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Reusable Packaging Learning Center at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2023

The Reusable Packaging Learning Center takes place September 11-13, 2023 at PACK EXPO Las Vegas.

Monday, September 11

Time (PST)

Session Title



10:30 - 10:50

State of the Reusable Transport Packaging Industry 2023:  Market Sizing and Top Trends

Reusable packaging systems for the distribution of goods are growing as businesses seek sustainability results, operational performance, and automation in facilities.  Learn the latest industry statistics and global trends that are shaping the market landscape and business opportunities by adopting and optimizing reusable packaging in supply chains.

Tim Debus, President & CEO

11:00 - 11:20

Measuring the Environmental Impacts of Reusable Packaging in the Circular Economy, using Packaging Life-Cycle Assessment (PLCA) Data

As companies drive sustainability and efficiency, they scrutinize their entire supply chain, including packaging, for opportunities to reduce their impact on the environment and cut waste throughout their operations. Packaging Life Cycle Assessment (PLCA) involves the study of how packaging impacts the environment, from raw material to end-of-life. It is critical to use life-cycle data to accurately compare reusable packaging to single-use packaging within the supply chain.  Learn:  (A) how to analyze your system to accurately compare and evaluate reusable and single-use packaging options; (B) the factors that are required for an accurate life-cycle analysis, including shipping distance, packaging type, number of turns; (C) best practices in reporting and measuring the environmental impact of reusable packaging.

Breanna Herbert, Product Manager

11:30 - 11:50

From Pack to Track – IoT Technology to Maximize Your Investment in Reusables

Investment in reusables/returnables and maximizing potential of materials and containers lifecycles requires an operational and technological investment. No one wants to reallocate budget and labor investment year after year once a decision to use reusables/returnables has been made.  Surgere will discuss how integrating IoT technologies into your asset tracking and movement operations can guide informed decisions while ensuring maximum findability and traceability through your facilities and across your supply chain.  Discussed will be: (A) technology available today that can integrate with your reusables and other bulk transportation and storage solutions; (B) common challenges of integrating tracking technologies with reusables and pallets; (C) layering and inter-mixing technologies to meet needs related to budget and total value of the project; (D) implementing governance to ensure change management and technology adoption.

Michael Schwabe, Director Market Intelligence


12:30 - 1:15

A Smarter, Technology-Driven Supply Chain with Reusable Packaging Systems:  Review of the 2023 Whitepaper

Reusable transport packaging (RTP) assets such as pallets, bins, and containers can be equipped to transmit data for the instant identification, monitoring, and tracking of goods through the supply chain. Published in July 2023, the RPA Technology Working Group’s whitepaper provides an up-to-date account on the considerations, capabilities, and processes for the deployment of technology for smart and connected packaging in the distribution of goods. In this panel session, hear from the technologists who wrote the whitepaper and learn from their experiences with tech-enabled reusable packaging.

Rob Franzo, Qualcomm Technologies Inc.

Robert Leibrandt, Trace It, LLC

Dave Horvat, Real Time Intelligence

Youssef Kamel, Wirepas

Katie Koch, IFCO Systems

Tobias Höfl, PMG Labels

1:30 - 1:50

Repurposing River Plastics into Pallets!

Chad Pregracke is the internationally named 2013 CNN Hero of the Year and founder and president of Living Lands & Waters (LL&W)—the world’s only “industrial strength” river cleanup organization.  Growing up on the Mississippi River, Chad worked as a commercial shell diver, experiencing the river from the bottom up.  He saw its beauty but was frustrated by the garbage that littered the river’s shorelines and islands and decided to clean it up. Twenty-five years later, he, his LL&W crew and 127,000 volunteers have removed over 13 MILLION pounds of garbage from 25 rivers in 23 states. Chad also started a MillionTrees Project and has planted or given away 1.9 MILLION hardwood trees over the last 15 years.  He is proof one person can make a difference.  Hear Chad’s inspiring story and learn about he and his wife’s latest endeavor—Green Current Solutions (GCS).  GCS makes 100% recycled plastic pallets, utilizing a portion of the plastics removed through LL&W’s river cleanups.

Chad Pregracke, President

2:00 - 2:20

Strengthening Circularity with a Focus on Loss Control

Nobody likes to lose things! That statement is particularly true in the world of reusable transport packaging, where our supply chain thrives on reusable assets staying in healthy circulation for extended periods. Loss is something that can impact the performance of a circular supply chain and is also something that we can influence with sound strategy and best practices. In this session, we will shed some light on loss and discuss tactics to control the loss of reusable transport packaging.

Andrew Resler, Head of Special Projects


2:30 - 3:15

Reusable Transport Packaging in Retail Supply Chains:  Business Case and Best Practices

The process in which consumer goods are distributed from point of manufacture to point of retail sale continues to change rapidly.  Challenged by material shortages, supply chain disruptions, labor constraints, shifting consumer preferences, and commitments to sustainability goals, retailers are exploring reusable packaging systems to stabilize operations, generate new cost-saving efficiencies, integrate automation and technologies, and reduce environmental footprints.  This panel session of experts in reusable packaging for retail supply chains will discuss the reusables business case and operational best practices drawing from successful models around the global retail marketplace.

Erika Le, Rehrig Pacific

3:30 - 3:50

Unlocking Value Through Data & Analytics: Revolutionizing Track & Trace for Reusable Supply Chain Assets

As a leader in the implementation of Track & Trace solutions, John will share invaluable 'real-world' lessons learned and the pivotal considerations for those exploring solutions to track reusable supply chain assets. This session will delve into the following essential topics: The Current Landscape; Rationale Behind Track & Trace; Strategies to Enhance Supply Chain Efficiency; The Power of Unique Identification; Strategies for Boosting Sustainability and Profitability; Integration & Connectivity: Linking Track & Trace with Core Business Systems; Unlocking the Value of Data & Analytics; Insightful Case Studies. Remember, tracking isn't merely about pinpointing an asset's location. It's about leveraging the power of data to optimize efficiency, ensure accountability, and spur business growth.

John DiPalo, Chief Strategy Officer

4:00 - 4:45

Changing Behavior: Building Successful Reuse and Refill Systems

While most people agree that reuse and refill systems are a necessary component of a circular economy, transitioning many product categories to reuse and refill models has stalled at the pilot phase for a variety of reasons. How can companies overcome the various challenges to unlock the full potential of reuse and refill systems? Join the U.S. Plastics Pact and a panel of experts who have implemented successful reuse and refill models in a variety of categories. Learn about identifying entry-point categories and markets where success is most likely, the importance of designing for retail and the end-consumer experience, implementing reuse as a safe and efficient B2B solution, and the importance of cradle-to-cradle design.

Olivia Merritt, U.S. Plastics Pact

Mark Pszczolkowski, The Clorox Company

Anthony Rossi, TerraCycle/Loop

Jonathan Jenkins, Pact Group

Jason Hawkins,

Tuesday, September 12

Time (PST)

Session Title



10:00 - 10:20

Innovative Total Pallet Life-Cycle Management

Wooden pallets play an important role in your supply chain. Wooden pallets play a vital role in ensuring your products arrive to your customer safely – and on time. Wooden pallets are assets that can be used multiple times; and when managed strategically can add value to your supply chain from an operations, environmental, and financial standpoint. Kamps presents an innovative solution that maximizes this value: Complete Life-Cycle Management.  Learn: (A) The current status of the pallet industry; (B) Important considerations when selecting and evaluating pallet partners; (C) Automotive customer case study; (D) Utilizing the pallet life-cycle to add value to your supply chain.

Damon Williamson, Vice President National Sales

10:30 - 10:50

Best Practices for Making the Switch to Reusable Pallets in Your Supply Chain

When it comes to accelerating your supply chain, you need to move your products faster, safer and more cost-effectively than ever. Between your customers and suppliers, there isn’t an expectation of convenience and speed – it is a requirement. Any disruptions to the supply chain can be costly, from both a financial and an operational standpoint. Companies need a reliable, repeatable, and standardized way to store and move products while minimizing both costs and impact on the environment.  Attend to learn more about making the switch to reusable plastic pallets to drive lower total cost of ownership and long-term efficiency, plant cleanliness and sustainability in your supply chain.  Learn:  (A) different types of plastic pallets; (B) important considerations when selecting and evaluating pallets; (C) how reusable pallets support efficiency, sustainability and plant cleanliness; (D) the factors needed to conduct a cost-justification analysis for your next pallet program; (E) best practices in getting started with a pallet program.

James Riegleman, Product Manager


11:00 - 11:45

Technology Standards for Labeling and Data Capture with Reusable Transport Packaging

Rapidly advancing technology innovations are creating new tools and capabilities in the identification and data collection with reusable transport packaging products.  Industry standards in labeling and data utility can provide a valuable role to ensure consistency and compatibility in the supply chain, leading to improvements in performance, efficiencies, and market competitiveness.  This session examines the current state of technology standards for transport packaging and areas of opportunity for collaborative approaches in standards development.

Michael Allen, AIM Global

Jason Brownell, Polyfuze Graphics

Kris Doane, AsReader

Colynn Black, Metalcraft Inc.

Rob Franzo, Qualcomm Technologies Inc.

12:30 - 12:50

CABKA: Leader in Reusable Transport Packaging Made From Recycled Plastics

CABKA has been creating reusable transport packaging from recycled plastic for more than 35 years. Whether they are lightweight reusable nestable pallets or heavy duty reusable foldable container systems the company is the leader in producing them from recycled plastics originating from post-consumer plastic packaging waste streams. The presentation will cover the market trends and elaborate about the industry growth drivers to utilize recycled plastics for plastic pallet and container systems.  Some best practices of reusable solutions that have been made out of recycled plastics will be presented including case studies and results from comparative life cycle analysis studies for pallet and container systems. Further some of the new Cabka product developments will be highlighted demonstrating its circularity leadership.

     Jean-Marc van Maren, Chief Product Officer

1:00 - 1:45

Innovations in Pallets:  What the Future Holds for the Workhorses in the Supply Chain

It is estimated that over 2 billion pallets are used in the United States each year to distribute cargo and carry goods throughout the country.  Pallets can vary in standard sizes, material types, construction, components, specifications, and certainly usage.  However, one commonality across all pallets today is the pursuit for innovation and new capabilities.  In this panel discussion, join pallet industry experts in a conversation about innovations in pallet designs, materials, and features that will advance pallet performance and value in the future.

     Todd Hoff, Reusable Packaging Association

     Brandon D'Emidio, CHEP

     Amy Lathrop, Perfect Pallets Inc.

     Jean-Marc van Maren, Cabka

2:00 - 2:20 Revolutionizing Product Protection and Authentication offers more than just counterfeiting protection - it opens up new opportunities for increased sales and enhanced marketing efforts. By building trust through reliable authenticity verification, the system fosters customer confidence, leading to increased sales and brand loyalty. Additionally, serves as a powerful marketing tool, enabling manufacturers to engage with their customers, provide customized sales offers, and create a unique brand experience.  With the integration of the digital product pass, manufacturers can provide comprehensive information on product origin, composition, warranty information, recycling instructions, troubleshooting, customer service contact, distributed by, as well as end-of-life handling, and contributing to a sustainable and transparent customer relationship.  Join us as we explore the multifaceted benefits of, and discover how it can elevate your brand's success in the digital era. 

     Timothy Dobson, PMG Labels Sales Manager

     Julian Gruska, Sales Manager 

2:30 - 2:50 

Supply Chain Evolution

A look at the challenges and changes of today’s supply chain. Whether it is supply interruptions, the changing workforce, or the evolving end consumer expectations all of these are forcing changes to an already complicated system. We all need customized solutions that will allow us to overcome the challenges and meet customers expectations.

     Bob Petersen, Vice President Sales and Marketing

3:00 - 4:00

Celebrate the winners of RPA's 12th annual award program and learn about the award-winning products and case study applications in the categories of Reusable System, Design Innovation, and Product Technology.