Center for Sustainable Packaging created at Rochester Institute of Technology

Center to be a testing ground for new sustainable packaging ideas and solutions for students, researchers, faculty and corporate partners.

By ·

Food packaging is approximately a $340 billion industry worldwide. In the U.S., about a third of household waste is food packaging, and much of this cannot be recycled.

Gifts totaling $2.2 million from The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation and American Packaging Corp. to the Rochester Institute of Technology will help to create the Center for Sustainable Packaging, an education and research center dedicated to the development and use of sustainablepackaging. The center’s mission will be to deliver a unique brand of applied research solutions that will enable manufacturers to provide innovative products in a sustainable manner.

“This initiative strikes directly at the heart of RIT’s educational mission,” says RIT president Bill Destler. “The Center for Sustainable Packaging will put students on the front line of applied research that enables manufacturers to provide consumers with innovative products while neutralizing society’s impact on the depletion of vital resources. Through collaborative partnerships and industry networks the center will accelerate the development of realistic solutions in sustainable packaging. RIT is extremely grateful to The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation and American Packaging for their support.”

The center will be a testing ground for new ideas and solutions for students, researchers, faculty and corporate partners that are interested in sustainable packaging. It will also educate the next generation of packaging professionals who are intent on bringing sustainable principles to manufacturers around the world. Because of RIT’s location in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, a major hub of food production and processing that serves the densely populated northeast, experiments can happen quickly and results shared readily within the industry. 

RIT is already the home of the nationally known American Packaging Corp. Center for Packaging Innovation in the university’s College of Applied Science and Technology, established with a gift of $1 million from Rochester-based American Packaging Corp. in 2007 and created to focus on material science issues within packaging. American Packaging has given an additional $1.2 million gift to continue support of the existing center and to help create the new RIT Center for Sustainable Packaging. The two centers will collaborate on joint development initiatives.

“The various components of the food packaging supply chain are siloed. Each works to maximize its own results, without a common goal of sustainability,” says Peter Schottland, president and chief executive officer of American Packaging. “In order to make the most progress on sustainable packaging, the best ideas across the industry are necessary. In an environment where the industry is aligned, experiments can happen, economies of scale are overcome, knowledge is shared, and results agreed upon.”

As a premier school for packaging science, RIT has been a leading force in developing young leaders in the packaging industry. Many RIT alumni are today working in prominent consumer package goods companies around the country. RIT will bring to the project: faculty expertise, facilities and research capabilities, and a student research force hungry to develop new materials, processes and designs based on current and future industry needs. Research efforts will be a blend of near-term fixes and long-term efforts focused on reducing the carbon footprint required to package and deliver high-quality products to the consumer.

The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation has contributed $1 million toward this initiative. “In combination with the Center for Packaging Innovation, this new program will make RIT and Rochester a destination for students, retailers and manufacturers with an interest in sustainable packaging,” says Danny Wegman, chairman of the board of The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation. “Support for innovative approaches to education is a focus area for our foundation. The RIT Center for Sustainable Packaging has the potential to be on the forefront of changes that will impact our future in a significant way.”


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Education · Packaging · Sustainability · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Download the full 2016 Modern Materials Handling Salary Survey
How does your earning power match up with your peers across the material handling industry? Materials Handling salary survey, Warehouse manager salary survey, Warehouse Salary Research
Download Today!
From the November 2016 Issue
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to the line. The result is a more consistent, efficient and safer operation.
Optimizing home delivery: It takes more than planning
9th Annual Salary Survey: Success and Satisfaction Continue to Reign
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Systems Report: Whirpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...
Modern Materials Handling’s 2017 Casebook Collection
The 2017 Casebook features more than 35 case studies that put the spotlight on successful innovation...

Brownells: Designing for Efficiency and Growth
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order...
Industry celebrates National Manufacturing Day
Fourth annual Manufacturing Day is a grassroots effort by U.S. manufacturers to improve the public...