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2024 AMERIPEN Annual Summit
Recap and Key Takeaways

April 23-25, 2024 | Hilton Alexandria Old Town

AMERIPEN members and guests gathered from April 23-25 at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town for our 2024 Annual Summit. This premier packaging policy event brought together industry leaders, government and elected officials, figureheads from environmental nonprofits, and companies from across the country.

Through informative presentations, attendees participated in engaged discussions on emerging packaging policies, legislator perspectives, legal insights, and much more. This annual event is open only to members or by special invitation. Click here to learn more about the benefits of joining AMERIPEN.

Day One: Hill Visit and Opening Session

AMERIPEN’s 2024 Annual Summit started its first full day of programming strong with an early departure for Capitol Hill. We were happy to have the largest group of participants we’ve ever had for our traditional Hill Visit, featuring members from across the entire packaging value chain. This broad coalition of industry and perspective allowed legislators to understand our requests' complete scope and context.

We began our trip with a presentation from the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Legislative Aide Hanna Sweet, who filled us in on the committee’s perspective on EPR and other issues AMERIPEN has championed on the federal level. The committee understands that there is a need for standardization across the country so businesses can comply with EPR and labeling guidelines.

After hearing from Ms. Sweet, AMERIPEN members separated into smaller groups to meet directly with legislators and their staff. In nearly 50 meetings, our members spent time with both longtime partners and faces new to our priorities. Almost universally, our goals and priorities were well received, and we’re looking forward to future partnerships on the federal level.

Once we finished meeting with legislators, we crossed the Potomac for the 2024 Annual Summit to start in full. We’d like to extend a special thank you to our Planning Committee Chair, Emily Williams (TC Transcontinental), for her tireless work in planning this year’s event.

At last year’s Annual Summit, Circular Action Alliance had just been announced as the first Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) in the country. This year, Olivia Barker followed up with progress on how states are implementing EPR regulations and how we can best prepare for the future. After hearing Ms. Barker’s presentation, seeing how much can change in just a year is incredible!

Shifting gears to another initiative AMERIPEN has spearheaded, Keller and Heckman LLP Partner Sheila Millar presented on laws and legislation regarding labeling. With a patchwork of sometimes contradictory state laws, it can be challenging to remain compliant. After hearing from Ms. Millar, we all better understand how to accurately and safely represent our products.

Effectiveness and sustainability in packaging design are important, but not at the expense of accessibility. AMERIPEN Program Director Kyla Fisher kicked off our interactive panel discussion on packaging accessibility featuring Clemson University’s Andrew Hurley, PhD, SnapSlide’s Zachary Rocky Batzel, and the Arthritis Foundation’s Deborah Gokie.

However, hearing from our expert panel was only half of this experience – after a primer, conference attendees left the general session briefly to see and touch some modern packages designed with accessibility as a priority. Discussing this topic while handling thoughtful packages was a real treat that offered a holistic view and added additional context to the discussion.

Following a packed afternoon of informative sessions, we rolled right into our opening reception, sponsored by Pratt Industries. With so much interaction happening virtually in our modern landscape, it’s always a treat to meet old friends in real life and make new connections with colleagues.

We closed our evening with a private viewing of Unwrapped, a documentary produced in collaboration between the University of Quebec and Éco Entreprises Québec. This film was produced to raise public awareness of the importance of design in the context of the environmental impact of packaging. Through engaging storytelling, this documentary positions design as a catalyst for change and offers a vision of a sustainable packaging economy.

Day Two: Policy and Advocacy

The second day of AMERIPEN’s 2024 Annual Summit started with attendees heading back to the future with Citeo’s Gaultier Massip and the Yale School of the Environment’s Reid Lifset. Both presenters have extensive backgrounds in Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and shared potential impacts and outcomes of EPR based on their research and experience.

Next year will mark 50 years of Extended Producer Responsibility Mr. Massip’s native France, and there’s a lot he was able to share from this half-century of policy. Prof. Lifset has researched EPR for decades, and shared what impacts he anticipates this legislation may have in the United States. Both presentations provided provocative insight on how thoughtful EPR legislation can incentivize sustainable packaging design.

After these two incredibly thorough presentations, we changed gears and heard from the Washington State House of Representatives' Rep. Liz Berry and Hennepin County’s Mallory Anderson in a discussion moderated by Serlin Haley LLP’s Andy Hackman. Beyond hearing perspectives from two people deeply involved with creating legislation that impacts our industry, this session was fun and informal with lots of collegial jokes. All attendees were grateful for insight into constituent priorities and legislative goals.

After a short break, we had the good fortune of hearing our keynote presentation from Amazon Senior Manager of Sustainable Packaging Kayla Fenton. Ms. Fenton’s notes on how the industry giant is using better and less packaging was incredibly insightful. We look forward to seeing what her team is able to accomplish in the future with innovative packaging materials and techniques.

Last year we started a new compostables workgroup, which adds focus to an often overlooked part of the packaging value chain. Beyond reduce, reuse, and recycle, products eventually reach end of life and can often be composted and reenter the value chain. Our next panel discussion moderated by Pactiv Evergreen Inc.’s Lynn Dyer and featuring NatureWorksLeah M. Ford and the US Composting Council’s Linda Norris-Waldt, CAE dove into applications and advancements in composting technology, including both the compostability of products being produced and modern methods to compost more effectively.

Our marquee two-part interactive workshop for the day focused on rebuilding consumer confidence in packaging and recovery. Transformations PR’s Marissa Segundo, APR, LEED GA led an expert panel of PLASTICS (Plastics Industry Association)’s Andy Brewer, the Recycled Materials Association (ReMA)’s Eric Reller, American Forest & Paper Association’s Lindsay Murphy, and O-I’s Randy Burns in a discussion on addressing public perception of recycling across the packaging value chain.

The second part of this workshop put people in mixed small groups, aiming to have voices from across packaging materials and life cycle. Ms. Segundo’s started us off with a presentation on effective messaging, and then we got together in our small groups to brainstorm how to best present this message to specific audiences. This exercise in storytelling will help us all better communicate the opportunities our industry can provide to solve some of the greatest challenges we all face.

After a productive member meeting on Thursday morning to help define our AMERIPEN's targets for the next year, we headed home each better prepared to navigate the dynamic packaging landscape. We're grateful to all members and guests that joined us this past week, and we're already looking forward to seeing you again for next year's event!

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Tuesday Night Reception

Nationals Game



Breakfast, Break, Lanyard



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