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ACC and SPI partner to advance rigid plastic packaging

The Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI) and the American Chemistry Council's (ACC) plan to partner and align the initiatives and programs of ACC's rigid plastics packaging group (RPPG) with the resources and membership of SPI's thermoformers committee. This alignment will reportedly advance the interests of rigid packaging, take advantage of growth opportunities within the processor community and be effective as of Jan. 1, 2014.

The rigid plastics packaging group advocates on behalf of rigid plastics packaging, works to advance their products as a sustainable choice for brand owners and retailers, advocates against unnecessary regulation, and works to increase access to collection and recycling.

"This partnership maximizes efficiencies and enhances rigid packagers' shared mission to increase plastics recycling," said current RPPG Chair Jamie Clark, VP and general manager for Printpack Inc., and officer at large on the SPI board of directors.

Brent Beeler, past president of RPPG and former COO at Berry Plastics, sits on the RPPG Steering Committee and currently serves on the SPI board of directors. Dan Mohs, CEO at Placon Corporation (a past member of RPPG) chairs the SPI thermoformers committee. Ashley Carlson Consulting, which currently supports the RPPG and ACC's packaging team, will continue to provide staff support for the group and retain its packaging team role at ACC.

"This evolution enhances our collaboration with ACC to better marshal and utilize our collective resources to serve our membership while adding new energy into rigid plastic packaging recycling," said Beeler.

"SPI will form a rigid plastics division (RPD) that will include two subgroups," Dan Mohs said. "The RPPG will merge with the SPI thermoformers committee to form one subgroup focused on packaging while transportation and industrial rigid plastics will comprise the other subgroup. A rigid plastics packaging conference is planned for this spring."

An example of the type of projects the RPD will pursue is the work RPPG has done with Virginia Peninsula stakeholders to identify and address challenges to collecting rigid plastic packaging. The Virginia Peninsula is piloting an expanded rigid collection program in select communities with the hope that the program will be extended to the broader region. The pilot program provides guidance and insight to stakeholders based in part by ACC-sponsored reports that document increased collection of non-bottle rigid plastics and a dramatic increase in consumers' access to local programs that recycle rigid plastic packaging. According to Mohs, the SPI thermoformers committee will contribute funds to support this pilot program.

"SPI looks forward to leveraging the group's advocacy and strategic goals by building a broader base from within the processor community" said William R. Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI. "Our current alignment of processor committees in this sector share strong advocacy and supply chain ties with the RPPG."

"We are constantly looking for ways to leverage our respective strengths to deliver value," said Steve Russell, VP of plastics for ACC. "As part of that, ACC and SPI are exploring ways to improve rigid plastic recycling while reaching out to a broader base in the converter industry. It is our hope that by having just one team we can gain efficiencies, be more effective and increase member engagement."

Both Carteaux and Russell anticipate achieving efficiencies, enhanced participation and gains in rigid container recycling as a result of the partnership. 

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