Scott Cassel, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder, joined forces with Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of groundbreaking waste solutions company TerraCycle, on the mission to eliminate waste. Available nationwide, Szaky’s fourth book The Future of Packaging: From Linear to Circular (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2019) offers a roadmap out of the modern waste crisis through packaging design.

More than 50 million tons of packaging and paper products are disposed of in the U.S. each year, representing a missed opportunity to recover valuable resources. For over a decade, PSI has sought circular solutions by bringing stakeholders together to advance product stewardship for packaging, with a focus on producer responsibility. Cassel’s chapter in The Future of Packaging dives deeper into the rationale behind this approach and the benefits to be gained from holding brand owners responsible for reducing the impacts of their packaging choices.

“By sharing diverse perspectives from governments, brand owners, and waste management firms, this book powerfully transforms the issues we’ve avoided into ones we are motivated to tackle head-on,” says Scott Cassel. “My chapter calls for a paradigm shift in producer responsibility, placing waste and materials management in the hands of the producer as an asset, not a burden.”

Designed to be a primer on packaging design for the circular economy, The Future of Packaging integrates perspectives from Szaky and 15 innovators in sustainability -including government leaders, corporate risk takers and international waste management experts – to create a guide that can help everyone from a small startup to a large corporation move towards a future of innovation and growth with less waste.

The co-authors for The Future of Packaging: From Linear to Circular are:

  • Attila Turos, former Lead, Future of Production Initiative, World Economic Forum
  • Christine “Christie” Todd Whitman, President, The Whitman Strategy Group; former Governor of New Jersey; and former Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Jean-Marc Boursier, Group Senior Executive Vice President, Finance and Recycling Recovery (Northern Europe), SUEZ
  • Scott Cassel, founder and CEO, Product Stewardship Institute; President, Global Product Stewardship Council
  • Stephen Sikra, Global Lead, Packaging Material Science & Technology, Procter & Gamble
  • Ron Gonen, cofounder and Managing Partner, Closed Loop Partners, and cofounder and former CEO, Recyclebank
  • Michael Manna, founder and Managing Director, Organic Recycling Solutions
  • Chris Daly, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo Western Europe
  • Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor, Packaging Digest
  • Tony Dunnage, Group Director, Manufacturing Sustainability, Unilever
  • KoAnn Skrzyniarz, founder and CEO, Sustainable Life Media and Sustainable Brands
  • Raphael Bemporad, and Liz Schroeter Courtney, BBMG
  • Virginie Helias, Vice President, Global Sustainability, Procter & Gamble
  • Lisa Jennings, Vice President, Global Hair Acceleration, Procter & Gamble

“Acknowledging the tall order of changing course away from climate catastrophe means addressing it from several angles,” says author Tom Szaky. “I have had the privilege to co-author this book with the best minds in the global packaging movement-folks who have been championing this new frame of thinking for decades. Together, they provide the tools for anyone, consumer to corporation, interested in innovating upwards out of this mess and into abundance.”

Called “a crash course for designing for the circular economy” by Unilever CEO Paul Polman, The Future of Packagingcontextualizes the historical and economic factors that spurred modern society’s “business as usual” preoccupation with disposability, explains the current state of manufacturing, recycling, and resource management, and inspires critical thinking about the true function of our packaging.

Topics include the evolution of plastic and recommendations and “watch-outs” for producing and consuming in the circular economy. For instance, biodegradable and bio-based plastics may not be as “green” or sustainable as marketed, black plastics are typically non-recyclable, and though lighter in weight, packaging such as pouches and cartons also take a toll on the planet. This book will empower champions for change and a more sustainable future.

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