ORLANDO, FLA. — The importance of collaboration was the overarching message at the education session “Film of the Year: Sustainable Snack Packaging Solutions” at SNAXPO, held March 19-21 in Orlando.

Panel moderator Patrick Clark, vice president, R&D and procurement for Bryce Corp., kicked things off by outlining how difficult it is to develop sustainable packaging solutions despite tremendous pressure to do so.

“Unfortunately most of the communities you and I live in today do not have the capability to collect and repurpose the snack food packaging that we produce daily,” he said. “Most of the single-use plastic we use today ends up in litter and landfill and worst of all, out in the environment, which is not what we want. Once it ends up in the environment, it poses a significant risk to life and habitat.”

Seven panelists talked about the various elements that went into developing an award-winning package for Frito-Lay snacks, which is owned by PepsiCo. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition recognized the compostable snack packaging designed for the Coachella music festival. It was the first compostable film packaging used in an outdoor concert space with dedicated collection bins.

Rob Cotton, R&D director, food packaging, sustainable materials for PepsiCo, said the company is taking a multi-pronged approach to sustainable packaging.

“We’re working on three major areas for sustainability,” he said. “One is recycling polypropylene. That’s a great avenue for us because of the amount of food we use. The chemical industry is driving that. That’s working great. Another area is paper packaging and how do we use paper and recyclable paper in more things.” 

And for biodegradability, the company is driving the initiative through partnerships.

“We talk a lot about collaboration, not competition because these are the right things to do,” Mr. Cotton said. 

“If we could create something that would honestly degrade, that would be the holy grail of what we’re trying to create," he said. "We’re on the journey, but we’re not there yet.”