Covering the Trends That Matter

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The sessions at the Plastics Recycling Conference deliver cutting-edge insight from the leading decision-makers in plastics recovery. Here’s a look at the agenda for the 2019 show:

Tuesday, March 12

Opening Plenary Session: Prime Plastic's Circular Strategies
8:30 a.m. / Potomac Ballroom Ab

The creation of circular markets for post-use plastics, coupled with a push to vertically integrate recycling into resin production, has accelerated in recent years. Four representatives of global energy and petrochemical companies will discuss critical trends in the marketplace and their companies’ role in creating a more circular supply chain. Topics of discussion will include markets for raw materials, investments and acquisitions in the recycling space, possibilities in fuel applications and much more.   

Chinese/Spanish Interpretation Available

Moderator: Jerry Powell, Executive Editor, Plastics Recycling Update

- Patricia Drake, Marketing Manager Polypropylene North America, LyondellBasell
- Ted Harris, Technical Service and Sustainability Manager, Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc.
- Jon Timbers, Director
Innovation and Sustainability, Americas Styrenics
- Jeff Warmann, CEO & President, Monroe Energy

Plenary Session II: Life After National Sword
10:45 A.M. - 12:15 P.M. / Potomac Ballroom Ab

Established material processors and other industry insiders lay out how they’ve adjusted to the historic market disruptions caused by China's National Sword policy and import restrictions in other nations. These experts explain the impacts felt on a range of different types of recovered plastics in different areas of North America. Learn what it takes to survive in the new world order of global demand, and hear about what opportunities are opening up as the dust settles. (This session was organized in partnership with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.)  

Chinese/Spanish Interpretation Available

Moderator: Bob Cappadona, Vice President, Casella Recycling

- Sunil Bagaria, President, GDB International, Inc.
- Keith Ristau, President & CEO, Far West Recycling
- Adina Renee Adler, Assistant Vice President, International Affairs, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries
- John Caturano, Senior Sustainability Manager, Nestle Waters North America

Concurrent Session A: Developments in Domestic Markets
1:30 - 3:00 P.M. / Potomac Ballroom AB

Stakeholders agree it's time to aggressively pursue strategies to grow material usage in North America. This includes bolstering processing capabilities as well as establishing consistent, reliable demand for post-consumer resin (PCR). This session explores several projects already advancing those objectives, including a new West Coast reclamation facility, a state government push to support end users of material, and an industry group's initiative to spark more demand for recovered plastics.

Moderator: Craig Cookson, Senior Director Recycling & Energy Recovery, Plastics Division, American Chemistry Council

- Sandy Skolochenko, Industrial Development Specialist at Recycling Business Assistance Center, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
- Liz Bedard, Rigids Program Director, the Association of Plastic Recyclers
- Bob Daviduk, Co-CEO, rPlanet Earth

Concurrent session B: Getting Technical across materials
1:30 - 3:00 P.M. / Potomac Ballroom C

A key to growing the capabilities of the scrap plastics processing sector is smart use of technology and systems. This session offers attendees an up-close look at the tools and ideas that are either being leveraged by forward-thinking facility operators today or could be opening new doors to profits in the years ahead. Speakers will highlight a methodology that turns mixed plastics and recovered carpet into an industrial product, emerging possibilities in domestic processing of polymers recovered from electronics, and more.

Moderator: Cherish Changala, Vice President, Corporate Marketing & Communications, Revolution Plastics

- Alfredo Faubel, CEO, Athyron LLC
- Brian Riise, Project Manager, REMADE Institute
- Alan Barcon, Associate Director of Marketing & Technology, ColorMatrix North America, PolyOne Corporation  

Concurrent Session C: How the Recycling Sector Can Meet Needs of Brands
1:30 - 3:00 P.M. / Potomac Ballroom D

Brand owners continue to feel pressure to incorporate environmentally friendly packaging while also controlling costs and maximizing performance. Recyclability and recycled content are critical components of the conversation, and the plastics recycling sector can provide both PCR and technical guidance, thus strengthening the connection between recyclers and producers. Get the details on what successful technical training looks like, and hear perspectives from processors and others who have forged strong, lasting ties to brands. This discussion will be complemented by Concurrent Session G, in which packaging stakeholders explain their efforts to support recycling.

Moderator: Dan Leif, Managing Editor, Plastics Recycling Update

- Paulina Leung, Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Business Development, Emterra Group
- Steve Alexander, President and CEO, Association of Plastic Recyclers
- Rob Flores, Director of Sustainability, Berry Global

Concurrent Session D: Plastics Advances at the MRF Level
3:30 - 5:00 P.M. / Potomac Ballroom AB

As the industry pushes to deliver higher quality material to more discriminating buyers, materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in communities across America play a critical role. By harnessing technology and understanding markets, MRFs can isolate valuable resin streams and set reclaimers up for success. Get the latest from a variety of MRF experts on how progress is being made on handling flexible packaging, optimizing systems, leveraging robotics and much more.

Moderator: David Biderman, Executive Director/CEO, Solid Waste Association of North America

- Susan Graff, Principal and Vice President of Global Corporate Sustainability, RRS
- Sandi Childs, Film and Flexible Programs Director, Association of Plastics Recyclers
- Dale Gubbels, CEO, Firstar Fiber
- Jake Westerhof, President, Westerview Consulting

Concurrent Session E: What Does the Data Say?
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. / Potomac Ballroom C

With solid information, a plastics recycling company can make better business decisions and municipalities can better serve their communities. This session explores different ways plastics recovery data is being collected and applied, and how that can strengthen the chain as a whole.   Trends to be explored include bale-tracking systems, an emerging crowd-sourcing audit tool that is supporting strategic market development, and the quantification of potential collection networks.

Moderator: Will Sagar, Executive Director, Southeast Recycling Development Council

- David Hudson, Vice President of Commercial Business, Avangard Innovative
- McKenna Morrigan, Senior Associate, Cascadia Consulting Group
- Trina Matta, Senior Manager, GreenBlue
- Scott Mouw, Senior Director of Strategy and Research, The Recycling Partnership

Concurrent Session F: China Scrap Plastics Association Forum
3:30 - 5:00 P.m. / Potomac ballroom d

The China Scrap Plastics Association represents a wide range of plastics recovery stakeholders in a critical market that has undergone monumentous shifts over the past 18 months. This session offers an insider’s look at Chinese recycling realities today, including import policy and inspection standards, industry data, and future changes and the state of manufacturing in the world's most-populous country.

Chinese Interpretation Available

- Wang Wang, Executive Vice Chairman, China Scrap Plastics Association
- Steve Wong, Chairman, Fukutomi Company Limited 

- Zhan Bo Zhang, President, BoMET Polymer
- Howard Wei, CEO, Arch Polymers Inc.

Wednesday, march 13

Plenary Session III: The Evolving Resin Market Landscape
8:30 - 10:00 a.m. / Potomac Ballroom AB

Expert analysts from IHS Markit offer detailed analyses of market conditions for PE, PP and PET. In addition, an industry expert offers the latest China-related market and policy insight, discussing opportunities for Asian partnerships as well as what ongoing import shifts mean for the future of plastics pricing. Be sure to take in this critical discussion to understand all the moving pieces affecting supply, demand and value for recovered resins.  

Chinese/Spanish Interpretation Available

Moderator: Don Loepp, Editorial Director, Plastics News

- Joel Morales, Senior Director of Polyolefins for North America, IHS Markit
- Tison Keel, Senior Director for PET, PTA, EO & Derivatives, IHS Chemical
- Chris Cui, Director China Programs, Closed Loop Partners

Concurrent Session G: How Brands Can Meet Needs of the Recycling Sector
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. / Potomac Ballroom ab

This is Part 2 of the conference's analysis of the evolving relationship between PCR suppliers and end user (complementing Concurrent Session C). In this segment of the discussion, packaging manufacturers, brand experts and others lay out the ways they have adjusted to buy more PCR, develop recycling-friendly products and work with the plastics recovery infrastructure in holistic ways.

Moderator: Dan Leif, Managing Editor, Plastics Recycling Update

- John Bartell, Vice President of Sustainability, PAC Worldwide
- Kelly Cramer, Senior Manager, Sustainable Packaging Coalition
- Kristi Hansen, Technical Director, Plastics Forming Enterprises (PFE) 
- Daniel Locke, Global Sustainability Product & Packaging Lead, Kimberly-Clark
- Roxanne Spiekerman-Vaughan, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Roplast Industries Inc.
- Michael Westerfield, Corporate Director of Recycling Programs, Dart Container Corporation

Concurrent Session H: Practical Tips for Reclaimers
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. / Potomac Ballroom c

What can you do to run your facility more efficiently and keep pace with the changing material stream? This session delivers tangible solutions for a variety of issues facing plastics reclaimers. Learn how to apply "lean" manufacturing principles to operations management. Hear the latest on EH&S procedures to ensure your staff and business reputation are secure. Get up to speed on the latest processing approaches and technology. All that and more will be part of the discussion on stage.

Moderator: Stephanie Baker, Director of Market Development, KW Plastics Recycling Division

- Rafael Reveles, President, Converge Engineering
- Darrell Kendall, Executive Director, Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS)
- Martin Baumann, VP Sales, EREMA North America, Inc.

Plenary Session IV: Responding to Anti-Plastics Sentiment
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. / Potomac ballroom ab

Over the last two years, the ocean plastics issue has grabbed the attention of mainstream audiences with increasing force, and more Americans have been alerted to the market struggles afflicting plastics recycling today. Now, brands, associations and others are being asked whether plastics recycling really works, and if so, how it will be leveraged as a solution to pollution. In this critical conversation, a variety of experts articulate the complexities of plastics' image crisis and explain what it all means for the recycling business.

Chinese/Spanish Interpretation Available

Moderator: Ted Siegler, Principal, DSM Environmental Services, Inc.

- Kara Pochiro, VP of Communications & Public Affairs, Association of Plastic Recyclers
- Nina Butler, CEO, More Recycling
- Steve Sikra, Associate Director of Corporate Research & Development, Procter & Gamble  

- Priyanka Bakaya, CEO & Founder, Renewlogy

Have questions or ideas for the agenda? Contact Ali Briggs-Ungerer, Conference Program Coordinator, at ali@resource-recycling.com.
There were plenty of sessions to attend. Sessions were helpful to see current trends in plastics recycling as well as issues facing companies in the industry.