Plastics Recycling World Expo interview Amcor’s David Clark

The company’s vice president of sustainability will participate in a session on collaboration.

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August 18, 2021

David Clark, vice president of sustainability at Amcor, who works out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will speak at this year's Plastics Recycling World Expo in North America.

Clark’s key focus areas and responsibilities include reducing the footprint of Amcor's operations and products; using more sustainable materials including more postconsumer recycled plastics; working with the organization’s innovation teams, customers and others to develop Amcor's packaging to be recyclable or reusable and working with industry coalitions to deliver solutions to plastic waste.

He will contribute to the industry debate, “Confronting the plastics packing challenge head-on: can solutions be found through industry-wide collaboration,” on the first day of the Plastics Recycling World Expo conference, hosted by AMI Nov. 3-4 in Cleveland. The program is available at https://na.plasticsrecyclingworldexpo.com/conference/program.

Ahead of his speaking slot at the show, Plastics Recycling World Expo spoke to Clark to get his opinion on the challenges facing the market, recent developments and his predictions for the future.

What are the biggest challenges facing the market today, and how can they be overcome?

Our biggest challenge is poor waste management infrastructure and recycling. CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies and the packaging industry are making great progress toward making all packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable. But many consumers don’t have access to recycling that accepts those products that are proven to be recyclable in other regions.

In your opinion, what do you consider to be the greatest development in your industry in the
last decade?

The greatest development is the alignment we’re seeing across consumer brands, retailers and the rest of the value chain to solve the plastic waste issue. Examples include recent work by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) to introduce “Golden Design Rules” to make plastic packaging more recyclable, and work by CGF and EMF (Ellen MacArthur Foundation) to align industry to support good producer responsibility legislation to fund recycling. 

How do you see the sector developing in the next five to 10 years?

Continued alignment and progress along the lines of product design for better end-of-life (recyclability, reuse and compostability) and collaboration to increase recycling infrastructure and consumer participation in recycling.  

You will be speaking at AMI’s plastics industry expos in Cleveland in November, could you give
us a preview on what you will be talking about?

I’m looking forward to a good “debate” about whether industrywide collaboration can help solve the plastics packaging challenge. I think the answer will be yes, up to a point. We’ll have some good examples of what has been done and what can be done, but industry can’t solve the problem in a vacuum. We’ll need collaboration from governments and consumer participation too.