Sustainable Packaging Conference 2024: Navigating the Pathways to Zero-Waste

Feb. 12-13, 2024
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET

Virtual via Zoom

This conference will provide opportunities to learn about cutting-edge research in sustainable packaging, as well as emerging trends in this important field. Opportunities to form networks and to present your findings to the packaging community will also be offered through this forum.

Key Themes:

  • Biobased and biodegradable plastics
  • Sustainable paper packaging
  • Advanced recycling technologies for plastics and paper
  • Design for recycling strategies

Who Should Attend and Present?

 We extend a warm invitation to leading researchers and professionals specializing in the following fields:

  • Polymer and materials science
  • Chemical engineering
  • Technoeconomic analysis
  • Life-cycle assessment
  • Pulp and paper industry

Keynote Speakers Include:

  • Kate Peretti, Manager of the Secure and Sustainable Materials Program at the Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) at the US Department of Energy (DOE). Dr. Peretti’s lecture will take the audience through several of the DOE’s efforts directed toward progressing the circular economy of materials and other sustainability initiatives.
  • Gregg T. Beckham, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Dr. Beckham’s lecture will describe several different plastics recycling technologies.
  • Scott Trenor, Technical Director at The Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR). Dr. Trenor’s lecture will focus on APR’s design for recycling efforts, as well as other sustainability-related initiatives being pursued at APR.
  • Ramani Narayan, Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University. Dr. Narayan’s lecture will focus on why biodegradable materials are important for zero-waste packaging, and what options are available moving forward in this direction.

Speakers Also Include:

  • Sridevi Narayan-Sarathy, Technical Director/PepsiCo R&D Senior Fellow. “The Current and Future State of Sustainable Packaging for Foods”
  • Tomonori Saito, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Selective Deconstruction and Upcycling of Condensation Polymers”
  • Corinne Scown, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Life-cycle emissions and cost implications of the paths to zero-waste”
  • Dr. Ezra Bar-Ziv, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan Tech. “A Novel Solvent-Based Recycling Technology: From Theory to Pilot Plant"
  • Zita Markeviciute, Kaunas University of Technology, National Taiwan University, and Founder, Pack’n GREEN. Bio-based packaging materials and industrial waste/by-products applications for packaging materials
  • Carol S. K. Lin, School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong. “Technological Advancement and Development of Circular Waste-based Biorefinery for Sustainable Production of Chemicals and Materials”
  • Matthew Jones, Department of Chemistry, Institute for Sustainability, University of Bath. Catalytic Upgrading of Polymers – is Chemical Recycling the Answer?”
  • Ray Smith, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Sustainable Packaging and PET: U.S. Flows, Material Recovery Facilities, and Recycling Processes” 
  • Omar Gonzalez, Flexible Packaging Business Unit Manager, OBEN Group. “Combining high performance with sustainability in bi-oriented films for flexible packaging”
  • Kecheng Li, Chair and Professor, Chemical and Paper Engineering, Western Michigan University. “Enzyme-based Technology for Removing Stickies and Regaining Fiber Quality in Paper Recycling”
  • Im Rangwalla, Energy Sciences, Inc. “Re-cylable mono-material packaging options with electron beam technology”
  • Yael Vodovotz, Professor and Director of the Center for Advanced Functional Food, Research and Entrepreneurship, Ohio State University. “Biobased, compostable packaging: the journey to commercialization” 
  • Yosi Kratish, Northwestern University. “Conversion of Plastic Waste into High-Value Chemicals Via Electrophilic Single-Site Homogenous and Heterogeneous Catalysis” 
  • Katrina Cornish, Professor & Ohio Research Scholar of Bio-Emergent Materials, Ohio State University. “Bio-based and degradable polymers, fillers and coatings” 
  • Dan Felton, Executive Director, AMERIPEN. “Sustainable Packaging and Policy: Challenges and Opportunities”
  • Kevin Nelson, Senior Fellow, Amcor. "Challenges in the Use of PCR in Food Packaging Applications” 
  • Tizazu Mekonnen, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo. Sustainable barrier paper coating for food packaging applications
  • Dionisios Vlachos, Unidel Dan Rich Chair in Energy Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware. “Catalytic Upcycling Technologies for Sustainability and Circularity”

Conference Highlights:

  • Hear from leading scientists in both academia and industry, sharing their latest innovations and visions.
  • Listen to a dynamic panel session, fostering discussions that might set the stage for the next big breakthrough in sustainable packaging.

Breakout Sessions and Topics:

  1. Plastic Recycling: Challenges and Opportunities
    • Mechanical recycling
    • Chemical re/upcycling
  1. Biobased Feedstocks in Packaging: Challenges and Opportunities
    • Emphasis on underexplored or underutilized biobased plastics
    • Biodegradable plastics
  1. Packaging Simplifications Strategies: Challenges and Opportunities
    • Transition from multilayer to monomaterial packaging
    • Eliminating problematic materials
  1. Paper-Based Packaging Alternatives: Challenges and Opportunities
    • Biodegradable water and oil-resistant paper
    • Repulpable water and oil-resistant paper


Non-MSU Attendees: $200 per day, $300 for the full conference
MSU Students and Faculty: Free
Refunds: Cancellations made with less than 2 weeks' notice to the program, while not be refunded.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For further information, please feel welcome to contact Dr. Ian Wyman (conference communication secretary: or Prof. Muhammad Rabnawaz (conference organizer: