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
Hydrogen, the Future of Materials Handling
Large, successful organizations are integrating hydrogen fuel cell technology into their lift truck fleets and benefiting from lower operational costs, reduced emissions and improved reliability.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order fulfillment process and increased throughput with near 100% accuracy.
System Report: Brownells new DC is flexible and responsive
Pallet Usage Report: Pallets Remain Critical in the Modern-Day Warehouse
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Pallets: Supporting Product, Processes and the Enterprise
The smallest leak in performance or cost can bring a lean, nimble and speedy supply chain to a halt. During this 30-minute webcast we'll examine how Modern's readers use pallets to keep the wheels turning as they maneuver a road filled with sharp edges and potholes.
Register Today!
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...

American Eagle Outfitters’ omni-channel journey
The fashion retailer has used warehouse execution software and automation to create a true...
The data-driven lift truck
Now that manufacturers and distributors are using the data from their automated systems to drive...