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The Future of Packaging


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Tom Szaky sets out to do the impossible - eliminate all waste. This book paints a future of a "circular economy" that relies on responsible reuse and recycling to propel the world towards eradicating overconsumption and waste.

About the Author

Tom Szaky is the founder of TerraCycle (, an international company with upwards of 50,000 followers, which he started during his freshman year at Princeton University. Tom has personally won more than 100 awards for entrepreneurship; he blogs for the New York Times, Treehugger, the Huffington Post, and a number of other major websites. Tom is also the star of the National Geographic Channel TV show Garbage Moguls.


Reflections on The Future of Packaging

"Plastics came of age in the 1950s, changing manufacturing forever. By telling the story that leads us to today's linear packaging model, I illustrate that designing into the circular systems that came before it can be a short journey back."
-- Attila Turos, former Lead, Future of Production Initiative, World Economic Forum

"In The Future of Packaging, we talk about the modern problem of waste, how packaging fits into that, and how we can design out of it. It is important to explain the forces that catalyzed the first formal recycling programs in the United States, defining the need to scale up on today's systems."
-- Christine "Christie" Todd Whitman, President, The Whitman Strategy Group; former Governor of New Jersey; and former administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

"Moving away from the linear take-make-waste model is an ethical imperative. In my chapter, I talk about the fragmented global recycling system and how investing in it presents opportunity for innovation, jobs creation, education, and, above all, prosperity."
-- Jean-Marc Boursier, Group Senior Executive Vice President, Finance and Recycling & Recovery (Northern Europe), SUEZ "Whether you are a packaging manufacturer, small business, local government, or consumer, this book will transform the issues we've avoided into ones we are motivated to tackle head-on. My chapter calls for a paradigm shift in producer responsibility, placing waste and materials management in the hands of the producer as an asset, not a burden."
-- Scott Cassel, founder and CEO, Product Stewardship Institute "Almost everything is technically recyclable, so why do we have so much waste? Improving our recycling system will help us turn more waste into worth. When we view recycling in terms of supply and demand, it is much easier to see where system advancements are needed. We hope The Future of Packaging brings this to life and shows how each of us can do our part to keep our environment and oceans free from litter."
-- Stephen Sikra, Associate Director, Corporate R&D, The Procter & Gamble Company "Nearly every packaging 'innovation' that has made products lighter, less expensive, and more convenient can't be recycled through public programs . . . and is thrown away after one use. In this book, we deep dive into the lightweighting trend and ways to maximize value for packages through design."
-- Chris Daly, Vice President, Environmental Sustainability, Europe & Sub Saharan Africa, PepsiCo "Packaging can be an important ally to help prevent waste, even for high-end products that often use excessive or nonrecyclable materials. My chapter has tips to help designers create premium yet sustainable packages--along with examples of brands that got it 'just right.'"
-- Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor, Packaging Digest "Packaging design isn't just about the package but the processes associated with manufacturing, transporting, and distributing it. In this book, I bring the often-unseen preconsumer waste stream to light."
-- Tony Dunnage, Group Director, Manufacturing Sustainability, Unilever

"The Future of Packaging: From Linear to Circular is today's handbook for designing out of a world that feeds people a skewed version of what they need to be prosperous and brands a narrow view of what they can do to be profitable . . . Consumers care about where their products come from and what happens after they are done with them. Brands and designers need to pay attention."
-- KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz, founder and CEO, Sustainable Life Media and Sustainable Brands "Consumers reward brands that make the responsible choice the easy one . . . Brands must today ask themselves, 'How do we enable responsible consumption?' The Future of Packaging is a resource for companies doing this heavy lifting."
-- Virginie Helias, Vice President, Global Sustainability, Procter & Gamble "Leading the change you wish to see in your company can be challenging. The Future of Packaging contains practical models and powerful examples to champion sustainable programs. In my chapter, I take you through how we stewarded circular initiatives at Procter & Gamble and my insights for applying these at a company of any size."
-- Lisa Jennings, Vice President, Global Hair Acceleration, Procter & Gamble

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