Resource recovery and revalorization seems to be just about the hottest topic in the packaging sustainability community these days. It’s hard to pick up any packaging publication – print or online – without some reference to the need to expand packaging recyclability, and the opportunities and challenges involved. GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition made sure to emphasize this important topic as we developed the agenda for our 2014 Spring Conference, with tours and sessions that highlight the newest developments in resource recovery and end of life management.
The Pacific Northwest region leads the country in recycling and composting. We recently talked with Conference speaker, Dick Lilly, Manager for Waste Prevention and Product Stewardship at Seattle Public Utilities, about Seattle’s cutting edge sustainability efforts, specifically its composting and recycling efforts. Seattle is the first U.S. city to require that all single-use food service packaging be either compostable or recyclable, helping the city move toward its goal of a zero waste future. Lilly explained that in this shift to using all compostable or recyclable packaging, the city holds meetings with restaurants and manufacturers regularly to discuss what does and doesn’t work, and what needs to happen to make these regulations more successful. “One things that I would applaud about the restaurant industry is that they have been tremendously innovative and have made a great effort to come up with new products. The industry has changed dramatically in terms of the products made today that will help restaurants move in the direction of more compostables or reusables and less disposables,” said Lilly.