Unpacking opportunity

Features - Conference Preview

The 2019 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference examines the latest developments in these sectors and recycled content opportunities in packaging.

July 30, 2019

Expect to see more than 700 attendees at the Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference in Chicago.
Photos by Austin Friedline with Phierce Photography

The Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference (PPRC), the longest running conference and trade show serving the paper and plastics recycling sectors, is Oct. 23-25 in Chicago. The conference celebrates its 20th year in 2019 with a schedule packed full of noteworthy speakers, informative sessions, networking opportunities and more.

PPRC 2019 explores topics related to ongoing developments in the paper and plastics recycling sectors and strategies to protect and grow businesses in these sectors.

Day 1: The importance of packaging

Conference attendees will want to be sure to attend the keynote session, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. This session focuses on the role recycled materials will play in the future of packaging and how packaging is evolving to meet marketplace demands.

Tom Stigers, executive vice president of corrugated paper solutions at Atlanta-based WestRock, is the keynote speaker. He has served as executive vice president of WestRock since July 2015 and previously served as the executive vice president for mill operations at RockTenn.

Learn about new technologies and services in the exhibit hall at the show.
Photos by Austin Friedline with Phierce Photography

Among the topics he addresses in his presentation is how packaging grades have become a primary driver for the paper recycling industry in recent years. Stigers looks at how supply and demand for packaging grades align given China’s import restrictions on recyclables and how moves by various Chinese papermakers to establish recycled pulp and containerboard capacity in North America will affect the market.

Additionally, he examines the shift in old corrugated containers (OCC) generation from retail outlets to consumers and how it will affect box production and the quality and amount of OCC collected for recycling.

From 1 to 2:30 p.m., the workshop Polypropylene Roundtable: Processing- and Market-Based Perspectives on Keeping PP in the Recycling Stream looks at ways to establish financially viable paths for polypropylene (PP) recovery. Closed Loop Partners’ Jon Powell and a panel of plastics reprocessors, including Ontario-based EFS Plastics Inc.’s Eadaoin Quinn; Troy, Alabama-based KW Plastics’ Stephanie Baker; and Lodi, Ohio-based Buckeye Polymers’ Ron Chislow, share strategies that have worked for their companies.

Recycling Today Media Group Publisher Jim Keefe launched the PPRC in 2000, making it the longest running event in the paper and plastics recycling sectors.
Photos by Austin Friedline with Phierce Photography

In the Sales Development workshop, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., speakers address what it takes to excel in recycling sales. Sarah Kaylor, director of sales and marketing at Austin, Texas-based Balcones Resources, and Melanie Harman, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Duluth, Georgia-based Recycling Management Resources share their approaches for sourcing additional tons to help build density along service routes.

The session Managing Insurance Risks and Premiums, scheduled for 2:45 to 3:45 p.m., features John Schumacher, senior vice president at Schaumburg, Illinois-based Assurance. He delves into issues related to insuring recycling businesses and what recyclers can do to present their businesses as good insurance risks, particularly in the property insurance area.

The opening networking reception begins in the exhibit hall at 5:30 p.m.

Outside of informative sessions, the conference includes a number of networking breaks, exhibit hall breakfasts, luncheons and evening receptions.

For fun and networking outside the conference venue, the Marriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile, attendees can register for the bowling tournament Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. at Lucky Strike Chicago to benefit the scholarship fund of the Paper Stock Industries (PSI) chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington.

Day 2: Demand perspectives

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, following a continental breakfast in the exhibit hall, is the session Rising to Their Commitments. Consumer goods companies share their recycled-content efforts and strategies. Bridget Croke, vice president of external affairs for Closed Loop Partners, New York City, moderates. Expected speakers include representatives from Unilever and the Coca-Cola Co.

In the Containerboard Dynamics session, which is scheduled for 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., speakers explore demand trends shaping the containerboard industry and demand for old corrugated containers (OCC) and other brown grades.

Also beginning at 1:30 p.m. is Demand South of the Border, which looks at potential demand for recovered paper and plastic in the Mexico and Latin America markets. Speakers include Victor Lopez Craik with Fortek Inc., located in El Salvador.

How Technology is Shaping Recycling, a session examining how advances are automating the recycling process, begins at 4:30 p.m. Speakers share their perspectives on how the industry will evolve over the next five to 10 years and the technology they believe they will be able to leverage to improve process efficiency.

Recyclers who are interested in technology also will want to visit the exhibit hall, which is open from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. There they can interact with a variety of suppliers.

Day 3: Confronting issues and facing the future

Friday, Oct. 25, is the final day of PPRC. It opens with continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. In the first session, Fixing Recycling, from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m., listeners can discover how the panelists have addressed the issues confronting the recycling industry and the effects those changes have had on the health of their businesses. Robin Wiener of ISRI moderates.

The final session, Mixed Fortunes, is scheduled for 10 to 11:30 a.m. It reflects on China’s scrap import policies as well as the future of mixed paper, which has been hit especially hard by these changes. Panelists look at the development of consuming destinations and new end markets for this recovered fiber grade. Bill Moore of Moore & Associates, Atlanta, moderates the session, which includes Shawn State, president of Pratt Industries Inc., Conyers, Georgia.

Photo by Austin Friedline with Phierce Photography

Who will you see at PPRC?

Expect to see more than 700 attendees representing material recovery facility (MRF) operators, paper packers, plastic reprocessors, paper mills, packaging producers, consumer product companies, traders and brokers.

The event is made possible with the help of Platinum sponsors AMCS, International Baler Corp., International Paper, Machinex, Sierra and Vecoplan. Gold sponsors include Bulk Handling Systems, Georgia-Pacific Recycling, Van Dyk Recycling Solutions and Stadler. Silver sponsors are America Chung Nam LLC and Winfibre.

The full list of PPRC North America 2019 exhibitors is at http://paperplasticsna.recyclingtodayevents.com/exhibitors.

PPRC is produced by the Recycling Today Media Group in association with the Plastics Industry Association, Washington, and the PSI chapter of ISRI. Visit http://paperplasticsna.recyclingtodayevents.com for additional information and to register.

The author is an intern with the Recycling Today Media Group. She is based in Cleveland.