Navigating the Future: Inspiring Insights from the Plastics Industry Association’s Fall Conference 2023

In the dynamic world of the plastics industry, where innovation is the driving force, our recent participation in the Plastics Industry Association’s Fall Conference 2023, held in Charleston, South Carolina, offered us valuable insights into the ever-evolving world of the plastics industry. As an independent injection mold builder located in Rochester, NY, our membership in the association has been driven by a desire for advocacy, networking opportunities, and access to information and educational content. This recap will provide an overview of the conference agenda, along with the key takeaways from this enlightening event.

Advocacy for a Thriving Plastics Industry:
The Plastics Industry Association, a steadfast advocate for our industry, showcased its unwavering commitment to shaping policies in Washington, D.C. During the conference, we witnessed the association’s efforts to educate policymakers on critical topics. This included trade policy, infrastructure development for plastic recycling, fiscal strategies, and the vital need for workforce development through trade and technical education.

The Power of Networking:
A cornerstone of our association membership is the powerful networking opportunities it affords. The Fall Conference offered a fertile ground for us to connect with our industry peers. This collaborative environment proved to be a catalyst for knowledge sharing and fruitful partnerships.

Conference Agenda Highlights:
The Fall Conference’s agenda was packed with sessions and presentations addressing critical industry topics. Here are some of the key sessions that stood out:

  1. Community Impact Cleanup: We began the conference with a resounding display of community spirit. Organized by the Future Leaders in Plastics group (FLiP), a dedicated team of 52 volunteers descended upon Charleston to clean up the environment. In the span of this event, 40 trash bags were filled with mismanaged litter, amounting to a remarkable 600 pounds removed from the environment. Our very own Roger Fox, president and owner of ACCEDE, was recognized for his exceptional commitment to community service, echoing the dedication he has shown in his 40 years of leadership.
  2. Keynote Presentation by Erica Orange: Erica Orange, the Executive Vice President & COO of The Future Hunters, painted an inspiring picture of the industry’s future. Her insights on AI, smart systems, robotics, and the ethical implementation of AI left us with a profound appreciation for the limitless potential of technology.
  3. Economic Outlook: Dr. Perc Pineda, PLASTICS’ Chief Economist, provided a comprehensive review of the industry’s economic landscape in 2023. His predictions shed light on the path ahead and how it may affect our businesses, serving as a compass for strategic planning.
  4. Logistics and Shipping in the Southeast: Charleston’s pivotal role in transportation took center stage as experts from various sectors discussed the current state, innovations, and the future of logistics and shipping, offering a glimpse into an ever-changing landscape.
  5. NPE2024 Preview: The anticipation for NPE2024, the plastics industry’s marquee event, was palpable. Attendees received an exclusive preview, equipping them with the knowledge needed to make the most of this upcoming opportunity.
  6. Flexible Plastic Packaging: The challenges and innovations within the flexible plastic packaging supply chain were explored. This session delved into media and legislative concerns and how companies are forging a sustainable future through innovation and partnerships.
  7. UN Plastics Treaty: A critical conversation unfolded regarding the far-reaching implications of the UN Plastics Treaty on international product production and trade. Attendees learned about engaging with the UN and the potential impact on their businesses.
  8. Recycling Innovation: In the quest to reshape the future of recycling, a panel discussion highlighted the industry’s substantial investments in recycling technologies. Despite hurdles, the session left us with a renewed sense of purpose and hope for change in the recycling landscape.
  9. Council Meetings: We actively participated in the Equipment Council discussions, providing valuable insights into equipment manufacturing and moldmaking. Additionally, the Joint Council Meeting, exclusive to PLASTICS members, brought together diverse industry segments, fostering collaboration and innovation.

The Plastics Industry Association’s Fall Conference 2023 proved to be an exceptional platform for us to gain insights, network, and explore key industry trends. We look forward to applying the knowledge and connections we’ve gained to further our contributions to the plastics industry in Rochester, NY, and continue our active involvement with PLASTICS in the lead-up to NPE2024 and beyond.

Plastics Fall Conference 2023 contributing sponsors