Natasha Melton, lead R&D researcher at WestRock, was awarded a GenNext Award from Progressive Grocer for her contributions to foodservice packaging sustainability. Natasha used her background in biotechnology to address foodservice packaging sustainability problems by helping develop a recyclable, compostable paperboard cup prototype designed to hold hot and cold beverages. Melton is one of 12 winners of the NextGen Consortium’s NextGen Cup Challenge.  

WestRock says Melton was also instrumental in combining sustainability, performance and consumer appeal with her work on an alternative to traditional polycoat barriers used in foodservice packaging to prevent staining from oil and grease, helping develop EnShield Natural Kraft paperboard—earning WestRock an American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) award for its sustainability advancements.  

Melton leads a women in science and engineering group at Westrock and a pathways to science program that recruits and develops Latina girls for STEM careers.  

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