Wal-Mart Expo and Sustainable Value Network Meeting
Association Activities Update
The 54th Annual Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Competition
Flexible Packaging Industry Issues Update

Wal-Mart Expo and Sustainable Value Network Meeting

By Marla Donahue
President, Flexible Packaging Association

Wal-Mart’s 4th annual Packaging Exposition, which was held April 14-15 in Bentonville, Ark., was successful by all measures. The goal of the exposition was to facilitate meetings between key decision makers, including packaging suppliers, product suppliers, and Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club associates, to drive the implementation of more sustainable packaging. Wal-Mart’s goal is to reduce packaging by 5% by 2013.

Several FPA members participated in the expo, including Nordenia USA, Exopack LLC, American Packaging Corp., Pliant Corp., Rohm and Haas/Dow Chemical, Eval Co. of America, Sealed Air Corp., Dow Chemical, Seal Strip Corp., Mica Corp., Southern Film Extruders and Robbie Manufacturing.

With 165 booths and 502 exhibitors, the participation was down only slightly from last year, in spite of the economy. Five hundred and seventy five Wal-Mart associates and 1,520 Wal-Mart suppliers registered for the two-day event. Wal-Mart officials described the exhibits as a good balance between innovation that is ready and innovation that needs support. Participation in the event was by invitation only and the exhibitors at this year’s exposition were screened by a third party (Environmental Packaging International) to ensure that their marketing materials aligned with Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) guidelines.

Marketing material was limited to a double sided 8-1/2 x 11-inch form, which included a success story and information on how the exhibitors’ products meet the Wal-Mart “7Rs” (Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Renew, Recycle, Revenue and Read). Pictures or any verbiage on the exhibit booth also had to be approved. There was some confusion regarding whether exhibitors were allowed to provide samples. In the future, exhibitors will be encouraged to bring samples of their products. The samples will be for discussion purposes only and will not be permitted for distribution to the expo attendees.

The exposition also included educational sessions which were well attended. Each session could accommodate approximately 200 attendees, and all sessions had almost full capacity participation. The session topics included: Success Stories, Packaging Scorecard, Life Cycle Analysis, Recycling Today, Cube Utilization, Transportation Optimization Strategies, Green Claims, Plastics Fundamentals, and Bio-Polymers and New Materials.

The exposition was followed by the Wal-Mart Packaging Sustainability Value Network meeting. The agenda for the meeting included a recap of the Packaging Exposition, a discussion of the Wal-Mart Sustainability Goals, a Toxics in Packaging discussion and an update on International Progress on Wal-Mart’s Packaging Sustainability.

Association Activities Update

The Flexible Packaging Association provides informational updates on the activities and accomplishments of the association. Following are updates on FPA’s sustainability initiatives, recently held FPA committee meetings and upcoming FPA events.

Environmental and Safety Committee Meetings

The FPA Environmental and Safety Committees recently held their spring meetings at Alcan Packaging headquarters in Chicago, Ill. The committees continued preparation for the 2010 Safety Conference & Environmental Summit, which will be held Feb. 10-12, 2010, at The Tradewinds Island Grande Resort in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla. The conference and summit agendas will include workplace-based case studies and presentations, and social networking events with U.S. EPA and U.S. OSHA regulators, industry leaders and consultants. More information about FPA’s 2010 Safety Conference & Environmental Summit will be available in the coming months.

The FPA Environmental and Safety Committees continuously monitor regulatory topics and issues on federal, state and local levels that may impact the flexible packaging industry. For more information about these FPA committees and activities, contact vice president, Technology & Environmental Strategy, Ram Singhal at rsinghal@ flexpack.org or 410-694-0823.

FPA’s Flexible Packaging Sustainability Initiatives

The Flexible Packaging Association continues to expand its education campaign on the sustainability of flexible packaging. Successfully launched in fall 2008, the campaign focuses on communicating the innovative sustainable benefits of flexible packaging and the positive impact on the environment.

Recently, FPA’s Sustainability Task Groups met at FPA headquarters in Linthicum, Md., to discuss the direction and content of the next phase of the campaign and prepare recommendations to the FPA Board of Directors. The Task Groups also previewed the results of FPA’s sustainability study, which will be published and made available to FPA members in the coming months.

To learn more about the FPA Flexible Packaging Sustainability Initiatives and the flexible packaging sustainability education campaign, visit the FPA website, www.flexpack.org, which includes electronic versions of FPA’s sustainability brochures titled, Sustainability and Flexible Packaging: More Value. Less Waste. and Sustainability Solutions: Flexible Packaging Case Studies. These brochures provide examples of sustainable flexible packaging options and comparative case studies discussing the environmental benefits and sustainable value of flexible packaging products.

The 54th Annual Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Competition

Has your company developed an outstanding flexible packaging solution? If so, the Flexible Packaging Association encourages your company to enter into the 2010 Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Competition. Open to both FPA members and non-members, the competition underscores the advancements the flexible packaging industry has made in printing, sustainability and technical innovation.

The official Call for Entries will be available in the coming months and will include information about competition rules, eligibility requirements, entry instructions and fees. The deadline to submit flexible packages is Nov. 23, 2009. The winning entries will be announced during the 2010 Annual Meeting, which will be held March 10-12 at the Waldorf-Astoria in Orlando, Florida. Annual meeting attendees will also have the opportunity to view all the entries from the competition within the Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Innovation Showcase, which will also be on display during the 2010 annual meeting.

The annual Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Competition receives extensive domestic and international trade press. The winning competition entries are featured in several industry publications including, Flexible Packaging magazine, Packaging World and Packaging Digest. In addition to the industry recognition, FPA also publishes the Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards & Innovation Showcase, which includes photos and detailed descriptions of the winning packages and all the competition entries.

For more information on FPA’s Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards Program, visit the FPA website, www.flexpack.org, or contact the association at 410-694-0800.

Flexible Packaging Industry Issues Update

FPA’s Environmental and Safety Committees are continuously monitoring federal regulatory topics and issues that may impact the flexible packaging industry. During FPA’s Environmental and Safety Committee meetings, updates on several regulatory issues were provided, including Solid Waste definition, Adhesives Use in Packaging and mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions.

Revisions to the Definition of Solid Waste

FPA is pleased to report that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Solid Waste recently published a final rule which revises the definition of solid waste to allow recycling of hazardous secondary materials. FPA supports the new rule and its purpose to encourage safe, environmentally sound recycling and resource conservation. The EPA estimates that 5,600 facilities and 1.5 million tons of hazardous waste will be affected annually by the rule, provide a costs savings of approximately $95 million per year and generate 23,000 tons of new recycling. The rule must be adopted by states for it to be effective, and currently New Jersey and Pennsylvania have successfully adopted the rule. FPA believes that a petition, filed by a leading environmental group for reconsideration and repeal of the rule, is causing hesitation and discouraging states from adopting the rule. FPA will monitor the petition and provide updates as information regarding the petition develops.

Adhesives Use in Packaging

The Flexible Packaging Association is assisting the EPA in developing the agency’s general scenarios for adhesives use in flexible packaging. FPA has participated in several development activities to determine the agency’s needs. Currently, FPA is in the process of coordinating a site visit to flexible packaging plants for EPA personnel. The visits are intended to facilitate a greater understanding among EPA regulators of the adhesives application process as it pertains to the manufacturing of flexible packaging. Additionally, FPA is collecting industry data and information regarding various types of adhesives that are commonly used in the flexible packaging industry.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting

In response to the EPA’s proposed mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, FPA is preparing to submit comments on the proposed rule. With a proposed start date of Jan. 1, 2010, the EPA would require facilities to submit their first greenhouse gas emission report by Mar. 31, 2011, and provide reports annually thereafter. FPA is closely monitoring the progress of this proposal as it could potentially impact flexible packaging companies. Through its comments, FPA would seek to clarify applicability, support a 25,000 metric tons CO2 equivalent threshold and oppose “once-in-always-in” reporting requirement. Comments are due June 9, 2009, and FPA will provide updates on the EPA’s proposed mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions as information becomes available.

For more information on the FPA Safety and Environmental Committees, and the FPA Technology and Environmental Strategy initiatives, contact Vice President Ram Singhal at 410-694-0823 or rsinghal@flexpack.org.