In March, RadTech’s Sustainability Committee had the opportunity to meet in San Diego, California, for the BIG IDEAS for UV+EB Technology Conference. During this conference, there were three meetings focused on sustainability. The first panel focused on food and beverage startups, where the panelists discussed how they viewed sustainability for their companies. One of the interesting takeaways was the advantages small businesses have over large corporations, due to smaller startups being able to respond faster to sustainability challenges and implement change. In essence, small businesses have more flexibility. Larger corporations can learn a lot from seeing what works for smaller companies and how they react to implementing changes for sustainable solutions.
The second panel was titled “The Future of Sustainability.” Both panels had a variety of speakers, including AJ Buran, GOpak; Nick DiBlasi, JUNO DTS; Kelly Williams, Elevate Packaging; Martha Marrapese, Wiley Rein LLP; Nikola M. Juhasz, Sun Chemical Corporation; Stuart MacDonald, Houston Poly; and Adam Peek, People of Packaging Podcast. One of the most thought-provoking topics was how to encourage consumers to properly dispose of their waste. It is no surprise that only a small amount of post-consumer plastic can be recycled. Sorting waste streams is an increasing problem in the recycling industry. One idea the committee passed around was a positive reward system for recycling on the consumer end. There needs to be some accountability passed on to the consumer and consideration about the most effective way to educate and encourage consumer participation in waste management and circularity.
During the meeting, Composter Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) presented to the committee. The presentation explained in detail the composting process and the different types of composting. The meeting also went over how CMA was formed and how it has made a big impact on the packaging industry. CMA’s presentation was in preparation for the board meeting. RadTech’s Sustainability Committee is in the process of scheduling a composting study to understand how UV/EB inks impact the composting process. The study would be for proof of concept. This would be a great opportunity for the RadTech community to know how our inks affect composting. If our inks pass in the composting study, it would be one more amazing and sustainable benefit of UV/EB/LED technology. The composting study was given approval by the RadTech Board. The study should begin to take place in the coming months.
RadTech’s new sustainability site is now available to view. The site has been in the works over the last 12 months and has gone through two different beta phases. With the help of Mickey Fortune, the site is not only functional but also easy to use. It is a streamlined way to quickly understand the whole of RadTech’s sustainability missions in one easy place. The user will have access to a list of sustainable advantages of UV/EB/LED technology, the latest news on sustainability around UV/EB and LED, the Sustainability Committee cases studies, other companies’ sustainability news as it relates to the energy curable industry and partners and resources of RadTech. The site will continue to grow over the next year. The goal for the site is to include a UV/EB/LED Green Buyers Guide. The Green Buyers Guide will feature all the end users of energy-curable technology. It will be a great place to highlight the ways energy-curable technology is helping to shape manufacturing’s sustainable future. If you know a great end-use application using energy-curable technology, please send it to email@example.com.
Finally, The RadTech Sustainability Committee has one more exciting announcement. Todd Fayne and David Biro are rotating out as co-chairs. While we are extremely grateful for the great leadership Fayne and Biro have provided, we are very excited to announce two new co-chairs. Andrew Mitchell with Printpack and Corey Lewis with Pokémon will be stepping in to support the RadTech Sustainability Committee.
Mitchell has been with RadTech for the past few years and has been an amazing addition to the sustainability committee. His current role at Printpack is senior research engineer. He graduated with a degree in chemical engineering with a specialization in polymer engineering from the University of Akron. He received his MBA. from Kent State University after working in the industry a few years. Mitchell has worked in the polymer industry for 20 years in a variety of engineering roles as an individual contributor, manager and director, with the past six years having been focused on the flexible packaging industry for food and medical devices.
Mitchell said, “Since joining Printpack, a flexible packaging converter, I have learned the science of printing at scale and the importance of graphics to not only promote a brand but to build trust with the consumer that the contents of a printed package maintain the quality that consumer has come to expect from that brand. Once you are exposed to the material and process technologies that go into printing at scale, you cannot help but be amazed at the evolution of printing. Beyond the engineering appeal, the initiatives focused on improving the sustainability of printing and the design of flexible packaging create an exciting intersection for the use of energy-curable inks. At Printpack, we see a great opportunity to leverage the higher performance of energy-curable inks to reduce the amount of film used in flexible packaging and create greater adoption of films based on biodegradable and/ or renewable feedstocks. We are excited to be a part of this journey and RadTech has been a great forum to collaborate with organizations that share this sustainability focus.”
Lewis is new to RadTech. Lewis’ current role is at Pokémon as manager of global print production. When asked about printing and UV specifically, Lewis said, “I can’t imagine my life in any industry other than printing. I grew up in the print industry working with my family – working with my dad at a printing company in Chicago and learning design from my grandmother who worked at Hallmark. Printing and manufacturing have touched every part of my life. I believe in the transformative power of print and design, and I see that every day in my work at Pokémon, where I’ve worked for three years on the TCG printing cards and packaging for the brand that are distributed globally. I’m excited to be working with RadTech to help prove new sustainability methodologies on UV printing. Sustainability and environmental impact are a primary concern for global brands and printers, and I’m excited to get to work on how UV makes an impact.”
RadTech is excited to have Mitchell and Lewis leading the sustainability committee and is excited to see where it will take RadTech. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any interest in getting involved with the RadTech Sustainability Committee.