RPA announces independent panel of judges for reusable packaging award

A panel of independent judges with a combined total of more than 80 years in packaging and sustainability will judge submissions for the Reusable Packaging Association’s first annual Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award.

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A panel of independent judges with a combined total of more than 80 years in packaging and sustainability will judge submissions for the Reusable Packaging Association’s first annual Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award.

The judges are Justin Lehrer, Program Manager, StopWaste.Org; Rick LeBlanc, Editor, Reusable Packaging News; Sara Willis Hartwell, Senior Policy Advisor, US EPA, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery; and Ben Miyares, President, Packaging Management Institute.

“We are pleased to have such an experienced and knowledgeable panel of judges review the award submissions,” said Jerry Welcome, President of the RPA. “Their experience and insights will raise the standard for the quality of submissions and make this a really worthy award. We encourage any company – including non members of the RPA – to make a submission and be recognized for their efforts in reusable packaging.”

The RPA’s Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award is designed to recognize companies that have developed, supported or implemented measurable and innovative reusable solutions in a business-to-business supply chain. Companies will be judged on the quantifiable environmental and economic benefits of their reusable packaging solutions and services. Non-members as well as members of the RPA are encouraged to enter. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 1, 2012. Submission forms are available at the RPA website (http://www.reusables.org).

About the Judges
Justin Lehrer, Program Manager, StopWaste.Org

Justin Lehrer has more than 15 years experience working with both the private and public sectors to meet and exceed sustainability goals. As a program manager at public agency StopWaste.Org, he manages several business assistance programs aimed at reducing and preventing waste and increasing operational efficiency. Since 2007, Lehrer has led the Use Reusables campaign (UseReusables.com) that provides free educational resources, training workshops and expert advice to help businesses transition to reusable transport packaging. The campaign has continuously expanded its reach, going national in 2011 with new resources and grants available. Prior to his work at StopWaste, Lehrer was an environmental consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, and county recycling coordinator for the County of San Mateo. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Northern California Recycling Association from 2004-2008. He graduated from the University of Vermont and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Natural Resources and Business Administration.

Rick LeBlanc, Editor, Reusable Packaging News
LeBlanc has been working with reusable packaging and pallets since 1982, starting with managing Safeway’s reusables function in British Columbia for 15 years. He has been writing about reusable applications since the 1990s, first as the editor of Unit Load Management Magazine, and more recently as the editor of Reusable Packaging News. He is a regular contributor to Pallet Enterprise Magazine and the co-author of, “Pallets - A North American Perspective”.

Sara Willis Hartwell, Senior Policy Advisor, US EPA, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery
Hartwell is an analytical chemist whose work at EPA has focused on the lifecycle relationship between climate change and end-of-life materials management. She managed EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM, epa.gov/warm), a tool used to quantitatively estimate the climate and energy benefits of alternative end-of-life management scenarios. She used WARM to develop other tools to communicate the relationship between climate change and end-of-life materials management to specific user communities, including a consumer-facing tool that estimates the energy conservation benefits of recycling individual products (epa.gov/iwarm), and EPA’s Office Carbon Footprint Tool, estimating carbon footprints and providing suggestions for carbon-cutting actions (http://www.epa.gov/waste/partnerships/wastewise/carboncalc.htm). Hartwell has worked extensively with the private sector to communicate the climate – materials management connection, and to develop strategies for sustainable material management, especially in the packaging and retail sectors.

Ben Miyares, President, Packaging Management Institute
A 2008 inductee into the Packaging Hall of Fame, Miyares is an Honorary Lifetime Member and Fellow of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP). Named “Packaging Professional of the Year” by the Packaging Institute/International in 1988, he is a member of the International Packaging Press Organisation (IPPO). Miyares helped create and continues to serve as liaison and market developments and trends advisor for the Packaging Management Council (PMC), an association of senior directors of packaging of packaged goods firms who confer on issues and technology trends of mutual interest. He also currently serves on the steering committee of Walmart’s Sustainable Packaging Value Network. His market analyses, editorials and commentaries have won numerous citations and awards, including three Jesse H. Neal awards – the Pulitzer Prize of the American business press – for “outstanding achievement in business magazine journalism.”

In 2010, Miyares formed the Packaging Management Institute (PMI), a research organization and information exchange working in alliance with organizations and individuals throughout the packaging value chain. In 2011, Miyares formed and led The Packaging Posse™, a team of packaging professionals that reports on the latest developments seen at major packaging expositions, and launched Packaging Sherpa™, a customized information service tailored to the information interests of select organizations and packaging professionals.

Prior to his formation of the Packaging Management Institute, Miyares was associated with the PMMI for 21 years. In 2000, Miyares was named President of the Packaging Education Forum (formerly the Packaging Education Foundation), a non-profit organization constituted to support college-level packaging education and administer the Packaging Hall of Fame program recognizing individuals who have made remarkable contributions to the field of packaging. Miyares has been monitoring and assessing developments in the packaging field since 1963. His articles, editorials and commentaries have appeared in dozens of print and electronic media.

The deadline for submissions is Sept. 1, 2012. The winner of the award will be announced during PACK EXPO 2012 in Chicago. Eligible companies must have participated in the reusable packaging industry as of September 1, 2011.


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