The dawn of a new team — helping retailers and brands meet their 2025 commitment to sustainability.

Sustainable Innovation

By Dave McLain, Director of Sustainability, Printpack and Bill Barlow, Sustainable Innovations Manager, Printpack

 

 

To meet the intense pressure to execute and do it fast, Printpack reorganized our business and established the Office of Sustainability (OOS). This was more than an internal restructure. We added an entire department, along with the necessary headcount and expertise, to accommodate the many demands that consumer awareness is putting on brands.

 

The mission of the OOS is to develop product platforms of more sustainable flexible packaging and bring those platforms to market. The members of this special group have both the experience and passion to help our customers develop a sustainable packaging strategy, innovate on tough challenges, and ultimately commercialize the packaging needed to achieve their sustainability goals.

 

Led by Dave McLain, Printpack’s OOS is made up of subject matter experts who include:

 

Bill Barlow, Sustainable Innovations Manager: Bill facilitates the coming packaging evolution by leading innovation sessions and concept development. He scouts new technologies and keeps the Product Stewardship Engineers informed.  Additionally, he works on solutions with strategic partners to fill the innovation pipeline and then develops the go-to-market strategies for new platform developments.

 

Mickel Knight, Sr. Product Stewardship Engineer II: Mickel develops recyclable and renewable films along with films containing PCR. With over 20 years in the industry developing innovative and sustainable solutions, Mickel is widely recognized as a subject matter expert.

 

Daniel Cluskey, Product Stewardship Engineer II: Daniel develops recyclable (monomaterial PE) flexible packaging. As an expert in metalizing and a current Dean of Printpack’s Packaging Institute, he has led our efforts to commercialize the all PE pouch for several years.

 

Megan Robison, Sr. Product Stewardship Engineer I: Megan leverages her background in compounding, paper coating and converting to develop renewable paper-based flexible packaging.  As a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s Executive Committee, she is on the forefront of the conversation.

 

Alan Belcher, Sr. Product Stewardship Engineer: Alan is focused on compostable packaging. His past experience at a large CPG as well as his involvement in various industry organizations and collaboratives makes him a valuable asset.

 

 

Printpack offers learning and expertise in all these areas. We’re continuously evolving our portfolio of sustainable structures.

 

3 steps you can take today to get on the path to a sustainable 2025

 

When deadlines loom, the first rule of thumb is not to panic. Here are some recommendations we make to customers as we collaborate on their projects:

 

  1. Begin with the end in mind: Clearly state the goal and carefully articulate the guardrails. There are hard forks in the road of every quest - compostable vs. recyclable, performance vs. cost, speed to market vs. more testing. Understanding what forks are more desirable or off-limits is critical to making the best use of limited time and resources to implement innovative solutions.
     
  2. Reset your baseline performance: Changes in material often have an impact on operations, timing and cost. Best to get this out of the way early. Minimize time spent on technologies that will dead-end without getting you to your goal or take you backwards on another critical metric such as GHGe, source reduction efforts, operational efficiency, etc.
     
  3. Iterate into the end state: Consider opportunities to further optimize package size, structure, and material sourcing specific to the application. Add in PCR or renewable content wherever possible. Evolve from industrial compostable to home compostable, etc.

 

To learn more about achieving your sustainability goals, visit: https://www.printpack.com/sustainability/

 

About Printpack

 

Printpack, a world-leading flexible packaging company, headquartered in Atlanta with multiple plants in the U.S. and Mexico, has made sustainability a key part of their business. In keeping with this commitment, the company is a leading member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition where top retailers and CPGs, their packaging supply chains, and NGO’s come together for thought leadership, best practices, valuable certifications and education. Printpack has led the drive for a nimble and thorough response to meeting the coming 2025 sustainability deadline.

 

 

About the authors

 

Dave McLain:

After 5 years in Asia, Dave is now based in Atlanta at Printpack’s global headquarters. He spent several years in Marketing and Sales focused on Printpack’s PE business and Sustainability. In that time, Dave also served as a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s Executive Committee and the Plastics Industry Association’s Sustainability Advisory Board. He now leads Printpack’s efforts to help customers realize a more sustainable future.

 

 

William Barlow:

Bill has a well-rounded technical background with 15 years of experience in the plastics industry holding various roles in sales, research and development, polymer processing, converting, and vacuum web coating. After 8 years in product development, Bill transitioned into sales to serve as the Account Manager for one of Printpack’s largest CPG customers. Bill now serves as the Sustainable Innovations Manager for Printpack’s new Office of Sustainability.