Packaging the Future: Insights from our Sustainability Champions

March 28, 2024

Our team sees the infinite possibilities in plastic. That vision led us to introduce Packaging the Future, a sustainability initiative which reaffirms our commitment to the environment. The initiative’s four pillars, which guide all of the work we do at Plastipak, are environment, innovation, citizenship and accountability.

To further these efforts, we also launched the Sustainability Champions program. Our champions are passionate individuals present at each global facility who drive the implementation of our sustainability initiatives and messages. Sustainability Champions also partner with community organizations and provide opportunities for employees to donate their time to environmental and social initiatives.

“Packaging the Future launched in
2022, & our associates across the globe
have since been leading Plastipak’s
transformation. Sustainability Champions
putting our pillars into action at the
core of our operations.”

– Jack Pacente, Vice President of Global Sustainability

Why Our Work Matters

“Growing up in a region prone to water scarcity, I’ve seen how overexploitation of freshwater resources has affected local communities,” says Mouna Allani, Sustainability Champion for Plastipak’s facility in El Jadida, Morocco. Mouna is one of many hard-working associates driving change at Plastipak across the globe, and she knows how important the work is. “I’ve witnessed the struggles of farmers and residents during droughts and the environmental degradation caused by unsustainable practices.”

Mouna is deeply passionate about environmental conservation and sustainability. She believes organizations like Plastipak play a crucial role in addressing environmental challenges.

Mouna also became a Sustainability Champion because she wanted to be an advocate for sustainable resource management practices, specifically water. The program allows her to play her own part in implementing sustainable practices throughout Plastipak.

We asked Sustainability Champions like Mouna from across the globe to share their experiences and highlight what they’ve learned since the program launched.

Limiting Our Environmental Impact

We’re committed to lowering our impact through innovative recycling solutions, and we’re investing in our efforts to reduce waste at our operations across the globe.

“I was pleased to learn that 60% of our manufacturing facilities have achieved a zero net waste to landfill designation,” says Justin Zurcher, Sustainability Champion for Plastipak’s Global Business and Technology Center in Plymouth, Michigan. “Also, I am encouraged to know that 23% of our resin production is made of recycled PET and that 68% of our energy comes from renewable sources.”

“We’ve made progress regarding scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, as well as the use of clean and renewable energy by our global sites,” says Claudinei José Ferreira, Sustainability Champion at Plastipak Brazil. “I also played a key role in obtaining the ISO 14001 certification in environmental management for Plastipak facilities in Brazil.” An ISO 14001 certification signifies that an organization has implemented an effective system to improve its environmental performance. This certification demonstrates our commitment to compliance, continuous improvement toward reducing impact. Plastipak Brazil, for example, now reuses, recycles or composts 100% of its materials rather than sending them to the landfill.

Dominik Maxima, Sustainability Champion for Plastipak Rudná, helped his facility achieve ISO 50001 certification to help reduce the site’s energy consumption. An ISO 50001 certification recognizes Plastipak Rudná’s implementation of an effective energy management system to improve efficiency and sustainability. Dominik is determined to help continue lowering scope 2 emissions and decrease associated expenses. Plastipak Rudná’s efforts extend into the community as well by supporting a family center and sponsoring local events.

Amelia Webster, Sustainability Champion for Plastipak’s Clean Tech UK Hemswell facility, says sustainability is at the core of their work. “Our drive and determination stems from wanting to create recycled products that benefit the world.” Amelia helped implement Operation Clean Sweep, a program committed to reducing plastic pellet loss at Clean Tech UK. “Our drive for initiatives like Operation Clean Sweep is inspiring. Many view pellet loss as an unavoidable obstacle in the industry. By adapting our processes and continuously improving, we can do our part to protect biodiversity.”

Progress Through Collaboration

“One of the key lessons we learned by working closely with internal teams is the importance of collaboration and stakeholder engagement” says Mouna. She and other Sustainability Champions recognize they can’t be successful alone. Their mission of ensuring our pillars are at the forefront of everything we do requires each team member to be aware and engaged.

Amelia also knows how important it is for the entire Clean Tech UK team to be committed to the mission. She seeks to help her plant collaborate with others to more effectively implement their sustainability efforts. “We have the opportunity to gain an understanding of each plant’s process and share our successful initiatives and ideas,” says Amelia. To her, being a Sustainability Champion means having an impact and setting foundations. “Initiatives like Operation Clean Sweep can be daunting, but once we get the foundations in place we can truly see the progression of our work.”

Courtney Hemond, Sustainability Champion for Plastipak GBTC says, “I am amazed by how we come together and unite to engage in local activities for the community. Recently, we assembled over 105 blankets for Fleece & Thank You and collected over 800 pounds of trash on the side of the road with the Friends of The Rouge organization. I take great pride in being a sustainability champion, and how we come together and work as a team to give back to the community.”

Embracing The Future

Changing the narrative around sustainability is also a challenge, says Amelia. “People often hear the term and believe it’s only about environmental practices, but this is a huge misconception. The programs we have spotlight how our ESG goals can only be achieved when all aspects are treated with equal importance.” Amelia works to instill every pillar of Plastipak’s ESG efforts at our Clean Tech recycling center in the UK, emphasizing more than just waste reduction.

Effort and commitment are the ingredients to success. “We have gleaned that with concerted effort and focused dedication, achieving more becomes possible,” says Claudinei. His work to implement Packaging the Future at Plastipak Brazil included an extensive assessment of their existing carbon footprint, meticulously gathering data and delineating objectives. As he facilitates this transformative change, Claudinei knows just how critical dedication to the cause is. “We are deeply committed to our core pillars. I am confident that we will continue to make substantial progress in sustainability and am exceedingly proud to be part of this transformative journey.”

The future is the emphasis, according to Dominik at Plastipak Rudná. “The challenges of sustainability have taught us the importance of eco-friendly practices, resource efficiency, and especially long-term viability,” he says. “It’s crucial to not only integrate sustainable solutions into our processes, but ensure practices stay in place as we work toward a prosperous future.”

While we celebrate the successes of our past, we look forward to charting a more sustainable, equitable path forward. At Plastipak, the pursuit of our sustainability objectives reflects our mission of Packaging the Future — tomorrow and for years to come.

About Plastipak Packaging, Inc.
Plastipak Packaging, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Plastipak Holdings, Inc., is a world leader in the design and manufacture of high-quality, rigid plastic containers for the food, beverage, and consumer products industries. Plastipak is also a leading recycler of rigid plastic packaging, producing food-grade post-consumer recycled resin for inclusion in new packaging. Plastipak operates more than 40 sites in the United States, South America and Europe, with a total of over 6,500 employees. Its customers include some of the world’s most respected and recognized consumer brands. Plastipak is also a leading innovator in the packaging industry, holding more than 420 United States patents for its state-of-the-art package designs and manufacturing processes. In addition, Plastipak licenses various packaging technologies around the world. Plastipak was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. Additional information about Plastipak can be found at its website