Last week, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association concluded its inaugural Re|focus Recycling Summit & Expo which included prominent speakers from the plastics, recycling, food, beverage and consumer products industries. By gathering the entire plastics supply chain together to discuss increasing the use of recycled content, improving and increasing the recyclability of plastic and exploring other sustainability strategies, the summit also provided brand owners and processors with the conversations, tools and resources they need to take their environmental goals from aspirational to operational.

Highlights from the first-ever Re|focus Summit & Expo include:

S.C. Johnson & Son Inc.’s SVP Global of Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability, Kelly Semrau revealed her company’s new initiative to help build the infrastructure to eventually make Ziploc packaging bags widely recyclable via curbside recycling programs.

SPI released its latest Plastics Market Watch report, “Automotive Recycling: Devalued is now Revalued,” also its second automotive-focused whitepaper, which provides an overview on the business benefits of recycling plastics in automobiles, makes the case for innovative use of recycled content and promotes increased recycling of plastic automobile parts.

Walmart’s announcement that it will be using the How2Recycle label on their private label products.

Consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to creating sustainable products and educating consumers about the importance of recycling bathroom goods through its Care to Recycle online toolkit which shows families what to recycle, where to recycle and how to make recycling fun.

A session focused on Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council and SPI’s Demonstration Project, a multi-hospital plastics recycling project in Chicago launched with a goal to demonstrate a viable business model for recycling healthcare plastics and a target to recycle 100 tons of plastics over the next 12 months.

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association’s Earth Week campaign, Plastic Bag Grab Challenge, aimed at encouraging elementary schools across Canada to collect plastic bags for the chance for top schools that collect the most plastic bags to win cash prizes that can be used for schools’ environmental initiatives.

In addition to the keynote, panels and breakout sessions, the over 10,000 net square foot exhibit hall was a core focus of the conference where attendees could learn about the various products from over 70 exhibitors/sponsors, literature and services available to help achieve their sustainability goals. “Our exhibit halls are integral to the success of our trade shows, and Re|focus was no different in terms of our members, partners and industry friends showing up with their latest and greatest designs and information,” said Mark Garrison, senior vice president of membership and business development at SPI.

“We were so impressed by the turnout and candid conversation about working together collaboratively to reduce waste and promote recycling, with stakeholders and industry influencers representing various parts of the supply chain,” said Kim Holmes, senior director of recycling and diversion at SPI. “Re|focus had a successful inaugural summit and next year, we will return with an even more robust program to continue to drive conversation on how we all play a role in collectively committing to sustainable practices. We look forward to hosting in 2017.”

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