2014 Session Schedule and Descriptions 

Leading experts in the fields of plastic recovery and utilization will present extensive and detailed industry assessments, including analyses of trends in the U.S. and Canada, plastics collection issues, recycling market factors, and legislative and policy considerations.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Plenary 1: Leadership in packaging and retail

(Mandarin Chinese translation available)

The race is on for companies to green their supply chains and improve the sustainability of product lines.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the plastics packaging sector, where manufacturers, shippers and retailers are discovering that sustainable packaging policies are good for both the environment, as well as the bottom line.  The 2014 Plastics Recycling Conference opens with a top-level assessment of plastics recycling and packaging sustainability initiatives at some of the largest retailers and packaging manufacturers in the world.

Walmart and retail leadership in recycling

Walmart is one of the few companies in the world large enough to single-handedly change an entire industry, and the company's sustainable packaging initiative has already had a profound effect on plastics recycling.  How have Walmart's packaging initiatives, sustainability goals, and recycled content use changed recycling and what can we expect next?
--Rob Kaplan, Walmart 

Packaging manufacturers go green

Procter & Gamble has embarked on an ambitious, multi-year effort to reduce manufacturing waste and improve the recyclability of their plastic packaging. What progress have their made and what's to come for the packaging giant?
--Steve Sikra, Procter & Gamble

Understanding the packaging lifecycle

How do packaging manufacturers gauge the sustainability of their products?  Global packaging manufacturer Amcor utilizes comprehensive lifecycle assessments to measure its plastic products and their recyclability.
--Charlie Schwarze, Amcor

Plenary 2: Crunching the numbers on resin markets

(Mandarin Chinese translation available)

Understanding complex resin markets is a must for any serious plastic recycling firm. Fortunately, three experts in the field are here to help and will walk Plastics Recycling Conference attendees through the dynamics of the resin market -- past, present and future.

Polyethylene trends and need-to-know info

What is the long term trend in polyethylene pricing and what do processors need to know for the coming year?  This presentation will take an in depth look at polyethylene markets and pricing.
--David Barry, PetroChem Wire

How is the PP market impacting your bottom line?

PP markets have been subjected to disruptive trade forces over the past year.  To make sense of how these events affect your business, this presentation will take a look at their impact on pricing, as well as what polypropylene reclaimers can expect in the coming year.
--Joel Morales, IHS

The essential PET pricing information for 2014

PET is one of the most recycled plastic resins, but successfully processing PET means doing your homework.  This session offers a detailed assessment of PET resin market price trends and what processors can expect.
--John Maddox, SBA-CCI

Concurrent A: The Hard Stuff - Recycling film, foam and other difficult plastics

(Mandarin Chinese translation available)

Significant progress has been made in recycling many types of plastic products.  Beverage bottles, for example, are a very prominent example.  But what about the plastic products which still lag behind in recycling?  What are the collection, transport, processing and end-market challenges that exist and how do we overcome them? 

Collecting EPS

Expanded polystyrene foam is one of the most difficult materials to collect for recycling.  Ontario's Continuous Improvement Fund thinks it is up to the challenge and shares their progress in this presentation.
--Mike Birett, Continuous Improvement Fund 

New markets and uses for ag plastics

Collecting and recycling agricultural plastics presents unique challenges, ranging from remote locations and logistics problems, to chemical contamination.  Fortunately, there are some common best practices that are yielding successes around the country.
--Lois Levitan, Cornell University 

Making the case for energy from waste

What are the options for dealing with plastics that are either too technically difficult to recycle, or too economically unfeasible?  One new option looks to help processors reclaim value from waste plastic, and offers productive alternatives to sending materials to landfill.
--Erica Ocampo, Dow

Concurrent B: Labeling issues unwrapped

Coordination between product designers and plastic recycling companies is rare, but that may be changing.  As bottle manufacturers and beverage companies push a new type of label, industry groups are stepping in to make sure recycling options exist for bottles with these new labels. 

Label design guidelines and success stories

What are the technical challenges in recycling bottles with full wrap labels?  The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers has developed guidelines and shares recent success stories on label design.
--John Standish, Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers 

A second take on full wrap labels

A multi-stakeholder group of resin producers, consumer goods companies and manufacturers of full wrap labels are developing their own best-practices to promote recyclability.  How were these standards developed and how have they changed product designs?
--Holli Whitt, Full Wrap Label Consortium 

The manufacturer perspective

How are manufacturers of labels and packaging materials responding to these recyclability concerns?  Avery Dennison outlines its sustainability initiatives and how recycling affects product design.
--Rosalyn Bandy, Avery Dennison

Concurrent C: Recycling from single stream sources

Balancing collection volume with quality is tough, and with single stream curbside programs on the rise throughout the country, many MRFs and downstream processors are facing new challenges.  How do collectors, recycling facilities and plastic processors at all stages of the value chain source, sort, process and sell plastics from single-stream?

Single stream issues in North Carolina

North Carolina, like many other states, counties and local governments, has transitioned to single stream collection of recycling.  But how is the need to collect more material balanced against sorting challenges and quality concerns?
--Scott Mouw, SERDC 

Capturing value at the MRF

What are the technologies and techniques used to separate plastics from single stream sources at a MRF?  There's no easy answer, but progress is being made and the facilities that successfully divert plastics gain a tremendous competitive advantage.
--Susan Albritton, Sonoco 

Strategies for processing plastics from single stream

Can processors overcome reduced quality of plastics collected through single stream?  How is the quality of the final product affected?  What are the end-market applications?
--Scott Saunders, KW Plastics

Concurrent D: Tools of the Trade - the latest processing tech (Sponsored by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers)

(Mandarin Chinese translation available)

Between commingled collection, new packaging innovations and growing levels of additives and composite materials, plastic recycling is becoming more and more complicated.  This packed session features the latest processing solutions from a half dozen of the recycling industry's top equipment manufacturers.


  • Mike Horrocks, EREMA
  • Werner Herbold, Herbold
  • Jon Larson, Krones
  • Alan DiUmberto, Starlinger
  • Frederic Blanchard, Sorema

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Plenary 3: Planning for Tomorrow's Recycling Challenges

(Mandarin Chinese translation available)

Plastic recycling faces some important challenges on the horizon to improve diversion, develop markets, and increase the efficiency of processes.  Fortunately, the plastics recycling industry is already hard at work developing solutions to tomorrow's recycling challenges.

Turning up the volume

A robust multi-stakeholder coalition of plastics recycling professionals across the southeast U.S. has launched the SERDC 120 project, which aims to improve municipal solid waste diversion in a way that benefits plastics recycling and recovery.  The results are in and they offer a fascinating look at what the future of collection will look like.
--Keefe Harrison, Resource Recycling Systems 

Making sense of the mix

New research sponsored by the American Chemistry Council aims to make sense of the changing composition of the curbside recycling stream.  Utilizing data from MRFs, plastic processors, brand owners, local governments, and other stakeholders, this exciting presentation sheds light on what plastics are in your rollcart, where they go, how they are processed, and how all this will change in the future.
--Amy Roth, Green Spectrum Consulting

Unwrapping new opportunities

Despite the scant attention paid to bags and wrap — except for bans, or instructions like "do not include" —more than 1 billion pounds of this valuable material are recycled annually.  But bags and other plastic film packaging has tremendous unrealized potential: it's nowhere near its recycling plateau, and even super-motivated recyclers are still in the dark about the range of household packaging that are recyclable. The Wrap Recycling Action Project's goal is to raise public awareness and make film a commonly recycled commodity. Industry leaders are building a cohesive educational campaign involving the How2Recycle Label on major brands, grassroots efforts with local governments, retailers, and recyclers.
--Nina Bellucci Butler, Moore Recycling Associates

Concurrent E: Taking charge of e-plastics

(Mandarin Chinese translation available)

As consumers increasingly replace and recycle their unwanted consumer electronics of every size and shape, there are new opportunities and challenges facing those trying to make our gadgets more sustainable.   This panel discussion will highlight the opportunities and challenges that each player in the effort to expand recycled plastics in electronics has faced, how all have worked together on critical pieces of these efforts – spurring the cycle for supply and demand for recycled plastics in new industry segments.  This session at the Plastic Recycling Conference will be a fascinating "lessons learned" conversation, which will be of great interest to many plastics processors and reclaimers from outside the growing electronics recycling field.

--Moderator: Kim Holmes, Society of the Plastics Industry 


  • Scott O'Connell, Dell
  • Wayne Rifer, Green Electronics Council / EPEAT
  • Bill Long, Wistron

Concurrent F: Standards, guidelines and best practices in plastic recycling

Recycling works best when everyone is on the same page, although unfortunately this is easier said than done.  Fortunately, there are several organizations working diligently to create and refine best practices and recycling standards.
--Moderator: Kate Eagles, Moore Recycling Associates 

Building a better bale

It's important that buyers of plastic material know what they're getting.  Fortunately, there are common standards for plastic bales.  In this session, APR outlines the group's latest revisions on its model bale specifications.
--Liz Bedard, Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers 

Cleaning up dirty words

How do we define terms and concepts in plastics recycling?  In an effort to improve consumer recycling education, as well as how the plastics recycling industry communicates, the American Chemistry Council, Re-TRAC Connect, Moore Recycling Associates and other groups have teamed up to launch the Plastics Terminology Project. 
--Stacey Luddy, Moore Recycling Associates 

Keeping green marketing honest

There are countless sustainability claims made by product marketers, and many manufacturers have begun to make recycling or degradability claims about their plastic products.  The Federal Trade Commission Green Guides offer common best practices and traps to avoid for product marketers – as well as ways for consumers to spot disingenuous claims.
--Laura Kim, U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Plenary 4: The other side of Green Fence (panel)

(Mandarin Chinese translation available)

No single recycling market story dominated the past year the same way as China's crackdown on the import of scrap materials.  Operation Green Fence upended the traditional flow of scrap materials, highlighted significant quality control abuses among some scrap exporters, and provided a window of opportunity for domestic plastic reclaimers.  Brokers, processors and recycling professionals share their experience in adjusting to these challenges, as well as how their business has changed since the official end of the Chinese enforcement action last fall.
--Moderator: Dylan de Thomas, Resource Recycling


  • Patty Moore, Moore Recycling Associates
  • Hamilton Wen, Newport CH Worldwide
  •  Jeff Fielkow, Recommunity
  • JD Lindeberg, Resource Recycling Systems