Flexible Packaging Association Holds Successful Conference

The Flexible Packaging Association recently held its 2012 Fall Executive Conference at the InterContinental Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. The Conference was a great success and provided FPA members and guests with insight into current flexible packaging trends, challenges and opportunities. A special thanks is given to the sponsors of the 2012 FPA Fall Executive Conference Networking Events: The Dow Chemical Company, Ecologic, LLC, EFI, Extrusion Dies Industries, Flint Group, Kuraray, Nordmeccanica, NA and Sun Chemical Corporation.

Following is a recap of the 2012 Conference presentations. PDF copies of the presentations are also available in the Members Only section of the FPA website,www.flexpack.org. For more information about the Fall Executive Conference, and other FPA meetings and events, contact FPA at (410) 694-0800 orfpa@flexpack.org

FPA Update

Jim Mize, vice president of Global Sector – Food Packaging Solutions for Sealed Air Corporation, and chairman of the FPA Board of Directors, opened the meeting with an update on FPA activities and projects. During his presentation, Jim discussed FPA’s research examining life cycle analysis on end-of-life options for flexible packaging including landfill, traditional waste-to-energy, and pyrolysis. Jim also noted that FPA is also working to quantify flexible packaging material and package types by volume and revenue.

New and Existing Materials: Environmental Claims and Insights

Dr. Ross Lee, senior associate with Packaging Technology Integrated Solutions, reviewed research results on the analysis of new and existing materials, environmental claims, and insights for bio-based and related “green materials. The study, commissioned by FPA, assessed key categories including plant/bio-based, biodegradable and compostable, recyclable and recycled content, traditional barrier materials, adhesives, additives, coatings, lightweighting, and nanotechnology/microlayering. Lee also provided examples of packaging claims, and discussed the processes for verifying and making claims.

The Economics of Collecting and Processing Flexible Packaging Waste for Pyrolysis

Ljupka Arsova, a consultant at Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Incorporated, and former research associate at the Earth Engineering Center (EEC) at Columbia University, discussed the results of FPA’s study on the economics of collecting and processing flexible packaging waste for pyrolysis. Ljupka noted that the study analyzed the existing collection and processing systems of recyclable materials, how flexible packaging waste can be included and processed, and identified opportunities to establish a prototype flexible packaging waste collection system.

Packaging Opportunities for New Product Introductions

Lynn Dornblaser, director of Innovation and Insight at Mintel, discussed the role flexible packaging plays in the introduction of new products to the market. Lynn explained that the recession had a significant impact on overall product introductions and brought them down to low levels; but, the introduction of new products in flexible packaging continues to grow, especially the use of stand-up pouches. Lynn also discussed how consumer demands are driving new product introductions and what flexible packaging companies can do to meet those demands.

Social Media: Marketing, Technical & Legal Aspects

Patrick Meyer and James Fishback of The SocialPro Team, and Bret Cohen of FPA legal counsel Hogan Lovells, participated in a panel discussion on the marketing, technical and legal aspects of social media. Patrick, director of Sales and Integrated Marketing for The SocialPro Team, provided guidance on building an effective social media plan. James, the chief technical officer for The SocialPro Team, examined the technical and security aspects of social media. Bret, an associate at Hogan Lovells, discussed legal risks flexible packaging companies should consider before engaging in social media including employees’ use of social media, FTC online endorsement rules, regulatory and employment law issues, and social media policies and labor law compliance.  

Update on Flexible Packaging Materials

Nick Vafiadis, senior director of Global Polyolefins at IHS (formerly CMAI) provided an update on the cost and availability of flexible packaging materials. Nick’s presentation focused on polyolefin resins - the highest volume raw material for the flexible packaging industry – including polyethylene (high, low, and linear low density), and polypropylene. Nick examined key issues that are expected to drive the evolution of the industry in the near future.