commercial grades of recycled resins.

Concurrent Session: Automotive Manufacturing: A Case Study in Greening the Supply Chain

Wednesday, May 22nd
9:00am to 10:30am

The automotive industry is one of the largest industries in the U.S. and it is also making some of the largest commitments to using innovative materials to green the supply chain.  This session will explore the commitments being made and how suppliers are responding with innovative solutions.

Concurrent Session: Today’s Innovation, Tomorrow’s Solution

Wednesday, May 22nd
11:00am to 12:30pm

Innovation is driven by challenges.  As we look to advance sustainability in plastics manufacturing, there are a number of challenges the industry is racing to overcome in design, performance and recovery.  This session will feature thought leaders offering innovative solutions that meet the challenges of today, and which will ultimately change the future business models of the industry. 

Concurrent Session: Infrastructure: A New Road Ahead for Recycling

Wednesday, May 22nd
11:00am to 12:30pm

The impacts of China’s National Sword, low prime pricing and an ever-expanding pipeline of prime resin production have shined a spotlight on deficiencies in our domestic recycling system.  As we look at strategies for shoring up recycling domestically, infrastructure investment is emerging as an opportunity area, both in terms of system improvement and end market development.  This session will explore the intersection of infrastructure politics and projects, and long-term health of the plastics recycling industry in the U.S.

Closing Plenary

Wednesday, May 22nd
1:30pm to 2:30pm

Over the past two years, it is clear that the issue of marine debris, and the solutions created to address the challenge, will shape the plastics industry for generations to come. Last year, National Geographic launched the Planet or Plastic? initiative, a global commitment to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic that reaches the ocean. By mobilizing global communities and investing in science, exploration, innovation and education, the effort aims to tackle the world’s plastic waste crisis. As part of the initiative, the National Geographic Society is working to develop an action plan that will help make the goal of ending marine plastic pollution a reality, and there is broad recognition that the plastic industry must be a key stakeholder in that strategy. As a first step in engagement, PLASTICS welcomes Valerie Craig, vice president of operating programs for the National Geographic Society, to share the latest on the initiative, and explore the opportunities for industry to help deliver solutions that will address this pressing environmental issue. This is a special presentation and discussion that any plastics company seeking to be part of the solution will not want to miss.

Healthcare Plastics Roundtable: Unlocking this Potential Feedstock by Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (Separate Registration Required)

Wednesday, May 22nd
3:00pm to 5:30pm

The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC), in conjunction with the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), is excited to host a complimentary interactive workshop aimed at helping recyclers connect with hospitals and learn more about the significant opportunity presented by healthcare plastics. The workshop will take place at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. 

At this collaborative event, you'll have the opportunity to: 

  • Learn about healthcare plastics as a new feedstock, including resin types, forms, potential volume, and end markets
  • Dive into HPRC's new Healthcare Plastics Guidance for Recyclers 
  • Participate in interactive breakout sessions on topics including partnering with hospitals to ensure a clean supply, establishing logistics and collection hubs, and preparing materials for sale 

This event will help recyclers navigate the process of working with hospitals to capitalize on the millions of pounds of clean plastics that are available for recovery. If you’re a recycler looking to grow your business, healthcare plastics could be your next valuable stream. This workshop will be an excellent opportunity to get first-hand experience with the types of plastics available for recovery in hospitals and get all of your questions answered about how to create value with this material. We’d love to have you join us!

Register here. 

SPEAKERS

PLASTICS Transportation and Industrial Plastics (TIP) Committee Meeting (Separate registration required)

Wednesday, May 22nd
3:00pm to 5:00pm

Join us for the May 22-23 meeting of the Transportation and Industrial Plastics (TIP) committee, being helf in conjunction w/Re|focus, including a joint session with the PLASTICS Recycling Committee. TIP is PLASTICS' principle  point of engagement for all producers of rigid and durable plastics in automotive, industrial and consumer goods. The entire supply chain – equipment manufacturers, material suppliers, processors, brand owners and recyclers – are represented in the group as it addresses issues around sustainability and end-of-life vehicle recycling, lightweighting and materials issues, and other regulatory, advocacy and education issues of relevance to this particular end market sector.

The May TIP Meeting is scheduled to follow the closing of the 2019 Re|focus Sustainablity & Recycling Summit. Following an afternoon TIP-Only agenda, the TIP members will join the PLASTICS Recycling Committee for a more of sustainability discussions, including updates on PLASTICS Sustainability Benchmarking project, Supply Chain Reporting Harmonization, zero net waste program and status of new end market opportunities, including the end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling demonstration project.

Registration for this meeting is free and open to the entire plastics industry. Sign up by clicking here. 

SPEAKERS