How have organizations like TerraCycle, NexTrex or others help aid in recycling efforts? What do the recycling symbols mean? Tune in to hear what Cory Connors, Packaging Consultant from Landsberg Orora & host of the Sustainable Packaging Podcast had to say.
00:00:21 Sara Januszewski
Hello and welcome everyone to the Flexible Packaging Round Table. Today we are speaking with Cory Conners, Packaging Consultant from Landsberg Orora and host of the Sustainable Packaging Podcast, and today I am your host, Sara Januszewski. Thanks for being here Cory. Are you ready to hop right into the questions?
00:00:44 Cory Connors
Yeah, thank you so much for having me on Sara, I really appreciate it.
00:00:47 Sara Januszewski
Of course, and to start here, can you tell our viewers and listeners just more about yourself?
00:00:55 Cory Connors
Sure, I’m a husband. I’m a father, 2 kids that are amazing and an amazing wife and have been doing this packaging thing for 25 years. The last 20, actually yesterday was my 20th anniversary with Landsberg Orora, a global company with 55 locations in North America and most of that time being spent as a consultant with them, meaning I help customers figure out how to be more sustainable with their packaging.
00:01:28 Sara Januszewski
Next question here you have a growing presence on social media with your podcast and other efforts like TikTok. How has your presence on those social platforms helped you educate and get people involved in packaging?
00:01:46 Cory Connors
Yeah, great question. It’s a game changer. Social media has opened the doors for all of us to share our expertise and I’ve learned so much from others and I’ve done my best to teach what I know and still continue to try every day. But I started with TikTok a few years ago. Thank you Gary Vaynerchuk for advising me to do that. He’s an amazing marketing genius and mentor, you know I’ve never met him, but I’ve listened to him and read his books and all that. But that turned into LinkedIn, which turned into Instagram, which turned into my podcast, which you know, and then it just opens the door and opens the door and it’s an incredible option if you’re interested in growing your network. I highly recommend social media.
00:02:50 Sara Januszewski
Yeah, and you said you’re going to be doing a TikTok course, correct, through the Packaging School, I think it was.
00:02:58 Cory Connors
Yeah, the packagingschool.com is an amazing source for learning and my friend, Adam Peake just made a course about how to sell packaging essentially and so he introduced me to them, and they want me to do a course about TikTok and social media with packaging, which is exciting because like oftentimes people say, how do we do it? What do I do with TikTok and I just don’t have the bandwidth to teach everyone, but this is a way where anybody can log on, pay a nominal cost and get some really good training that will turn into hopefully 10X or 20X what you’ve invested.
00:03:49 Sara Januszewski
Wonderful, yeah, I know here at Glenroy we are definitely interested in starting a TikTok account. I can say for myself, I am an addict, a TikTok addict for sure.
00:04:01 Cory Connors
It’s a great app. That’s the reason it’s the number one app in the world.
00:04:05 Sara Januszewski
Definitely and from your knowledge and from the conversations you had with industry leaders in sustainable packaging, we know that there are challenges with municipalities being able to properly collect, sort and recycle packaging. How can we as manufacturers, brands and consumers take responsibility into our own hands?
00:04:32 Cory Connors
Yeah, I think it’s important that we use mono materials as much as possible. Uh, these multi-layer bags and things like that are more of a challenge. They are still recyclable, but it takes a little bit more effort and a little bit more definitive, you know supply chain to get them back into production through a mechanical recycling process. Which I think will happen more and more as we move on in the scope of packaging, because frankly, we need the material. And so packaging extended producer responsibility will really take hold. I think over the next several years. And it’s our job as producers of packaging and consumers of packaging to educate our consumers how to recycle. You know, this material is this number, please recycle it or this material is this number, please don’t recycle it. And that’s an ok thing to say, right? We’d rather have them not recycle it if it’s not recyclable.
00:05:43 Sara Januszewski
Exactly, and further touching on that topic, how have organizations like TerraCycle, NexTrex or others helped aid in recycling efforts?
00:05:56 Cory Connors
Yeah, TerraCycle is doing an amazing job. I had the honor of meeting Tom Szaky last or two weeks ago. The CEO and he gave a presentation at Landsberg Orora Sustainability event. Wow, that guy is incredible. His scope of knowledge is amazing. What they’re doing is they’re making it easy to recycle, and essentially, they’ll send you a box, you fill it up with this product or this item. You know they had a box for straws, a box for batteries, whatever the material is, whatever the item is specifically – here recycle this. Put it all in this box and send it back to us and we’re going to actually legitimately recycle it, which to me is absolutely amazing and the future of sustainable packaging because we must be able to recycle it. If we’re not going to continue to harvest materials out of the ground or out of the you know we need to recycle things and use this high post-consumer recycled content as possible.
00:07:15 Sara Januszewski
Yeah, I was on TerraCycle’s website myself doing a little bit of research a while back and it was almost overwhelming, you know, you can just keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and finding all these different products and name brands of products and things that can all be recycled through TerraCycle in their boxes. It was overwhelming, but that’s a good thing.
00:07:39 Cory Connors
It’s so exciting and for the people listening they recycle cigarette butts.
00:07:46 Sara Januszewski
Oh wow, I didn’t even know that.
00:07:49 Cory Connors
Yeah, I mean one of the most littered items in the world is cigarette butts, and they’ve figured out a way to turn that material into something useful and to me, that’s incredible. And his vision is really, really exciting. You’re going to see some more things coming from them and that are totally different and gonna blow you away.
00:08:15 Sara Januszewski
Ok, cool. Looking forward to it. You kind of already touched on it saying you know if it’s #2, recycle it. If whatever, don’t recycle it. What do the recycling symbols mean, you know #1 through #7? What do those numbers mean?
00:08:37 Cory Connors
Yeah, so number one is PET and that is the most recycled plastic. It’s what water bottles are made out of. It is the most common plastic and usually it’s a mono material which is great and that’s why the recycling rates for that plastic item is the highest of plastics. #2 is high density polyethylene, which is commonly milk jugs and a very recyclable product for an example, there’s a company in Oregon called PACTech that makes can carriers or drink carriers out of recycled milk jugs, 100% recycled and they’re reusable and recyclable again, which is amazing. That kind of circularity is impressive and not normal, unfortunately, but I think it will become more normal as we continue in this process of becoming a more circular economy. The lasts are less recyclable. Uh, you know three PVC 4 low density polyethylene, 5 polypropylene, 6 polystyrene, which is one that is kind of been the least popular amongst us environmentally conscious people because there are now some good replacements for that which is really good. Things like cruise Foam which is made out of chitin. Which is a totally sustainable and compostable material to replace polystyrene which is exciting and then #7 is other. So, #7 means put in the garbage, really, and that’s what people should know. It’s just unless you, unless you take it to someone like a TerraCycle, that will actually turn it into something. Throwing it in the recycle bin is probably not going to succeed, you know, the things that say other or #7.
00:11:02 Sara Januszewski
Got it, yeah thanks for that information and lastly here to wrap it up. Is there anything else you would like to add or shoutout?
00:11:12 Cory Connors
Yeah, just thank you again Sara. I really appreciate this opportunity. If you’re listening, please take a minute to listen to Sustainable Packaging with Cory Connors Podcast. It’s really taken off, and I appreciate all the attention there. If you subscribe and let me know, I will send you some stickers like this. So yeah, so just send me an address on LinkedIn. I’m very active on LinkedIn, Cory Connors and that’s CORY CONNORS.
00:11:46 Sara Januszewski
Alright, wonderful yeah, congrats on all your success with the podcast. And to conclude things here I just wanted to thank you again, Cory for joining us today. It really was a pleasure having you on.
00:12:00 Cory Connors
Well, thank you Sara. Hope to see you on TikTok.
00:12:04 Sara Januszewski