FPA recently held its 20th Environmental and Safety Summit, an annual three-day meeting that facilitates interaction between FPA members and EPA and OSHA officials.

Environmental Issues

The environmental agenda covered several topics including EPA’s Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements proposed rule. Shari Klika, Bemis Global EHS, discussed areas that could have an impact on flexible packaging.  Updating the 30-year-old rule would impose more stringent conditions in some areas and less stringent rules in other areas.

The Environmental agenda also looked at materials recovery with an update of the flexible packaging recovery research project. Michael Timpane of Resource Recycling Systems (RSS) showed how the recycling stream is evolving. Traditional components—newspaper and glass—are down, while new types of packaging are increasing, particularly corrugated and plastics.

These changes increase the need to separate flexible packaging from fiber in municipal recycling streams at the Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs). RSS is providing consulting services to the flexible packaging industry including field-testing recovery from the waste stream thus reducing the flexible packaging waste going to landfill. 

Safety Issues

FPA’s Safety agenda was driven by OSHA’s regulatory agenda and its potential impact on flexible packaging operations.

Ron Unger, Director of Safety & Health at Coveris detailed how the company significantly reduced hand laceration injuries. The effort “drilled down” to identify causes; then, Coveris developed tactics based on the characteristics and risks of various kinds of cutting tools. With those profiles in place, the company evaluated cut-resistant gloves. Analysis involved not only the match of glove to hazard, but also evaluated ergonomics—comfort, dexterity and fit.

The Safety Conference also examined ISO 45001: Global Occupational Health & Safety Management System. Dan Roczniak of the American Chemical Council summed up progress indicating that it is likely to result in a standard later this year. Labor unions, industry and OSHA including FPA are represented on ANSI committee that will provide the U.S. input to ISO. The expectation is that OSHA is likely to use it as a model safety management system in the United States.


For More Info

FPA members can learn more by going to www.flexpack.org. Go to the FPA Meeting Presentations tab and click on FPA 2016 EHS Summit.