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Monday, December 17, 2012

Second Annual F&B Packaging Meeting

2012 F&B Pkging Mtg
Group Picture
For the second consecutive December the non-profits and trade associations representing the entire food and beverage value chain gathered in Washington D.C. for a day of camaraderie, sharing and strategizing .  Elemental Impact and Global Green co-hosted the meeting held on 12-12-12, a powerful, important day!

The ZWA Blog post, Sustainable Foodservice Packaging Meeting, gives an overview of the first annual meeting that set the stage for the 2012 meeting. It was empowering to realize the industry progress over the past 12 months with many new industry working groups and projects established throughout the year.  The following lists the organizations registered for the meeting:
In the morning, each organization presented on their mission, stakeholders, 2012 activities and finished with planned 2013 projects.  The meeting agenda, PPT presentations and attendee list are  available for download on the Ei Meetings & Events page. 

With the group well-acquainted, the afternoon consisted of a strategy session on the challenges and barriers for sustainable uses and disposal of food and beverage packaging. Within the vibrant discussion several common topics prevailed: Best Practices, Policies & Regulations and Cyberspace Network (some prefer the term social media) communication tools.  

Under Best Practices several key factors emerged:
  • a Life Cycle approach for foodservice operators is key
  • the hierarchy of end uses must consider local options and infrastructure
  • reliable metrics are important for baselines and tracking success - current national publicized waste stats may be 40% plus understated.
Brenda Platt (ILSR)
giving her presentation
The question:  What is holding us back? led to the policy & regulations discussion.  Two answers for differences in U.S. behavior versus Japan & Europe were: 1> Japan has $1,000 per ton tipping fees and 2> parts of Europe has landfill bands. 

The common thread through the policy discussion centered on incentive-based regulations and consumer responsibility.  Extended Product Responsibility coupled with Extended Consumer Responsibility -   the entire value & product usage chain holds responsibility for spent products', along with by-products generated during production & usage, destination. 

Other policy discussions points included:
  • develop national policy to serve as guidelines for local implementation
  • garner industry support for policies & regulations
  • work in unison across the entire value chain 
  • develop strong economic incentives, including commodity market risk sharing, so action is voluntary; thus, not requiring regulations
Lynn Dyer (FPI) during
her presentation
The group committed to creating a communication network among the participants.  Each organization will share information in their respective networks as appropriate for their missions and stakeholders.

In the closing remarks, the group decided an annual meeting was important with direct communication throughout the year.  In the first quarter, many of the participants will attend the January USCC Annual Conference, The Magic of Compost, and the Charlotte Ei Partner Tours in early March.  With synergies ignited, informal rendezvous at various meetings and conferences will keep the energy strong until the December, 2013 annual gathering.

Scott & Lily Kelly (CoRR)
enjoying the reception
An Ei action point is to complete Front-of-the House Recycling Center Best Practices for publication.  Tom Lembo with CleanRiver chairs the Sustainable Food Court Initiative committee charged with documenting the FOH Best Practices.

For a pictorial recap of the meeting, visit the Ei FB album, BUILDING THE PATH: Exploring the Value Chain of F&B Packaging.  While on the Ei FB page, please like it!

As with most Ei events, the formal meeting ended with a casual wine reception, an excellent vehicle to relax and ground the powerful energy from the intense, important day.  New and long-time friends toasted to the successful meeting. Stay tuned for updates throughout the year!


  1. I would love to see an organic waste collection grand rapids mi really take off with the businesses around here. It's such a win-win solution.

  2. Hello Tamara! In 2010 Michael Merron of Mel Trotter Ministries in Grand Rapids contacted Ei about a food waste for composting collection program starting up. One of the local yard trimming composters was including food waste up to the limited quantity allowed before going through the formal permitting process. I was impressed with the enthusiasm and the program in its early developments stage. You may choose to connect with Michael for an update - hopefully, you will be surprised with what is happening quietly and effectively. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Holly